New Orleans is constantly offering lagniappes to her guests and residents, not the least of which are regular surprises (which cease to be so surprising) about what a small town this really is. The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is putting on the 5th annual New Orleans Earth Day Festival and Green Business Expo this month; this year the festival hopes to open eyes about some of the hidden petrochemicals in daily life under the theme “Rethinking Petrochemicals.”
Out of the blue, local artist Alois Paul Champagne reached out to offer a donation of an original oil painting, Holy Rosary Cemetery. Al paints in and around New Orleans, typically en plein air or on site, and completed Holy Rosary Cemetery in 2004 next to the Dow Chemical plant in Hahnville. Al describes painting the scene with his back to a tall mausoleum, facing the plant, but said that he was almost done with the piece when the wind shifted, blowing fumes towards him. He left the cemetery at that point, rather than risk continued exposure to whatever chemicals were already irritating his lungs.
This example of a citizen unable to go about his business and life is a helpful reminder during the lead up to Earth Day Fest of the importance of the work that the Louisiana Bucket Brigade does, and why vigilance must be a watchword of the neighbors of such chemical plants and oil refineries.
Al’s painting can be purchased during the silent auction at Earth Day Fest on Sunday, April 21st, among many other great items listed on their website here: http://nolaearthdayfest.wordpress.com/silent-auction/