On All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, religious leaders from multiple denominations gathered in a sugar cane field in St. James Parish where evidence suggests enslaved African Americans were buried. In 2018, archaeological consultants for Formosa, a company that plans to build a giant plastics manufacturing facility on the site, discovered unmarked gravesites.
Bishop Michael Duca of the Diocese of Baton Rouge said he attended the ceremony to bless the graves—as is tradition the day after All Saints’—and to make residents who have protested the proposed plant feel heard. “Caring for the Earth is about caring for our brothers and sisters in Christ,” he said. “You’re not just building on so many acres of sugar cane. This is their home.”