Ghosts of Polluters Past

The hot, dry Santa Ana winds that whip through Orange County’s Logan barrio are fierce and temperamental. In the mid-20th century, they’d deliver gusts forceful enough to wreak havoc throughout the Southern California region, destroying orange crops, uprooting trees, downing power lines, and upending lives. But in the Logan neighborhood, one of the city of Santa Ana’s poorest barrios at the time, children like Cecelia Andrade Rodriguez eagerly awaited the wind’s arrival in the fall.

On days when the winds rushed through Logan, Andrade Rodriguez and her friends would race to gather carton barrels discarded by a business in the neighborhood, which at the time was squeezed between a pair of railroad tracks and adjacent to the Interstate 5 freeway. She remembers how she’d drag a barrel to the fence in the Logan Elementary School yard, then crawl into the tube and wait for a gust of wind to blast her across the playground. The children sailed as far as the winds would take them, letting their imaginations carry them to places that they couldn’t go, outside the boundaries of this tiny barrio, home to generations of Mexican Americans who helped build the city.

Logan has been described as the Plymouth Rock of Santa Ana, a predominantly Latino city now home to about 335,000 people, because it’s where the city’s earliest Mexican and

— source | Yvette Cabrera

Nullius in verba


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