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Documentary Screening: The Continental Grain Elevator Explosion

Event Type: Adults
Age Group(s): Adults
Date: 1/31/2018
Start Time: 7:00 PM
End Time: 8:30 PM
Description:
 Royd Anderson, a local documentarian who focuses on Louisiana history, will screen The Continental Grain Elevator Explosion at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 31, at the West Bank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey.

The screening occurs on the 40th anniversary of the grain elevator explosion. It is free of charge and is open to the public. There is no registration.

The 30-minute documentary tells the story of the 1977 Westwego Continental Grain elevator explosion, which caused 36 people to lose their lives and remains the deadliest grain dust explosion of the modern era.

The cause of the explosion is still unknown, though federal and state investigators at the time thought that the blast was caused by a buildup of grain that had not been moved because of a national dockworkers' strike that year. Grain that is kept in an enclosure causes gasses to form, and they can explode under certain circumstances. It is possible that a spark from machinery or static electricity led to the explosion.

The blast destroyed 48 of the 73 giant silos used to store soybeans, wheat and oats at the plant. Most of the men that died were trapped in a two-story, cinder block office building that was crushed when a nearby 25-story grain elevator exploded.

Because of the explosion in Westwego, safety regulations have been implemented to grain elevators nationally and abroad. Now, heat sensors have been installed so that workers will be warned if a machine overheats. Pressure sensors also help reduce the thermal expansion of grain dust, and offices and control rooms have been moved to remote locations on plant sites.

In 2006, Anderson wrote and directed the documentary The Luling Ferry Disaster for his master's thesis project in Communication at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Pan Am Flight 759 is Anderson's third documentary, released in 2012. The film examines the worst airplane crash in Louisiana history, occurring on July 9, 1982 in Kenner.
Anderson's latest project is The Upstairs Lounge Fire which documents the 1973 arson attack on a popular gay bar in the French Quarter.

Anderson is an alumnus of Loyola University New Orleans, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and Delgado Community College. In addition to being a filmmaker, Anderson is also a former high school teacher.

For more information regarding this presentation, contact Chris Smith, Manager of Adult Programming for the library, at 504-889-8143 or wcsmith@jefferson.lib.la.us.
Library: Jane O'Brien Chatelain West Bank Regional Library
Location: Meeting Room
Contact: Chris Smith
Contact Number: 504-889-8143
Presenter: Chris Smith