Last week, the Port of South Louisiana and the parishes of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James, collectively known as the River Region Economic Development Initiative (RREDI), were host to the annual River Parishes Economic Development Breakfast in Washington, D.C.
At the event, Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy and Congressmen Cedric Richmond, Garret Graves, Ralph Abraham, Clay Higgins, and Mike Johnson covered topics such as the tax bill (economic growth, job creation, and, particular to Louisiana, the extension for those affected recent floods), the $200 billion infrastructure grant package, flood protection and FEMA’s NFIP, coastal restoration and water management.
Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin delivered the message: the importance of Ports. According to him, In 2017, over 307 million short tons of cargo passed within the Port of South Louisiana alone.
“It’s a number that’s projected to increase as the $23.262 billion of announced capital investment begins to come online,” he said. “We must do everything in our power to maintain the health of our maritime infrastructure which includes dredging the mouth of the Mississippi River, which is crucial to our economic growth.”
Parish Presidents Natalie Robottom (St. John the Baptist Parish) and Timothy Roussel (St. James Parish), and Executive Director of Technology and Communication Anthony Ayo (St. Charles Parish) took the opportunity to discuss issues like the flood protection (levee project funding), the tonnage growth at the Port of South Louisiana in 2017, the wealth of capital investment in the river region, and the port’s Executive Regional Airport.
Also attending the event were Louisiana Senator Gary Smith, Louisiana Representative Clay Schexnayder, City of Lutcher Mayor Patrick St. Pierre, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson and Deputy Secretary Brad Lambert, and public officials from neighboring parishes.