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 Shrewsbury in Old Jefferson. 

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 a national Historic District.

A 2007 feasibility study middle belt route examines potential closure of Central Avenue in Old Jefferson. It shows the relocation of standing trains to Shrewsbury and the addition six new tracks, including switch, siding and main tracks in addition to the existing passenger and “front belt” freight line that already run through Shrewsbury. The study considers reconstruction or modification of the Deckbar-Earhart interchange overpass structure, reconstruction of support structure at Causeway and other projects which may impact Old Jefferson.

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. The

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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“I do not support a significant shift of freight rail traffic through Hollygrove or Mid-City”

Statement from Mayor Mitch Landrieu read to attendees
of a January 23, 2014 community meeting. Della Hasselle, Mid City Messenger, January 24, 2014

Artist rendering: proposed hazardous freight relocation adjacent to Hollygrove daycare and playground

Artist rendering: proposed hazardous freight relocation through St. Patrick Playground in Mid City.

“We support the Coalition Against the Middle-Belt and oppose the rerouting of trains from Old Metairie through our neighborhoods”

September 11, 2014, Jason Williams: Orleans Parish, City Council At-Large on Facebook

Oil trains
spilled more Crude Oil in 2013
than in the
Previous 38 years combined

Huffington Post, Jan. 22, 2014

Rev. Earl Williams, Coalition United Against the Middle Belt and Lt. General Honore

at Green Army breakfast, Xavier University.

“I stand behind you 100%. I go along with Mayor Landrieu,
I'm not in favor of changing the route…
I will put every effort
I can to make sure
they don't change the route to go through
the Hollygrove
area coming
through here.”

– Councilman Paul Johnston, Jefferson Parish Councilman District 2 at the October 16, 2014 community meeting, Shrewsbury, Jefferson Parish