December 1, 2015, marked the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks refusal to silently go to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. She refused to cooperate with blindness, injustice.
Lafayette, LA city officials held a press conference that day in the Rosa Parks Center announcing a US government grant of $300,000 to spark economic growth as a 5.5-mile Interstate passes through the heart of Lafayette. I-49 is questioned by many citizens and members of the Sierra Club, turning the familiar “I-49 Corridor” into “Y-49?”
A historical Rosa Parks day is joined by biographers who described observations of General Dwight Eisenhower as he was taken for a tour of the Interstate Highway System. Five-star general Eisenhower was reduced to tears as he exclaimed: “These roads were meant TO GO AROUND, NOT THROUGH CITIES!”
Most serious is the fact a toxic waste site left by an abandoned railroad round house is only blocks from the Rosa Parks building. Thousands of cars passing through Lafayette would challenge the air quality of the city as each gallon of gasoline spews out twenty-two pounds of carbon dioxide. Water and air quality cannot be ignored.
Which federal or local government official will promise protection for the geological Chicot aquifer protected by a natural seal? Pilings for the elevated expressway will threaten an aquifer that might lead all who depend upon the Chicot to join Eisenhower in weeping.
Will Rosa Parks and Ike turn I-49 into Y-49? Going around, not through, costing less and not invading inner city neighborhoods appears to be a wiser option.