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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Documentary screens on 40th anniversary of Westwego disaster

Posted By on Thu, Dec 21, 2017 at 6:04 PM

click to enlarge grain_elevator_explosion.jpg

A massive grain elevator in Westwego exploded on Dec. 22, 1977, killing 36 people. It remains the deadliest grain dust explosion in modern times. Filmmaker Royd Anderson explored the disaster in his documentary film The Continental Grain Elevator Explosion. There is a free screening of the film on the 40th anniversary of the event at 3 p.m. Friday at the Judith Lawson Westwego Public Library (635 Fourth St., Westwego).

The grain silos stored agricultural products such as soybeans, wheat or oats. It is not known what caused the explosion, which destroyed 48 of 73 silos at the facility.

Anderson has documented several disasters in Louisiana, including the 1973 arson at the UpStairs Lounge, which left 32 people dead. He also has made films about the Luling ferry disaster and a Pan Am jet crash in Kenner.

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