The Ballad of Jo and Joy

This ballad relays the current struggle Jo and Joy Banner who are fighting against the proposed construction of a massively destructive grain elevator complex along the banks of the Mississippi River in what is known as Cancer Alley.

This infamous corridor which stretches from Baton Rouge to New Orleans is an area which is marred by countless industrial plants that have produced a toxic environment which has greatly elevated cancer rates in poor black communities for decades.

This ballad illustrates the scourge of environmental racism at the the hands of big business and unaccountable politicians.


The Ballad of Jo and Joy

As the darkness spreads from the banks of the river

Bringing the hallowed mist insisting the air to quiver

With a ghostly light that beckons the sister twins

The Fifolet spirit who guards the gold of Lafitte’s sins

But haunting he is not to the sisters Jo and Joy

But rather calls upon them as friends to employ

Against those who harm and degrade an ancestral life

Which is threatened by the Greenfield grain terminal strife

And together they gather, round Big Anthony’s tree

Which honors those who suffered under slavery

Who sacrificed and endured immeasurable loss

A violence concealed by the low hanging moss

Of plantations like the Whitney, just down the road

Which now tells a story in a necessary authentic mode

From the point of view of the slaves who suffered terrible

In brutal conditions which were sorely unbearable

But tonight, in the dark, round the tree, in the mist

The Fifolet and the twins make plans to enlist

All the forces they may, to fight the terminal threat

Whose construction will leave the environment beset

With particulate dust that will endanger the health

Of another black community cheated by the wealth

Of businessmen and politicians who only care

For what lines their pockets, and how big is their share

They ignore Cancer Alley, as if it were a myth

And approve air permits in secret forthwith

Disregarding the pleas of those who live in Wallace

Proceeding as if the process were lawless

So on this night, in the dark, round the tree

The Fifolet swears his allegiance in every degree

To Jo and Joy who nod, and respond in kind

That they will lead the charge unconfined

To the media, the Parish Council, to the community

The sisters will fight at every opportunity

They are Princess Warriors of the Mighty River

A Beautiful Duo who are bound to deliver

And at this covenant the Fifolet grins with delight

For he too shall bring a supernatural might

And visit upon the evildoers in stealth

And prey upon their mental health

Uncle Did’s Demon Dog will hound them in their dreams

And The Loup Garou will draw blood against their schemes

The Louisiana Skunk Ape will smother them in stink

And The Gown Man’s appearance will drive them to the brink

And joining the fray to combat Greenfield Louisiana, LLC

Will be Lt. Gen. Honoré and his GreenARMY, pretty as can be

An alliance to effect environmental justice for all

Fighting for the those with their backs against the wall

Therefore, from this sacred night, round the tree, in the dark

Let it be written, that the fire was lit from just a spark

Conceived by the Brilliance and Magnificence of Jo, Joy and the Fifolet

As they march onto the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Meeting Day


Jo and Joy Banner are co-owners of the Fee-Fo-Lay Cafe in Wallace, LA., where you can enjoy the best tasting Pralines and T-Cakes on the planet.

For a detailed overview of this story, please refer to: Descendants Of Slaves Say This Proposed Grain Complex Will Destroy The Community, by John Burnett & Maris Peñaloza, NPR, WKU, Jul 7, 2021

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All