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Shell’s planned $12.5 billion gas-to-liquids plant revives traumatic memories

Donna Caillet

Donna Caillet

The news that Shell Oil Co. is considering building a $12.5 billion gas-to-liquids facility in Ascension Parish has brought back traumatic memories from long ago to my family about a deadly explosion at a Shell plant that shattered our lives. …not only was my father dead, apparently blown to pieces, but was also the person blamed for the explosion and the appalling consequences. We were shocked when we found out years later that the information given to us by Shell about the accident was false, and that my father had nothing to do with the explosion. In the meantime, Shell had destroyed the evidence.

By Donna Caillet

The news that Shell Oil Co. is considering building a $12.5 billion gas-to-liquids facility in Ascension Parish has brought back traumatic memories from long ago to my family about a deadly explosion at a Shell plant that shattered our lives.

Leroy Joseph Caillet

The area is across the Mississippi River from where my father, a WW2 Veteran, was working for Shell Oil at Bayou Sorrell Field in 1956. It was Dec. 21st and the last hour of work before the Christmas holidays. I was 10  and my two brothers were young teenagers. The night before was Thursday and the stores in large cities stayed open late on that night. My father and mother had taken us Christmas shopping and we parked our car at the levee and rode the ferry across the Mississippi River to downtown Baton Rouge, like most people did back then. My father took my brothers to a sporting goods store to buy them a shotgun for Christmas and I was given $20.00 to buy what I wanted. My mother took me and I bought a doll with no clothes and then headed to the third floor of JC Penneys where they sold fabric. I bought stacks and stacks of every color satin and tulle for my mother to make fancy dresses for my doll. There were piles of tickets and each half yard cost 17cents.We then met up and headed back to the ferry and the 25 mile trip home. As soon as we got back, I lined up my piles of goodies on my bed and called through the bathroom door for my father to come and see what I had bought. His job was about 12 miles each way and then after work the shopping trip was 50 miles round trip so I guess it was pretty late by then. His last words to me through the bathroom door was “Baby, daddy’s tired, I’ll see it as soon as I come home from work tomorrow.” I picked out the yellow fabric so my mother could have a fancy  dress made for the doll sitting on my bed when he got home. Not only was he a full time certified welder for Shell, but from 1952 until he died, he had a home upholstery business that he worked at almost every night and weekends. He also played the trombone  in The Merry Makers Orchestra and had played in the High School band as well as on the basketball team. They had just chosen a lot in a new development on which to build a new home. He loved his family, was a good provider and was working exceptionally hard for us to have a comfortable life with security and benefits from a company known to value good work ethics and family life. read more

royaldutchshellplc.com and its also non-profit sister websites royaldutchshellgroup.com, shellenergy.website, shellnazihistory.com, royaldutchshell.website, johndonovan.website, shellnews.net and shell2004.com are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.
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