What the hell is that smell?
That's the question that residents of coastal southeastern Louisiana have been asking since about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
New Orleans and surrounding cities sit at ground zero for a growing hive of Gulf of Mexico oil and gas drilling and processing facilities. Since early Wednesday, residents report being overwhelmed by yet another mysterious and powerful chemical odor (this one smells either like burning tires or a gas station, depending on who you talk to).
Nobody seems to know where the acrid smell is coming from. But given that it smells like toxic petrochemicals, it's a pretty safe bet that the toxic petrochemicals industry has something to do with it. On Thursday, the Coast Guard said it was investigating whether the odor was coming from a wastewater spill at an ExxonMobil refinery.