There is a proposal to re-route Old Metairie freight traffic through New Orleans’ Hollygrove, Dixon, Mid-City and Palm Air neighborhoods known as the Middle-Belt option.  The relocation also impacts Old Jefferson neighborhoods.


An Environmental Impact Study is currently underway and may be completed as early as Summer 2014. Impacted communities were unaware of the single public meeting held in Orleans Parish in February 2012. Most learning of that meeting nearly a year after it was held. Some communities are still unaware.


The Middle-Belt promises 32, mile long freight trains 24 hours per day—more than 1.4 trains per hour with potential for expansion in the future—A steady flow of rail traffic carrying 60% hazardous and chemical cargo through populated neighborhoods adjacent to daycares, schools, playgrounds, churches and homes.















The Middle-Belt promises increases in rail emissions, pollution, noise, vibrations. It benefits private railroads and the “chemical corridor” at the risk and expense of our health and safety.  The Middle-Belt promises expropriation of an unspecified number of residences, viable businesses and an active playground along with lowered property values. Vibrations from construction and operation promise of steady rail traffic threaten the foundations of historic homes and integrity of masonry tombs and historic monuments dating back to the 1840s and chips away at the integrity of the Mid City Historic District.


The Middle-Belt disproportionately impacts communities of color and
low-income residents. It threatens the investments of all who returned after Hurricane Katrina to rebuild our flooded communities, homes, businesses and neighborhood parks.


Nationwide increases in fracking related rail traffic highlight the benefit new rails and increased freight capabilities will offer private rail companies. New coal terminals, a chemical plant and oil industry expansions in the area may also increase threats.


The impact of extended construction which is projected to last as long as 15 years includes reconstruction of I-10, Palmetto and Airline Highway overpasses which may mean road closures and detours having city-wide or regional impact. A 1975 study describes a four (4) year delay for overpass reconstruction.


Check back soon for more information and how you can help! In the meantime, learn more by looking at the map page, visiting our links and news page as we work to construct this site. If you missed the February 2012 meeting and have Flash you can watch the presentation. To see the route considered through Hollygrove, Dixon, Palm Air and Mid-City see pages 40-43 of the 2007 DOTD Feasibility Study Drawings.

Photo: 2013 Train Derailment,

Lac Megantic, Canada

Creative Commons photo by

Steve Poulin/Agence QMI &

Flickr user Public Herald.

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