Meraux

Parish: St. Bernard Parish

The neighborhoods on the east side of the City of Chalmette abut the Valero Petroleum Refinery and the Murphy Oil petroleum storage facility which share a large industrial footprint. Residents had become accustomed to the odors and noise of the facilities. Then during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, floodwaters that overtopped the levees floated a huge oil storage tank 33 feet off of it’s foundation at the Murphy Oil facility. Over 787,000 gallons of oil spilled from the tank into six square miles of adjacent residential neighborhoods. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and petroleum related organic chemicals were found in residential soil samples. Litigation from residents resulted in a settlement that offered buy-outs to nearby residents. 365 homes were purchased and torn down around the facility leaving large vacant areas, outlined in red in the picture below.

Satellite image showing cleared lots along the fenceline of the Chalmette Refinery in Meraux, LA
Satellite image showing cleared lots along the fenceline of the Chalmette Refinery in Meraux, LA
This atlas is a working document developed by community members in partnership with LEAN as they work toward resolving the challenges they face. This content is under construction and continues to be refined as new data is compiled and community situations evolve. Please excuse any errors or omissions. It is our hope that documentation of these struggles allows a greater opportunity to learn from them and, ultimately, to improve the lives of residents across Louisiana who face these significant challenges.