Willow Springs

Parish: Calcasieu Parish

Under Construction

  • Mary Ellender Interview

    Mary Ellender began her journey as a spokesperson for the environmental movement in the early 1980s, when a chemical waste company located two miles from her home wanted to barge toxic waste through the Calcasieu Ship Channel to their facility. She organized her community and they were successful in defeating the company’s proposal. Mary was also instrumental in blocking the same company from building a commercial hazardous waste incinerator to burn PCBs. Through her continued leadership, two abandoned hazardous waste sites in Calcasieu Parish: Pit #1 and Pit #2 were ordered cleaned up, and fifteen homes located near the two pits being bought out and the citizens relocated. She also helped conduct a citizen-based study of the people living near the BFI/Willow Springs facility. Mary has served on many local and state environmental committees. Today, Mary is an interior designer working with her husband in his architectural firm. She recently retired as a board member of the Calcasieu Waterworks District in her community where she served for twenty five years. Audio interview with Mary Ellender 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.
  • Mary Ellender Interview, part 2

    Part 2 of audio interview with Mary Ellender 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.
  • Mary Ellender Interview, part 3

    Part 3 of audio interview with Mary Ellender 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.
  • Shirley Goldsmith Interview

    Shirley Goldsmith was the founder of Calcasieu League for Environmental Action Now, Inc. (CLEAN) established in 1982 to address environmental concerns in Calcasieu Parish. CLEAN was one of the earliest environmental groups in Louisiana and at its peak, there were over 500 members. Under Shirley’s skillful leadership, CLEAN was instrumental in stopping At Sea Incineration (ASI), a multi-million dollar project proposed for the Gulf of Mexico. She was well known not only in Louisiana but around the United States for her passion to stop ocean incineration from burning toxic waste in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1986 she was invited to testify before Congress with Jacques Cousteau and others interested in the ASI project. On many occasions, she traveled to Texas to work with a group there on the same issue. Shirley played a key role in the closure of the Willow Springs hazardous waste landfill, and many other environmental issues in Calcasieu Parish. Audio interview with Flo Shirley Goldsmith 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.
  • Shirley Goldsmith Interview, part 2

    Part 2 of audio interview with Shirley Goldsmith 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.
  • Ruth Sheperd Interview

    Ruth Shepherd was one of the first women pioneers in the Louisiana environmental movement. She credited her inspiration for the protection of the earth to Rachel Carson, her hero. She started her activism in 1978 when the High Hope Road Committee (HHRC) was founded in Calcasieu Parish to address the hazardous waste landfill located in the Willow Springs community, established by slaves in the 1800s. The HHRC was one of the first groups to cross the boundaries of race and African Americans and whites worked as a team. Ruth was a founding member and served as president of Calcasieu League for Environmental Action Now, Inc. (CLEAN) founded in 1982. Ruth’s participation in the environmental movement was instrumental in the closure of the BFI/CECOS Willow Springs landfill in 1984. Until her death in 2006, at age 84, Ruth was an avid environmentalist. Audio interview with Ruth Sheperd 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.
  • Ruth Sheperd Interview, part 2

    Part 2 of audio interview with Ruth Sheperd 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.