Photos by Giles Clarke Text - Micheal Stahl/Narratively

The waterway linking Gulf Coast oil with the refineries of Baton Rouge has brought great prosperity to Louisiana. But the people living in “Cancer Alley” have a different story to tell. A recent study of EPA data that appeared in USA Today indicates that the air outside many Baton Rouge schools is among the nation’s most toxic.

Michael Montgomery stands in a pool of sludge burning the garbage of local residents. He lives across from the ExxonMobil plant. Micheal burns trash every Sunday for extra cash. "The local Fire Marshal doesn't work Sunday's..So I do"

A house sits along the stretch of River Road by the Mississippi River and the many chemical plants.

Local activist Shirley Bowman, a resident and president of the community association in Standard Heights, shows off the community and roadside mural while wearing the gas mask that she uses in an attempt to protect her from pollution.

A father ties his daughter’s shoe in the neighborhood of Standard Heights, an impoverished and grossly underserved community in “Cancer Alley.”

Ships dock and sail along the Mississippi River while a young girl wades in the shallow waters of a beach looking out to the factories that populate the landscape of “Cancer Alley.”‘

Two generations of Cancer Alley residents sit for a picture in their living room. Michael Brown (L) says he has not once opened his windows in forty years of living in Standard Heights.

Smoke billows from one of many chemical plants in Cancer Alley.

Percy G. Montgomery’s mother, Lee Ester Hunt, holds her medication and pills for various cancer treatments.  (Lee Ester passed away in 2016 - two years after this photograph)

Shirley Bowman of Standard Heights shows her living room and the gas mask that she uses in an attempt to protect her from pollution.

In the early morning, the smell of gasoline, oil, and smoke from refineries flood the roadside. Gas flares like this one are often used to burn waste.

Percy G. Montgomery plays with his dog as his mother enters their house. Percy along with other members of his family have been afflicted by brain cancer and several other physical ailments.

Greenhill Cemetery is all that remains of the former sugarcane plantation of Taft, where in the early 1960s residents were moved out to make room for Union Carbide and Dow Chemicals.

A multi-pipe “overpass” is diverted above a public access road that cuts through an oil refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Holy Rosary Cemetery sits beside Dow Chemical Corporation’s Union Carbide complex.

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