We headed out of New Orleans yesterday toward Baton Rouge, Louisiana. We picked a backroad (LA 18) that looked on the map like it was going to be a ‘scenic byway,’ and it was. That is, it was ‘scene’ after ‘scene’ of some of the biggest chemical plants we’ve seen throughout the country. There was Monsanto, Dow Chemical, oil refineries… and even a nuclear power plant site. Sandwhiched in between were small — and quite poor — primarily rural Black villages. We stopped in Vascherie, where I talked to some older gentleman sitting in the shade in front of a general store. At the town limits here is a sign that says: “No Thanks Petroplex, our health is not for sale!” According to the men, the citizens here were mounting a spirited fight to keep yet another refinery (with even more potential pollution, etc.) from coming in. (Petroplex International is proposing a petroleum storage facility with a 10 million barrel capacity in St. James Parish, Louisiana.) Note: I couldn’t help but wonder that if this was a White affluent rural area, would there be all these toxic chemical plants, refineries, a nuclear power plant…? Of course not. Note 2: In the last blog entry, I wrote about the phenomenal amount of toxic chemical farm runoff into the Mississippi River watershed. Much of this is farm chemicals from Monsanto. And while Monsanto (some organic farmers refer to the company as: “Monsatan”) is part of the problem, so are the farmers using the chemicals, and so are all of us consumers creating a demand for this, in essence, “chemically treated” food.