In 1916, Motiva, a Shell affiliate built an oil refinery on Sellers, a community that previously was the site of an antebellum plantation. The corporation established there the New Orleans Refining company (NORCO) and the name of the town was changed to Norco. In 1953, Shell bought a historical plantation site to build a chemical plant. Local communities, mainly black sharecroppers, moved across the road from the plantation and into a subdivision that became known as the Diamond community. This neighborhood of four streets in the town of Norco was dominantly African American. Accidents and health concerns dominated this community during decades while little action was taken from the corporation. An explosion in 1973 caused the death of two members of the community. A second explosion in 1988 killed 7 workers, injure 48 residents and workers, and caused the evacuation of 4,500 people. Despite the two accidents, several health deprivations (including respiratory diseases and different types of cancer) have accompanied this community since the establishments of the corporation.
Since the 1973 explosion, a community group called Concerned Citizens of Norco fought to find a solution to their situation. After attracting the attention of major media sources and using a combination of legal and citizen science techniques the community was successful in 2002 in securing full relocation and buyout by Shell. By June 2002, Shell reached a historic agreement to buy up the home of anyone in Diamond who wanted to relocate. Those who choose to stay would receive generous home improvement loans that would be forgiven over five years. Although the residents won their battle, this historical community itself is dispersed and dismantled, friends and families are scattered in different directions.