Court halts rezoning for massive St. John grain elevator project


Opponents of a major industrial project in the River Parishes have scored a win in court, reports The Illuminator.

A state judge last week ordered the St. John the Baptist Planning Commission to halt any rezoning of residential land where a company is trying to build a massive grain terminal.

Judge Nghana Lewis of the 40th Judicial District Court in Edgard issued a preliminary injunction against Greenfield Louisiana, which plans to build a $400 million grain elevator complex in the historic Black community around the Whitney Plantation in Wallace. Plans include 54 grain silos and a conveyor more than 300 feet tall less than a half-mile from the plantation.

Lewis issued the order at the request of the Descendants Project, a local advocacy group that works to preserve the health and land of the legacy Black community in Louisiana’s River Parishes. The organization, led by twin sisters Jo and Joy Banner, has fought to stop the influx of heavy industry in their community.

The grain elevator site in question has had a controversial history of zoning changes. It was switched from residential to heavy industrial in 1990 as the result of the parish president being involved in a racketeering scheme that would have placed a chemical plant there, according to reporting from The Times-Picayune.  

This story was first published by Louisiana Illuminator.