Isaac’s Messy Aftermath

 Stolthaven Chemical Plant, Braitwaite

The depth of Isaac’s destruction came into focus as the flood waters finally receded. The surge knocked homes off their foundations and toppled power lines for miles, stranding cars and cattle alike, it also toppled railroad cars full of toxins and hazardous chemicals parked at the Stolthaven Chemical Plant in Braitwaite. To date, there is no information about what was spilled and how much, but the spill was bad enough to mandate a half mile exclusion zone around the plant. Not until yesterday were residents who live near the plant allowed t to check on their homes and rescue belongings. Braitwaite residents who live beyond the exclusion zone go about there business hoping they are not being poisoned. Those I spoke to are skeptical about rebuilding in the area. With the chemical waste and the lack of flood protection they may decide to settle elsewhere. They blame the severity of the surge on the flood protection created for New Orleans. Though there is no proof as yet that New Orleans’ massive Great Wall forced the water in their direction, Blake Miller says, “The water hitting the wall had to go somewhere.” Oil washed up on the columns of St. Mary Plantation, the historic landmark he recently restored.

Since the BP oil spill when the government went along with BPs misinformation campaign, everyone in the area is skeptical of official information. The remnants of BP’s oil spill are back, washing up on the beaches and in the marsh. So much for BP’s tv commercials claiming the Gulf Coast is better than ever.

 Isaacs surge was predicted, but Solthaven was caught off guard. Doesn’t a chemical plant have a responsibility to safeguard its neighbors when storms are coming? Is self regulation, like that of the oil ad gas industry, enough? Will Braitwaite become a toxic ghost town? For now, the beleaguered town is contending with visible dangers, watching out for snakes and red ants as they clean up the muck.. Their next job is dealing with insurance adjusters and FEMA representatives who are spreading the word that this time around it will not be like it was after Katrina, and they shouldn’t expect as much.

Photos available through Corbis 
Stories on the Atlantic’s website:  Eerie Vision on Highway 23 After Hurricane Isaac and
 After Isaac New Orleans Struggle to Rebound but Counts Its Blessings 

 *Linda Hopper-Bui from LSU supplied coordiantes to find the oil in Bay Baptiste that her tests confirmed as a match to the Macando (BP) well.

Hwy. 23 in  Plaquemiens Parish

Cows in house on Hyw. 23
Destroyed home in Briaitwaite
St, Mary’s Plantation in Briaitwaite

Blake Miller owner of St, Mary’s Plantation assesing the damages

Toxic chemical on the levee in Briaitwaite

Assumption Mission in Briaitwaite
Cow in house on Hwy. 23 in Plaquemines Parish

Coffin on the levee in Briaitwaite, Plaquemines Parish
 Cat Island eroded to less the half its size by Isaac.
BP oil in Bay Baptiste

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