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Smokestack of the Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation

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1951–1953. 9000 W. St. Bernard Hwy.
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)

This 500-foot-high air-control tower looming over Chalmette, visible from miles away, was built for the Kaiser Aluminum Corporation plant, which in its heyday employed up to 2,700 people. The tower, 80 feet in diameter at its base and said to be one of the tallest in the world, was shut down in the late 1960s for environmental reasons. Kaiser opened this aluminum-producing plant a mere ten months after construction began at the 280-acre site. It was the nation’s largest aluminum reduction plant. Bauxite from Gramercy (St. James Parish; see Day Trip 2) and Baton Rouge plants were processed into aluminum here. Engineer Frank A. Backman, chief of construction for the Kaiser company, who had previously worked on the Hoover Dam, supervised construction of the plant’s approximately eighty buildings. Kaiser shuttered the plant in 1983. Most of the buildings are now demolished and the site is used as an industrial park and for container storage.



Writing Credits

Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas



  • 1951


What's Nearby


Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas, "Smokestack of the Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation", [Chalmette, Louisiana], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

buildings of new orleans book

Buildings of New Orleans, Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2018, 278-278.

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