By Ronnie Greene
The Diamond local was once an all-black enclave within the normally white city of Norco, Louisiana, aptly named for the hot Orleans Refining Co., an business processing plant. Margie Eugene Richard was once raised within the shadow of a large chemical plant operated via Shell, and witnessed her associates get sick amid the poisonous waste the plant emitted yr after yr. Her personal sister, Naomi, finally succumbed to an extraordinary lung illness associated with environmental dangers. made up our minds to work out Shell take accountability for its activities, Margie and her neighbors—largely terrible and with few noticeable resources—educated themselves not just at the results of environmental poison but in addition on how you can struggle again. The conflict took them from Diamond's 4 streets the entire technique to The Hague and past. The unforeseen effects received Margie the celebrated Goldman Environmental Prize and helped freshen up a neighborhood. With riveting narrative force, evening hearth illustrates how choice and grit can stream even the main obdurate of company giants.
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Extra resources for Night Fire: Big Oil, Poison Air, and Margie Richard's Fight to Save Her Town
Practically every week the Norco Relocation Committee gathered at someone’s house in Diamond, and each meeting seemed to grow by one person. Some nights they met at Janice’s on Diamond Road, other times at Gaynel’s, then at Margie’s trailer on Washington or her mother Mabel’s house right next door, then back to Janice’s or Gaynel’s or over at Juanita Johnson’s house on Cathy. Margie’s mind fixated on business, and she even enforced Robert’s Rules of Order, the code of conduct local governments adopt, in meetings.
Her health had always been poor, but the 1988 blast, which jolted her from her bed, drove home the point that she and the rest of the community needed relief. Many times after the Shell plant flared, Gaynel rushed to the hospital. She suffered from bronchitis and walking pneumonia, and since the explosion of 1988, she had seen three psychiatrists to control the flashbacks, insomnia, and worry. At night she’d awake choking from the chemical scent, and in the morning the air drove her from her porch.
Sal struggled to think and realized, thankfully, that his son was not working at the refinery. Though his house on Oak Street suffered relatively little damage, when Sal walked out his front door, he began to grasp just how extensive the explosion had been. Sal looked to the plant, still ablaze at that hour, and knew tragedy had come to Shell, but it would be hours before he knew just how serious. Wreckage filled the streets of both black and white Norco. Hundreds of millions of dollars in damage had been wrought, but the destruction was so severe that you couldn’t put a price 45 NIGHT FIRE tag on it, at least not yet.