In A Flash

St. John grain export facility opponents score win in court

By: - August 30, 2023 3:39 pm

Advocates working to block the development of a more than $200 million grain export terminal in St. John the Baptist Parish got another legal win recently when a state judge blocked the property rezoning needed to move the project forward. 

Last’s week ruling from 40th Judicial District Judge Nghana Lewis prohibits St. John’s Parish Council from affirming a 1990 rezoning ordinance that changed the classification for a more than 200-acre parcel of land in the predominantly Black community of Wallace from residential to industrial. 

A lawsuit challenging that ordinance was filed in 2021 on behalf of founders of the Descendants Project, a local nonprofit dedicated to preserving and protecting the health, land and lives of the Black descendant community in Louisiana’s River Parishes. 

The court had already ruled earlier this month that the 1990 rezoning ordinance was “null and void,” but the parish council tried to adopt a resolution affirming it anyway to push the controversial project forward. 

For the second time in three weeks, the courts have ruled to protect our historic community from harmful development,” Descendants Project founders Joy and Jo Banner said in a joint statement. “We call on the St. John the Baptist Parish Council to do the right and just thing moving forward by ensuring this land properly remains zoned as residential for future generations.” 

The organization’s attorney, William Most, added that his plaintiffs will “do what is necessary” to bring accountability to the parish council for violating the court’s original order.  


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Terry L. Jones, Floodlight
Terry L. Jones, Floodlight

Terry is the Louisiana Enterprise Reporter for Floodlight News. He is a Baton Rouge native and has lived and worked there for the last decade. Before joining Floodlight, he was the City Hall reporter for The Advocate. He has covered crime, local politics and environmental issues in the Louisiana capital and the surrounding area. Terry is a graduate of Southern University. In 2020, he was awarded a reporting fellowship from Investigative Reporters and Editors and uncovered how the East Baton Rouge Parish Office of Community Development mismanaged federal money meant for affordable housing. Jones also moonlights as a writer of young adult fiction.