Gordon Plaza: Residents Fight for Fair and Just Relocation

In 1981, the city of New Orleans oversaw the construction of Gordon Plaza, an affordable housing development, on the former site of a toxic landfill. Beginning with the landfill's operation in 1909, this tour details the contaminants dumped into the land, early protests against the landfill's negligent operations, the construction of affordable housing targeted at low-income first-time home buyers, health complications endured by residents, and residents' ongoing fight for fair and just relocation.

Agriculture Street Landfill Opening and Operations

Agriculture Street Landfill (ASL) opened in 1909 to accommodate trash produced by New Orleanians. ASL was situated on 95 acres of undeveloped swampland and bounded by Abundance Street, Industry Street, and the tracks of the Northeastern Railroad…

Toxic Chemicals Deposited at Agriculture Street Landfill

In the face of increasing public health concerns, Louisiana passed a law in 1948 to prohibit the operation of open-air landfills in highly populated areas. [8] However, New Orleans’ city officials sidestepped this law and continued operations at…

Constructing Gordon Plaza

In the 1970s, under the administrations of Mayors “Moon” Landrieu and his successor “Dutch” Morial, the city planned and built housing for elderly and low-income families on the former site of Agriculture Street Landfill (ASL). The city of New…

Gordon Plaza Deemed EPA Superfund Site

By 1985, just four years after the first residents moved into Gordon Plaza, state environmentalists recommended testing soil and air in the Gordon Plaza subdivision to determine the extent of hazardous wastes underneath the houses that were built…

Robert R. Moton Elementary School

This building, now boarded up and abandoned, once served as the elementary school for residents of Gordon Plaza and Desire neighborhoods. Opened in 1987, Robert R. Moton Elementary School was built on the former site of the Agriculture Street…

Gordon Plaza Residents' Present Day Political Activism

For decades, residents of Gordon Plaza engaged (and continue to engage) in political activism to spread public awareness about toxic contamination in their neighborhood. Residents hope to achieve fair and just relocation from their tainted…