Kaiser Aluminum Chemical Plant

Chalmette, LA

http://www.louisianadigitallibrary.org/cdm/ref/collection/LHP/id/4769

http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/0202/fig3.gif

Jobsite

Constructed by Kaiser Engineers, an affiliate of Kaiser Aluminum, in 1951, the Kaiser Aluminum plant was viewed by many as a welcome addition to Louisiana’s economy.  For a long period of time, the Chalmette Plant was the largest aluminum smelter plant in the world.  Due in part to an expiring natural gas contract and a difficult, economic period for the aluminum industry, the Kaiser Aluminum plant in Chalmette closed in 1983.

Address or general location

W St Bernard Hwy and Carroll Drive

Chalmette, LA

Detail

Only the skeletal remains, including its 500-foot smokestack, of the Chalmette Plant exist today but, during its operation, the Kaiser Aluminum plant in Chalmette was once considered the largest aluminum smelter in the world.  Built in the 1950s in response to a deficit in aluminum availability in the United States and influenced by the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, the plant was constructed by Kaiser Engineers, an affiliate of Kaiser Aluminum.  When the plant was opened, the company held an elaborate dedication ceremony attended by nearly 500 government and industry leaders.  During the ceremony, the mayor of New Orleans, deLesseps S. Morisson, stated that, “Kaiser Aluminum’s new plant here is the greatest thing since the Battle of New Orleans in 1815.”

When constructed, the plant produced its own electricity utilizing natural gas.  At the time of the plant’s closure, 85% of its electric power came from the steam from a boiler plant fueled by natural gas.  The impending expiration of an affordable, natural gas contract influenced the closure amid concerns that a new contract might have been cost prohibitive.  The plant was barely 30 years old when it was closed in 1983.