In August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina brought unprecedented devastation to the Gulf Coast. Yet in Chalmette, LA, just one mile southeast of New Orleans, residents faced more than a twenty foot wall of water. In Chalmette, the twenty foot wall of water that surged over the levees lifted an oil rig at the Murphy Oil refinery, and consequently, more than 900,000 gallons of oil spilled into the community. The result was the world's largest residential oil spill in the history of mankind. When those that survived the storm returned to Chalmette to survey the damage, they found their homes, their belongings, and their lives covered in a dark, slimy, toxic substance. In the summer of 2006, Playwright Mary Kathryn Nagle--a law student at Tulane Law School living in New Orleans at the time--interviewed more than thirty residents of Chalmette who survived both the spill and the storm. Welcome to Chalmette is the culmination of those interviews, and tells the real stories of a community that pulled together in unity in the face of one of the worst catastrophes in the history of our Nation. Katrina was a natural disaster, but the subsequent spill of 900,000 gallons of oil was not. Thus, Welcome to Chalmette reveals the struggles and triumphs of the citizens of Chalmette--in the hopes that the man-made tragedy they were forced to survive will never be repeated.
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