LAKE CHARLES, LA. — After Hurricane Laura hit in late August, a local chemical plant erupted in flames. The fire, one of 31 post-Laura oil and chemical leaks reported, sent up plumes of smoke and chlorine gas. Louisiana officials told residents (many of whom had lost power or their homes) to shelter in place and turn off their air conditioning in the summer heat to avoid the fumes.
“How do you shelter in place with no shelter?” KD Minor, a community organizer from Lake Charles, asked during a virtual conference in August. Minor began coordinating relief before Laura hit, providing residents with gas money to evacuate. Others matched her contributions, and “$5 turned into $1,000,” which Minor distributed through Forever Calcasieu, a mutual aid network. Minor is still helping people get assistance as hurricanes batter the region.
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