There is a proposal to re-route Old Metairie freight traffic through Hollygrove, Dixon, Mid-City and Palm Air neighborhoods, known as the Middle-Belt option. The plan may also adversely impact Old Jefferson’s Shrewsbury neighborhood. Documentation indicates this is the preferred option or route.

The Middle-Belt promises at least 30 mile long freight trains 24 hours per day—more than 1.4 trains per hour with potential for 60 trains per day—A steady flow of largely hazardous and chemical cargo threatening our community. The U.S. Department of Transportation projects a 60% increase in tonnage by the year 2020 and the Middle Belt option boasts the benefit for increased rail traffic capabilities into our future. Future increases will inevitably effect all communities along connected rails throughout the city beyond the Middle-Belt.

The Middle-Belt promises increases in rail emissions, destroys quality of life promising pollution, noise, vibrations, and threats to our health and safety.  Approximately 60% of cargo passing through populated communities will consist of chemical, petroleum, flammable or hazardous material, and coal cargo benefitting the “chemical corridor” at the risk and expense of our community’s health and safety. Nationwide increases in a boom of fracking related rail traffic highlight the benefit new rails and increased freight capabilities will offer private rail companies. 

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.

The impact of extended construction which is projected to last as long as 15 years includes construction on overpasses and a portion of I-10 which will require road closures and detours with city-wide impact. A 1975 study on the “Carrollton Curve” called for closing of Pontchartrain Expressway for four (4) years. If the Middle Belt alternative is selected and prolonged closures of Airline, I-10 and Palmetto are needed this will be not only a citywide but regional issue.

The Middle-Belt promises expropriation of an unspecified number of residences, viable businesses and active playgrounds and lowered property values along the route. Vibrations from construction and the promise of steady rail traffic threaten the foundations of historic homes and integrity of masonry tombs and monuments dating back to the 1840s within just steps of the proposed rail.

An Environmental Impact Study 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.

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 and Mid-City see pages 40-43 of the 2007 DOTD Feasibility Study Drawings.

Links and Documents

Photo: 2013 Train Derailment, Lac Megantic,

Canada Creative Commons photo by Steve Poulin/Agence QMI & Flickr user Public Herald.


Thursday, August 14th, 2014

7 pm @ Esperanza School

4407 South Carrollton Ave, New Orleans

Get the latest on the dangerous freight rail proposed for our neighborhoods.

Learn about the NEPA process, what happens next, and how to take action.

Talk about what a freight rail carrying hazardous material means for your health, safety, home, business and community.