I recently visited my alma mater, Loyola University in New Orleans, to mentor a group of students who are doing their part to raise awareness about environmental racism and degradation.
I decided to drive what many would term as the "scenic route" through Louisiana. The landscapes were beautiful until I turned onto River Road, just south of Baton Rouge, where I found myself in an area known as "Cancer Alley."
To my right, the majestic Mississippi River flowed; to my left, billowing smokestacks allowed death to loom down River Road. Louisiana's welcome signs read "Bienvenue en Louisiane — Keep Louisiana Beautiful," but the landscapes of River Road are neither welcoming nor beautiful.
But there is a scenic route in Louisiana filled with beauty, hospitality, and even hope. This route is only experienced by looking through the Loyola students' eyes as they work together to seek justice for all.
Lindy Brasher, of Monroe, Louisiana, earned her master's degree in religious education at Loyola University in New Orleans and is now pursuing a doctor of ministry degree in Christian spirituality at Fordham University. She enjoys helping others care for the poor and vulnerable members of creation as she teaches them the importance of caring for our common home.