Royd Anderson, a local documentarian who focuses on Louisiana history, will screen "The Continental Grain Elevator Explosion" at 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22, at the Edith S. Lawson Westwego Library, 635 Fourth St., Westwego. The screening occurs on the 40th anniversary of the grain-elevator explosion.
The 30-minute documentary tells the story of the 1977 Westwego blast that killed 36 people and remains the deadliest grain-dust explosion of the modern era.
The cause is still unknown, though federal and state investigators at the time thought that it was caused by a buildup of grain that had not been moved because of a national dockworkers' strike that year.
Gasses form when grain is kept in an enclosure, and they can explode under certain circumstances. A spark from machinery or static electricity could have led to the explosion.
The blast destroyed 48 of the 73 giant silos used to store soybeans, wheat and oats at the plant. Most of the men who died were trapped in a two-story, cinder block office building that was crushed when a 25-story grain elevator blew up.
Because of the explosion, safety regulations have been implemented for grain elevators nationally and abroad. Now, heat sensors are installed so that workers will be warned if a machine overheats. Pressure sensors also help reduce the thermal expansion of grain dust, and offices and control rooms have been moved to remote locations on plant sites.
Anderson is an alumnus of Loyola University New Orleans, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Delgado Community College. In addition to being a filmmaker, Anderson is also a former high school teacher.
CAREER HELP: The Jefferson Parish Library has partnered with Brainfuse to offer free career assistance to help patrons land the jobs of their dreams. Brainfuse offers “JobNow,” a new service that features expert resume assistance, live interview preparation, career coaching and career resources.
LEARNING CENTER: The JobNow Adult Learning Center offers test preparation (including High School Equivalency and the U.S. Citizenship Test), a writing lab, study tools and an academic skills center featuring live online tutors. To access the program, go to www.jplibrary.net and click on JobNow for live job assistance.
CONCERTS: The Quacks Clarinet Quartet performs at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 20, at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie. The Ken Veca Big Band performs at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 21, also at the East Bank Regional Library.
CITIZENSHIP CLASSES: Classes to prepare participants to take citizenship exams — both oral and written — will be taught by instructors from Catholic Charities beginning in January at the North Kenner Library, 630 W. Esplanade Ave., Kenner.
The classes fall into three levels — Citizenship Class Level 2, Citizenship Class Level 3 and Citizenship Class Language Exempt for those who do not speak English. Each course prepares participants to take citizenship examinations.
Students follow a workbook with lessons in American history, geography and civics. In addition, students have to be prepared to answer questions about their own backgrounds, their families and travel in the past five years. For more information, contact Reyna Croft at Catholic Charities, (504) 310-6922 or email@example.com.
All programs at the library are free and open to the public. For more information about programs at the 15 branches of the Jefferson Parish Library, go to www.jplibrary.net/ or friend the library’s Facebook page for daily programming updates.