Community Member

Vessel Project of Louisiana

Lake Charles, Louisiana

The Vessel Project is a grassroots mutual aid and disaster relief organization founded in Lake Charles, Louisiana in response to several federally declared disasters, including hurricanes Laura and Delta, winter storm Uri, and the May flood of 2021. The group’s motto, “We are vessels for the love of our community to flow through,” guides everything they do. Hurricane Laura destroyed over 10,000 homes across the state and brought major damage to 35,000 more, and the people of Lake Charles are still struggling to recover from the devastation caused by these increasingly destructive weather events. The mission of The Vessel Project of Louisiana is to help the most vulnerable communities—black, indigenous, people of color, and low income—by meeting their emergency needs in a way that is as efficient and barrier-free as possible and allows them to maintain their dignity and advocate for themselves. To strengthen their community, they are dedicated to improved economic development, civic engagement, community outreach, and education.

An aerial view of damage from Hurricane Laura to a neighborhood outside of Lake Charles, Louisiana, on August 27, 2020. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

The Vessel Project of Louisiana supports historically underserved communities across Lake Charles, Calcasieu Parish, home to approximately 84,200 people. Overall, 55% of residents are people of color, and 20.8% live below the federal poverty line. The EPA’s EJScreen tool puts communities in Lake Charles in the 70th percentile for Low Income, and the 66th percentile for Unemployed. Residents also face a broad array of environmental and climate justice hazards. Residents bear the burden of disproportionate impacts of pollution from the heavy petrochemical industry in southwest Louisiana. Petrochemical plants release pollutants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), greenhouse gases, and particulate matter. These pollutants not only impact human health but also result in changes to the climate. VOCs indirectly contribute to global warming by changing the concentration of ozone, which is a strong greenhouse gas. And while these pollutants, often referred to as climate forcers, are relatively short-lived, they can have long-term impacts on the climate.

Meet the Co-Founders of The Vessel Project, Dominique Darbonne and Roishetta Sibley Ozane in this informative video into what the Vessel Project is all about.

For more information:

Biden hits pause on natural gas projects amid plans for carbon ‘mega bombs’ – Guardian, January 2024

Is the US going to approve the single biggest fossil-fuel expansion on earth? Opinion by Roishetta Ozane and Bill McKibben – Guardian, December 2023

50 climate leaders driving fresh solutions to our planet’s biggest problems – Grist, September 2023

Breaking The Cycle Podcast: Voices from the Sacrifice Zones, October 2022, featuring Roishetta Ozane Sibly at 41:40

Louisiana Communities Show the Many Contours of Climate Migration – Yes Magazine, November 2022

In Deep Podcasts: The Helpers – Interview with Roishetta Ozane, The Vessel Project of Louisiana Oct 4, 2022

On Louisiana’s Gulf Coast, the fossil fuel industry is planning a massive expansion of LNG exports. One woman is determined to stop them – Sierra Club, December 2021

In Deep: One City’s Year of Climate Chaos – The Water Main, August 2021

A year after Hurricane Laura, southwest Louisiana ‘still in limbo’ – Southerly Magazine, August 2021

‘People are wiped out’: Costs pile up as hurricane season begins – Southerly Magazine, June 2021

A2 Staff

A2 Staff

This profile was compiled by a dedicated team of staff members who conducted interviews and gathered information from various outlets, including news articles, social media, and other sources.


Roishetta Ozane


Social Media

Climate Impacts

Air Pollution, Flooding, Water Contamination


Affordable Housing, Community Farm/Gardens, Elevation or Relocation of Homes

501c3 Tax Deductible


Accepting Donations