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Frances’s List

The house my parents bought on Patterson Drive in Chalmette, Louisiana represented the very lowest rung on the ladder for the fledgling upwardly mobile middle class of the mid 1950s. The salad days for the neighborhood was when crawfish was 30 cents a pound, the big oil refinery in town could go a whole year without a major explosion, and the aluminum plant had built a huge smokestack that now sent its particulate pollution over the river to Algiers rather than letting it continue to rain down over Chalmette.

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