This is really happening: A swath of a U.S. state—and an entire culture—is about to be lost underwater.
The 150-mile stretch of the Mississippi River in Louisiana between Baton Rouge and New Orleans is home to a mindboggling concentration of petrochemical plants, industrial facilities that produce the country’s lifeblood of polypropylene, glycol ethers, perchloroethylene, alcohol ethoxylates, and other unpronounceables. You know, the stuff that eventually becomes our plastic bags, bottles, tires, pesticides, and food preservatives. The corridor is sometimes known as “Cancer Alley,” a bleak nod to the unintended consequences—for people, wildlife, and the landscape—of processing all these chemicals.
Holy Rosary Cemetery and Dow Chemical Corporation (Union Carbide Complex), Taft, Louisiana, 1998. © Richard Misrach, courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York; Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco; and Marc Selwyn Gallery, Los Angeles
Petrochemical Landscape, @SCAPE.