General Honoré, Dr. Joy Banner to Host Town Hall on Marathon Fire, Need for Parish Council to Overhaul Public Safety Procedures

Published 4:15 pm Monday, September 25, 2023

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Dr. Joy Banner will introduce her policy proposal to create a Safety and Transparency Committee of St. John residents and former plant workers.

Lt. General Russel Honoré will join Dr. Joy Banner, for a town hall with St. John residents to discuss the Marathon refinery fire, the Parish’s delayed response, and plans to remedy the responsiveness to industry disasters. They will also discuss the latest news around the salt water wedge in the Mississippi River, its potential impacts on St. John’s drinking water, and community concerns regarding next steps.

  • What: Town hall on the Marathon Fire and how to improve St. John’s industry disaster response system
  • Who: Lt. General Russel Honoré and Dr. Joy Banner
  • When: Monday, September 25 at 6 PM CST
  • Where: YMC Events Venue at 1713 Airline Hwy, Laplace LA and via Instagram Live on Dr. Joy Banner’s Instagram page

The fire at the Marathon refinery was caused by a naphtha leak and sent plumes of black smoke into the air. While the parish did issue an evacuation order within a 2-mile radius of the refinery, the order was not issued until 15 hours after leaks were detected at the refinery. Residents of St. John also reported that they didn’t hear any alarms during the fire. They learned about it when they went outside and saw the toxic smoke.

Banner is working to give her community control and oversight over the petrochemical industry by establishing a Safety and Transparency Committee made up of residents and former industry workers. The committee would establish protocols for how the Parish responds to industry disasters including setting up an emergency alarm system and conducting air monitoring. Getting advice from Lt. Honoré—known for his disaster recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina and his latest advocacy in holding industrial facilities accountable—is the first step in Joy’s plan.  Lt. Honoré will discuss the role of officials in preparing for and keeping us safe during natural and industrial disasters and what we can do to protect ourselves when systems fail.