Mossville

Parish: Calcasieu Parish

Founded by Jim Moss, a freed slave, who bought land on the Houston River near Lake Charles, Louisiana. The historic African-American community exists in close proximity to several major industrial facilities, perhaps most significantly the nearby Condea Vista chemical plant. In 1998 Condea Vista bought out 206 homes in Mossville. Condea Vista was later purchased by SASOL which announced in 2011 a plan to expand the facility. As part of the expansion plan, SASOL included a voluntary property purchase program for the remaining residents. LEAN’s Wilma Subra has been a technical support system for the residents of Mossville for decades as they navigate concerns over permits, emissions, health impacts, and most recently, the voluntary property purchase program offered by Sasol. Many residents took advantage of the voluntary program and relocated away from Mossville. The community of West Lake on the eastern side of the facility has also been subject to relocation efforts.

Cleared lots in Mossville, LA
Cleared lots in Mossville, LA
  • Debra Ramirez Interview

    Debra Ramirez was born and reared in Mossville, Louisiana. Her environmental activism began in the 1980s after Condea Vista (SASOL) announced that ethylene dichloride (EDC), a suspected human carcinogen used in the production of PVC, had leaked into the groundwater beneath the neighboring Mossville community. She was a founding member of the environmental group Mossville Environmental Action Network (MEAN) established to address the EDC issue. The community was partially bought out in 1998 when a class action suit by local attorneys was settled for $32 million, including a $13.9 million property buyout fund for two thousand residents. In July 2013, the company now called SASOL offered a voluntary relocation program for the remainder of Mossville that wasn’t previously relocated. Debra has continued to work to improve the quality of the drinking water being provided to Mossville by the municipal system. She is also working on addressing the health impacts being experienced by Mossville community members. Audio interview with Debra Ramirez for Women Pioneers of the Louisiana Environmental Movement by Peggy Frankland, conducted by Jennifer A. Cramer, Director of the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History. Copyright: Louisiana State University Special Collections.
  • Debra Ramirez Interview, part 2

    Part 2 of audio interview with Debra Ramirez for Women Pioneers of the Louisiana Environmental Movement by Peggy Frankland, conducted by Jennifer A. Cramer, Director of the T. Harry Williams Center for Oral History. Copyright: Louisiana State University Special Collections.
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.