Louisiana Judge Rules in Descendants Project’s Favor in Suit Over Massive Grain Development Project

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Wallace, La., Aug. 04, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Joy and Jo Banner, founders of the Descendants Project, issued the statement below following a ruling today in their favor by Judge J. Sterling Snowdy of the 40th Judicial District in Louisiana.

“We thank the Court for ruling that the Greenfield site in Wallace be returned to residential zoning, which will prevent the continued development of environmentally devastating projects like the proposed Greenfield Terminal. We are hopeful this ruling puts an end to the illegal 30-year-old rezoning ordinance that categorized the historic St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana as an industrial area. Judge Snowdy and the 40th District Court have soundly rejected the notion that the rich history of this region and the environment and health of our community should be disregarded in favor of corporate greed. 

We must protect the historic legacy of this Parish and its people, and ensure that our community remains a vibrant one for everyone who calls Wallace home. We invite those who want to join us in this fight to sign the petition at https://only.one/act/we-love-wallace. We urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to do the right thing and deny the permit for the Greenfield Terminal out of respect for the rich history and culture of our region. Go to http://thedescendantsproject.org to learn other ways you can get involved.”

Background:

The Descendants Project was formed by sisters Joy and Jo Banner of Wallace, La., to preserve and protect the health, land and lives of the Black descendant community in Louisiana’s River Parishes. The site in dispute is adjacent to two former plantations — one of which is also a slavery museum — that likely contain important archaeological resources, including the remains of unmarked burial grounds for enslaved people. 

On May 9, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named the 11-mile corridor along the Mississippi River known as “the West Bank” in St. John the Baptist Parish in Louisiana as one of its “11 Most Endangered Historic Places for 2023.” 

The National Trust noted in its announcement that if Greenfield Louisiana LLC builds its proposed grain elevators in the region, the port facility “would be 275 feet tall, as tall as the Louisiana Superdome, and could tower over historic communities and buildings, disturb archaeological remains, and dramatically harm the St. John Parish community with negative visual and environmental impacts. The permitting of Greenfield Terminal could also encourage further heavy industrial development within this nationally significant historic area.” 

The community of Wallace and the West Bank of St. John the Baptist Parish is in the middle of Louisiana’s Cancer Alley — an 85-mile stretch between Baton Rouge and New Orleans inundated with pollution from petrochemical plants, grain elevators, an aluminum plant and more. As plantation-owning families sold their land to these plants, Black descendant communities like the community of Wallace have borne the brunt of the health impacts including increased risks of Cancer and asthma.

The Descendants Project is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established to support descendant communities in river parishes working together to dismantle the legacies of slavery and to achieve a healed and liberated future.

CONTACT: Jo Banner The Descendants Project [email protected] 

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