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executive director

deputy director

c h i e f

Roy Quezaire Dale Hymel, Jr.

o p e r at i n g o f f i c e r

Cindy Martin

director of a d m i n i s t r at i o n

Paul Aucoin

airport director

Lisa Braud Linda Prudhomme

director of business development

executive counsel

director of finance

Melissa Folse Grant Faucheux Tamara Kennedy

director of human resources

director of m a r i n e o p e r at i o n s

Brian Cox

special projects officer

Joel T. Chaisson

port of south louisiana 171 Belle Terre Blvd., P.O. Box 909 LaPlace, LA 70069-0909 www.portsl.com Phone: (985) 652-9278 | Fax: (504) 568-6270 globalplex intermodal terminal Phone: (985) 652-9278 port of south louisiana executive regional airport Phone: (985) 652-9278 ext 8512 a s s o c i at e d t e r m i n a l s Phone: (985) 233-8545 The Port of South Louisiana is a member of the Ports Association of Louisiana. To become an associate member of PAL and to help further the maritime industry in Louisiana, please visit PAL’s website at www.portsoflouisiana.org or call the PAL office at (225) 334-9040.


director ’ s log


whats new




Port officials discuss the importance of investing in infrastructure.


around the port River Parish tourism officials find new, creative ways to rebrand and market all the region has to offer.



airport news





Let’s Go Fly Academy expands educational offerings at Executive Regional Airport.

what ’ s new Port officials welcomed representatives from the United Nations to discuss resiliency and sustainability. company profile Natco Food Service adapts and thrives with new retail partnerships.

what ’ s new Companies in the River Parishes extend support to communities and frontline workers. what ’ s new

RiverWorks Discovery develops new curriculum for middle school students.


port side


port raits


port owned facilities


port map


final frame



Topher Balfer

Ali Sullivan

art director

production manager

Emily Andras

production designer

Rosa Balaguer

account executives

Shelby Harper

c o n t r i b u t i n g w r i t e r s Will Kalec Misty Milioto To advertise call Shelby Harper at (504) 830-7246 or email Shelby@myneworleans.com. 110 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Ste. 123, Metairie, LA 70005 (504) 828-1380 • www.myneworleans.com Copyright 2020 The Port Log, Port of South Louisiana, and Renaissance Publishing LLC. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Port of South Louisiana, Post Office Box 909, LaPlace, LA 700690909. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the consent of the owner or Publisher. The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of the magazine’s managers, owners or publisher. The Port Log is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photos and artwork even if accompanied by a self addressed stamped envelope.


Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, Port of South Louisiana facilities operated as normal as possible while carefully following strict bestpractice directives from state and federal agencies. Concurrently, the Mississippi River experienced a high-water event earlier in the season than normal, which restricted the free-flow of traffic. As a result of these two events, cargo volume is at 93% of normal traffic. Fortunately, the global demand of grain products and petrochemicals have allowed us to keep our cargo volume, though decreased, relatively stable. Organizationally, non-essential personnel began working from home on March 16. However, since entering into Phase I, staff have been operating within our offices part-time via staggered personnel schedules and following protective and social distancing guidelines. On the other hand, essential personnel (Security and Marine Operations) operated 24/7 since the beginning of the pandemic closure. Marine Operations worked closely with the U.S. Coast Guard to enforce and follow all protocols to protect our staff, the Port, and the state. During the months of lock down, the Port of South Louisiana continued to push forward with ongoing economic development projects. For instance, construction continued on a 200-rail-car, five-track rail yard for Dow Chemical that will be located at an adjacent port-owned property (SoLaPort). This $8.7 million project, funded by Louisiana’s Capital Outlay program, is scheduled to be complete in October 2020. On April 18, the Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport (KAPS) reopened once again after the completion of the runway resurfacing. And as of mid-June, Let’s Go Fly Flight Academy is open for business! They will be offering flight training, aircraft rental, banner flying, city tours, aerial photography, aircraft detailing and will have an A&P mechanic on-site. Capital improvements at Globalplex Intermodal Terminal: Building 71 Restoration - Although the contractor worked on the building’s outstanding tasks on a limited basis due to the Mississippi River’s high-water event, structural and cosmetic renovations of the 54,000 square-foot warehouse on Holcim-leased

d. paul robichaux

judy b. songy

p. joey murray, iii

stanley bazile


executive vice president


s e c r e ta r y

whitney hickerson

patrick c. sellars

robert "poncho" roussel

kelly buckwalter

vice president

vice president

vice president


property are 98% complete and should be claimed concluded right on schedule. Seventy percent of the project’s $4.1 million cost was funded by Louisiana’s Capital Outlay program and the remainder covered by Holcim and the Port of South Louisiana. General Cargo Dock Retrofitting & Crane Project - In June, the Port of South Louisiana ordered two Konecranes Gottwald Model 6 Portal Harbor Cranes for the general cargo dock. The cranes, which are slated to be commissioned in September 2021, will increase capacity for bulk materials and add flexibility for future handling of containers and project cargo. The purchase of the $12.72 million cranes was funded in part (90%) by $11.448 million from LA DOTD’s Port Construction and Development Priority Program. Building 76 Rail Siding Rehabilitation - At the request of our tenant, Evonik, the rehabilitation of the rail spur behind the warehouse is complete, reviewed, and approved by Canadian National Railroad. The $300,000 project was funded by the Port of South Louisiana. Business Development Center – The $9.6 million Capital Outlay construction project has been awarded to the lowest bidder and once we receive final approval from Facility Planning and Control, we will enter into an agreement with the contractor. Groundbreaking is expected to happen by late Summer 2020. Lastly, the port submitted a Federal BUILD grant application to the U.S. Department of Transportation for facility in our port district. We are hopeful that in four to six months, we will be the recipient of this grant. I’d like to recognize the dedication and professionalism of the maritime workforce in their collective effort to keep the steady flow of vital goods while keeping the spread of COVID19 to a minimum. Within the Port of South Louisiana, more than 30,000 maritime-industry professionals work every day to ensure that cargo moves efficiently through our port. As families, businesses, and communities begin to recover from the pandemic, the Port of South Louisiana aims at reliability of product transfer to all corners of the world and will take whatever actions are needed to support a strong and stable economy. •

vice president




T R A N S P O R TAT I O N C E N T E R OF THE AMERICAS The state legislature established the Port of South Louisiana in 1960 to promote commerce and industrial development along





14.72 13.94





SOYBEAN 10.0 (16%)

TOTAL TONNAGE: 63,075,970









MAIZE 10.6 (17%)






COAL / LIGNITE / COKE 1.1 (2%)


the St. Charles, St. John and St. James tri-parish regions.


the 54-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that runs through





2018 16.78


2016 15.04




ANIMAL FEED 2.1 (3%) WHEAT 1.1 (2%)


SORGHUM (MILO) + RICE 0.3 (<1%)

CRUDE OIL 14.8 (23%)








The Port’s philosophy of development is to entice companies to set up regional operations within its boundaries. The Port serves primarily as a “landlord” port to more than 30 grain, petroleum and chemical companies. The exception to this is the port-owned world-class intermodal Globalplex facility SoLaPort, and the St. James Westbank property.

Within the Port’s jurisdiction, there are seven grain elevators, multiple midstreaming operations, more than 40 liquid and dry-bulk terminals, the Globalplex Intermodal Terminal and the Port’s Executive Regional Airport.

The Port is charged with a mission to promote maritime commerce, trade and development, and to establish public and private partnerships for the creation of intermodal terminals and industrial facilities.


The ports of South Louisiana, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, St. Bernard and Plaquemines make up the world’s largest continuous port district. They are responsible for moving one-fifth of all U.S. foreign waterborne commerce.


The Port covers a 54-mile stretch of the lower Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The Port begins at river mile 114.9AHP near the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and winds through St. Charles, St. John the Baptist and St. James parishes. It continues north to river mile 168.5AHP just north of the Sunshine Bridge.


The Port is under the jurisdiction of the state of Louisiana and authorized by the state constitution. A nine-member board of commissioners directs the Port; all of them are unsalaried. •

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Despite the closing of attractions and alterations to business procedures, tourism officials found creative ways to market all the area has to offer – including a complete rebrand of the region.


hile the world got put on “PAUSE,” Buddy Boe and the staff at River Parishes Tourist Commission took a strategic, proactive approach toward promoting the region during this time of crisis. The Port of South Louisiana is located along the beautiful, scenic Mississippi River which is the backdrop for many attractions’ tourists visit on a normal day. A slow stroll through the River Region would have to be re-designed. Within hours of Governor John Bel Edwards’ statewide shutdown order, the Tourist Commission cultivated several initiatives to aid and support essential businesses. This included plans of action for preparing and promoting closed tourism attractions for when restrictions were lifted, as well as establishing modern


methods of introducing stuck-athome travel enthusiasts to the eclectic beauty and wonder of the region. “We pivoted and leaned into action,” said Boe, the Executive Director of the Tourist Commission, of actions taken right after the shutdown. “Once we made the decision to work from home, we knew the first thing we had to do was send as much business as possible to local restaurants and other operating businesses that needed support. So, where we once always looked outward to attract attention to the area, we instantly swung that in the opposite direction to inward marketing – marketing local shops and restaurants to patrons within the three River Parishes.” Less than 72 hours after Louisiana’s mandatory stay-at-


home order, the River Parishes Tourist Commission launched the website, TasteTheRiverParishes. com. Updated daily, the site provides parish-by-parish listings of open restaurants, adjusted hours of operation, adjusted menus and links to restaurants’ individual websites. Additionally, several local chefs hosted Facebook Live Cooking Demonstrations that were presented on TasteTheRiverParishes.com. Because this new website became such a trusted source of information for locals looking to order out, Boe estimates the Tourist Commission established a connection with roughly 40 restaurants it didn’t previously have a relationship with. For tourism entities like plantations and swamp tours that couldn’t operate


because of COVID-19, the Tourism Commission developed strategic digital marketing plans to reach future travelers stuck at home. The trick in all this, Boe said, is that some places didn’t have up-to-date multimedia to source, while others didn’t have any multimedia at all. To combat that issue, the Commission partnered with those attractions and businesses to film and photograph brandnew material – much of which was featured on the website StreaminOnTheRiver.com, which the RPTC launched in May for National Travel and Tourism Week. On the website, visitors could take a 7-day virtual vacation in the River Parishes, complete with dinner and musical entertainment. “Our job is to promote,” Boe said, “and without a digital presence, it’s almost impossible for us to market. No one was in a hotel looking at rack cards. Hardly anybody was at the airport looking at billboards. They were home, and so to reach them, you had to and will have to keep producing digital content and delivering it to the visitor in a targeted fashion. “Everything on both sides of the equation will continue to be strategic,” Boe continued. “Travelers will be more strategic in how they spend their travel money, and doing it in places they feel safe. And therefore, we will have to be strategic in how we promote the area and attract visitors.” Last but not least, Boe and his team accelerated the region’s rebrand – “Louisiana’s River Parishes” – so that its reveal would coincide with the gradual reopening of tourist attractions in July. The new slogan, featured in all new advertising and promotion materials, replaces the two-decade-old slogan, “New

Orleans Plantation Country.” Underneath this new universal name umbrella, the Commission also released specific “Sub-Brands” for the area tailored to a visitor’s specific interest. These include: New Orleans Swamp Country, Bonfire Country, Outdoor Adventures, The Andouille Trail, and New Orleans Plantation Country, among others. Port of South Louisiana, Executive Director and River Region Tourism

Commission Member, Paul Aucoin, “Our river is what makes us special. Our landscape is one of the most beautiful in the world. I look forward to the day when visitors and locals can enjoy an airboat tour, a bonfire gathering, a tour of our history or a night of fine Cajun cuisine. But, until then, we can enjoy those sights virtually at home with our families. The River Parishes are special, no matter where you are.” •

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PHOTO LEFT: Flight instructor Mufid Jabour

with student Cody Heitmeier.


A new flight school in Reserve offers lofty services and instruction.


he Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport (KAPS), which serves as the aerial gateway to the largest tonnage port in the western hemisphere, recently welcomed Let’s Go Fly Academy to its facilities. The airport services business and corporate jets, as well as charter jets, that are traveling to Southeast Louisiana. However, the new flight school, operated by Certified Flight Instructor and CEO, Mufid Jabour, now offers a bevy of services previously unavailable in the area.



Let’s Go Fly Academy is housed in the 6500 sq.ft. port-owned hangar that was formerly used as a transient hangar. The Port of South Louisiana welcomes the flight school to Executive Regional Airport (KAPS) and looks forward to a long term business relationship. Jabour, who was born and raised in Venezuela, fell in love with Louisiana after a trip here to visit his eldest brother. He has been flying since 2005 and earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 2007. Two years ago, he decided to more fully explore

a career in aviation and received his Instrument Rating – Airplane Airman Certification, Commercial Pilot Certification and Certified Flight Instructor Certification. “What drew me into flying is the freedom that I feel every time I get airborne, and I can pretty much go anywhere,” Jabour says. “I have a passion for flying and always wanted to be in the air, but I didn’t know how to get started until I moved to Louisiana. I saw an opportunity here at KAPS because there was no one else teaching in the area. I also found that, when I was getting my instruction, I went around to different schools and they were all booked up for at least two months. And for some reason, they made it hard to get on board with them. After doing a lot of research and asking a lot of people in the area, I saw the necessity to establish a flight academy — and not only that, but also to include more services.” Currently comprising Let’s Go Fly Academy are three instructors (including Jabour) and two planes — a Cessna 172N, a four-seat, single engine, fixed-wing aircraft that Jabour says is one of the best planes for training, and a Cessna C-414, a low-wing turboprop that he will use for light instruction and rentals. Jabour plans to add another 172N as the need arises. In terms of flight instruction, Let’s Go Fly Academy is offering Private Pilot, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot, Multi-Engine Private Pilot and Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor certifications. However, Jabour is offering several additional services to further elevate Let’s Go Fly Academy. For example, aircraft rentals (starting at $150 per hour) are perfect for an evening sightseeing flight or weekend getaway. Let’s Go Fly Academy’s fleet also is available for banner


advertising (prices vary depending on the advertising campaign needs) and city tours ($75 per person, up to three people, for 45 minutes). “We are going to have different packages, such as a VIP private tour on the C-414 with wine and cheese,” Jabour says. Let’s Go Fly Academy also offers drone inspection for onshore and offshore structures, and Jabour plans to have Airframe and Powerplant mechanics on staff who can conduct full inspections and repairs. The company also offers fixed-wing aerial pipeline patrol, providing a costeffective method for patrolling vast areas of right of way in a short period of time. This service is especially useful for areas not requiring immediate access such as in the case of leaks or damage. In addition to pipeline patrol, Let’s Go Fly Academy also offers power line patrol, fiber optic line patrol, right-of-way services and more. By using GPS locators, weather monitors and computer mapping programs, the company provides daily progress reports, noting any issues spotted along with documentation to show that the aerial patrol work was done correctly. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Jabour says Let’s Go Fly Academy requires everyone to wear

a mask. “If they don’t have one, we will have some for sale,” he says. “We also have mic covers for the headsets if students don’t already have their own headset. We will be seeing students and future students by appointment only to keep social distancing practices in place.” While times have changed for all industries, Jabour says it has been a pleasure working with the Port to get Let’s Go Fly Academy off the ground. “I really have to thank the Port of South Louisiana and the Airport Director, Lisa Braud, for all of her help,” he says. “She is very professional; she has been an angel,

TOP PHOTO: Mufid Jabour with his family at the Port of South Louisiana’s Executive Regional Airport, the location of Let’s Go Fly Academy.

always smiling, friendly and willing to help me on all of the different aspects.” Executive Director Paul Aucoin extends his support to Jabour’s academy, saying, “I would like to welcome Mr. Mufid Jabour and the Let’s Go Fly Academy to our airport. We wish him well and of course we will assist him in any way we can.” For more information on the Academy’s services and scheduling, visit letsgo-fly.com. •

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The Port of South Louisiana focuses on public-private partnerships that increase resilience and sustainability.

The Port of South Louisiana hosted International visitors of UNECE in early March at the Port’s Guest house in Reserve.


hen the Port of South Louisiana hosted the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) during the first week of March, aiming to discuss global partnerships that would bolster the economy in times of need, they had no idea how relevant those topics would become just a week later. Along with the affiliated International Sustainable Resilience Center, Inc. (ISRC), UNECE and the Port detailed the importance of building public-private partnerships (PPPs) that protect, boost and sustain the local economy, infrastructure and other critical natural assets. A meeting such as this one, bringing together thinkers and leaders from all over the


world, would soon become impossible, as stay-at-home and social distancing mandates paused face-to-face exchanges on even the smallest scale. However, there is no place like Louisiana in which to discuss resiliency, even on the cusp of a global challenge like the COVID-19 pandemic. According to David A. Dodd, founding president and CEO of ISRC, the delegation was impressed by the variety of innovations in resilience developed and implemented in New Orleans and Louisiana. “The hardship of hurricanes, floods, the BP oil spill, tornadoes and other calamities the city and state have endured has resulted in a legitimate claim as being one of the most — if not the [singular] most — resilient


places on earth,” Dodd says. “ISRC hopes to build on that progress through its dual mission of promoting resilience-based PPPs and integrating sustainable resilience into all PPPs.” It was exactly the increasing number and severity of natural disasters around the world that first led Dodd to create ISRC, a 501c3 non-profit, in 2017. He found that there was a growing need to integrate sustainable materials, and to build structures to standards, in order to resist damage and destruction. “Those structures can be future-proofed to avoid costly damage, while protecting the people that use them,” Dodd says. Resilience in PPPs — as with individuals, communities, states, and nations — means having

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the ability to better withstand, and recover more quickly from, adverse incidents. In addition to strengthening physical assets (such as roads, bridges, ports, and water and sanitation systems), resilience also relates to strengthening the ability of systems to continue functioning. Sustainability factors into the equation as it is directly intertwined with resilience. “For example, if a bridge is not strengthened and is destroyed in an earthquake, resources must be used to rebuild it, and some of those resources will be limited and most likely will have a negative impact on the environment,” Dodd says. “There [also] is a difference between integrating resilience into PPPs and developing PPPs specifically for resilience. For example, investing in electronic gauges to provide realtime warnings for flood conditions is a PPP increasing resilience, whereas hardening a bridge is integrating resilience into a PPP.” As the largest tonnage port in the Western Hemisphere, it was important for the Port of South Louisiana to meet with ISRC and UNECE’s eight International PPP Specialist Centers to further UNECE’s principles of PeopleFirst PPPs. These principles emphasize inclusion, equity, transparency and zero tolerance for corruption, all as part of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. “The centers specialize in areas of water and sanitation systems, smart and sustainable cities, policy and law, local/regional capacity, road transportation, rail transportation, resilience, and yes, ports,” Dodd says. “The overall theme of this series of sessions, the first-ever to bring all Specialist Centers together, was resilience, and was considered an overwhelming success. A second series of sessions is now in the planning stage, with the theme of providing clean water and sanitation, again utilizing the principles of People-First PPPs.”

Paul Aucoin, Executive Director of the Port of South Louisiana, with David Dodd of ISCR.

In terms of Louisiana’s infrastructure, the state is not unlike others that struggle to maintain existing infrastructure while also building new roads, bridges and other public-use facilities. “The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has developed a robust PPP agenda and is currently involved in PPP projects; an example is replacing the tunnel and bridge on Highway 23 in Belle Chasse with a new bridge,” Dodd says. “A best practice PPP was developed in construction of the University Medical Center in New Orleans, where Children’s Hospital co-invested and assumed management of the $1 billion facility.” Partnerships such as these combine the funding and operational effectiveness of the private sector with the public good of the public sector, resulting in more value for the money. Doing more for less, and for the benefit of all, builds capacity and competitive advantage, encouraging growth in local, state, national and international economies. “PPPs are becoming more critical as governments struggle to provide needed infrastructure, systems and programs,” Dodd says. “This need is being increased exponentially by

the disaster that is COVID-19, as governments pour out trillions of dollars to keep their economies afloat. Now, investments in health care and programs to help businesses recover will take precedence. Louisiana is already engaged in PPPs for transportation, and the impacts of COVID-19 will require new types of PPPs, such as concessions for operation and maintenance of critical assets.” ISRC also is actively promoting Louisiana globally as the epicenter of new innovations and solutions in the resilience field. “The resilience industry, prior to COVID-19, was a $90 billion per year sector with a 24.3 percent annual growth rate,” Dodd says. “COVID-19 will increase that number substantially. ISRC is deeply involved with the international community in developing ways to help the national and global economy recover successfully in the ‘new normal.’ PPPs will undoubtedly play a major role in those endeavors.” ISRC depends solely on member support for its programs. Anyone interested in joining can visit ippprc. org and resiliencevip.com. Recordings of the Resilience 2020 sessions, and interviews of key local and international leaders, can be found at sustainableresiliencetv.com. •

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The family-owned business embraces change from its Port of South Louisiana facility


ou might be hearing the words “pivot” and “adapt” more and more these days, as businesses small and large find ways to position themselves for sustainability and survival during the coronavirus pandemic. Luckily for Natco Food Service, the perfect pivot has long been a part of the handbook, leaving the company ready and able to not only continue operations, but to grow into new arenas. Family owned and operated since its founding in 1925, Natco Food Service was housed in New Orleans until Hurricane Katrina, a test of resiliency which ultimately pushed the company into expansion. “We were already looking to move into a larger facility,” says current owner John Lalla, the grandson of founder Nicholas Lalla. “We lost our facility when the hurricane hit, so we were able to negotiate a long term lease with the Port of South Louisiana and started building our USDA-approved facility.” Natco’s main service is providing restaurants, hotels and casinos their “center of the plate,” or COP, food products. “We primarily deal with beef, steaks, veal, lamb and pork,” Lalla says. “We custom cut all fresh products which we sell across the country, including Louisiana, Houston, California and Mississippi.” In March, when restaurant closures and stay-at-home orders


dramatically affected Natco’s main clientele, Lalla and his team immediately prepared a new business plan more suited to the changed social landscape. “We started to reach out to the retail sector and offered a custom-cut program,” Lalla says. “These are restaurant quality steaks sold directly to the retail market. It’s taken off very well.” Lalla says part of the appeal for consumers is the company’s existing packaging and sanitation standards, which has provided peace of mind


regarding freshness of the meat and cleanliness of the product. “With the virus, a lot of people are hyper aware of bacteria,” Lalla says. “We’re a USDA facility that is inspected daily, and we have a stateof-the-art slicing machine. So, we’re able to offer retailers a product that is machine cut, meaning there are no people involved in the handling, and there’s no possibility of human contamination.” On top of that, Lalla says their machine wrapping process yields


a more airtight seal, as opposed to traditional retail wrapping. Natco’s packages are completely airtight, and Lalla says you can even run them under soapy water without risk of air or water compromising the meat contained inside. This is a level of safety awareness, Lalla says, that many people have gravitated toward. “We’re doing well,” Lalla says. “I tell people: If you’re still in business and paying your bills, that’s a success story.” Another lucrative branch of business that Natco continues to focus on for long-term sustainability is a process called repacking, something their facilities

are uniquely equipped to handle. “We can take a 30 pound box of pork spare ribs, and because we’re a USDA facility with all the necessary saws and equipment, we can cut it, repackage it between six 5-pound boxes, and deliver those packages to the grocery,” Lalla says. “So, now the consumer can buy specialty items like pork spare ribs at a cheaper price. That has really taken off and has been another extremely beneficial aspect for us. This has long term sustainability, and in three years, 20 percent of our sales will likely be from retail and repack.” Consumers looking for Natco’s repacked, restaurant-quality

meats don’t just have to check their favorite retailer, either, as the company has provided another convenient means to purchase frozen goods. Natco’s Pop-Up Truck sells favorites like prime New York strip, ribeye, tenderloin and more at various locations, which are updated on the company’s website. Lalla says that because food is such an important part of Louisiana’s culture, changes in Natco’s operations will always be geared toward providing restaurants, retailers and families with the top-grade items they need to create memorable dining experiences. It’s a mission that he says has been heavily aided by Natco’s partnership with the Port of South Louisiana. “None of this is possible without the Port,” he says. “They’re just pro-business and will always work with us when we have improvements or projects. They’re always receptive to helping us grow, and having a partner like the Port makes it easy to grow and focus on the big picture of your business.” While Lalla can’t say for sure what future changes Natco and the restaurant business will face in the coming months or years, he’s confident his company will continue pivoting and adapting to meet the needs of the community — until that day when he hands off the reins to the fourth generation of the Lalla family. •

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Stakeholders addressed Congress and the Trump administration in an online opinion piece


s Louisiana moves through the phases of business reopening and societal reintegration, local stakeholders are turning their sights toward recovery and are urging the national administration to focus on strengthening maritime infrastructure. Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin and Executive Director of the Big River Coalition Sean Duffy co-authored an opinion piece published by InsideSources.com to make their plea and to detail the long-term need for increased funding. “As stakeholders on one of the nation’s busiest ports and waterways, we are committed to ensuring that America’s economic recovery is swift and robust,” Aucoin and Duffy write in their letter. “This is why we are urging Congress and the Trump administration to strongly consider increased investments to our nation’s maritime infrastructure as part of any legislative actions to help the nation manage the economic fallout of the pandemic. Specifically, it is critical that repairs and advancements to the Mississippi River system be prioritized, targeted and strategically executed.”


The pair explain that the pandemic has had detrimental effects on the farming industry, as school and business closures have caused demand and prices for crops and livestock to plummet. This downward trend, they write, threatens the potential for economic recovery unless preemptive steps are taken to sustain the nation’s ports and farmers, which Aucoin and Duffy say will be crucial assets in an economic rebound. For reference, the Port of South Louisiana is the national leader on grain exports, accounting for more than half of the country’s annual grain output and providing essential stimulation to economies on both the local and national level. South Louisiana recently notched a crucial victory when Congress approved funding to dredge the Mississippi River Ship Channel, but


increased flooding and water levels over the past decade mean that investments are required in other areas, too. Namely, Aucoin and Duffy cite the need for repairing and dewatering the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock, which would in turn require the dredging and deepening of an alternate route in Baptiste Collette. “The United States is blessed with more miles of navigable waterways than the rest of the world combined,” they write. “As our leaders look to make investments in our future, they should ensure our nation’s infrastructure can meet the demands of the global marketplace. In order to modernize the national waterways infrastructure, we must commit to a long-term strategy to rebuild and maximize our waterways advantage.” •

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Taryn Rogers, Manager of Community Relations and Governmental Affairs at Valero, gives back to Second Harvest Food Bank.


Several businesses within the Port District extended support to those battling COVID-19 in the River Parishes.


n good times and bad times, those who do business at the Port of South Louisiana have always stepped up to the plate, and the immediate action of several companies after the outbreak of COVID-19 only solidified that reputation further. While it can’t be denied the industrial titans that line this 54-mile stretch of the Mississippi



River provide quality jobs for thousands of highly-skilled, hardworking people and collectively represent a vital global economic outpost, the Port of South Louisiana is so much more than numbers on a spreadsheet. It’s a part of the community well after the whistle ends the workday, always looking for ways to give back and make an impact.

For instance, Shell Norco formulated its own COVID-19 operation plans — an extensive effort that required deep cleaning the facility, social distancing, PPE and new modes of communicating both on-site and remotely so this essential business could keep running. Simultaneously, the industry leader also devised ways to use its reach and worldwide connections to help secure necessary equipment for those fighting the pandemic in the River Parishes and throughout Louisiana. The moment it became clear protective facial coverings and hand sanitizer were of immediate need, Norco Shell reached out to its industry partners and other Shell sites throughout the world to acquire KN-95 masks and gallons of hand sanitizer that were distributed to essential agencies through the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. “In some cases, such as acquiring 10,000 masks, it required frequent communication with our global Shell sites, along with practicing patience, as the world experienced shipping and transportation delays during the pandemic,” says Rochelle Touchard, Shell’s External Relations Manager in Louisiana. “When the products arrived, we made sure that they were delivered in a socially distanced manner. We couldn’t see the usual smiles of appreciation and

ABOVE: Repurposing for good, Shell recycled

old company uniforms to sew masks.

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TOP RIGHT: Hospital

employees gather for the First Responder Parade. MIDDLE RIGHT:

Sherrif’s Deputies of the K9 unit were honored at the event. BOTTOM RIGHT:

Ochsner St. Charles Nurses enjoying the parade.

thanks or even extend a friendly handshake, but we know the supplies made a difference.” Touchard says that Shell Norco provided gloves, masks and outerwear to St. Charles EMTs and engineered flame-retardant facial coverings for the nine local firehouses thanks to the help of a gifted local seamstress. Beyond equipment, Shell partnered with food pantries, local restaurants and non-profits like The United Way to supply hot meals to a variety of people. Shell also did what it could to empower locals — like science students at Destrehan High School — looking to come together and help the cause. Shell made a monetary donation to the Wildcats’ Robotics Team to cover supply costs to make thousands of facial shields using a 3D printer. The shields were distributed to emergency responders and healthcare workers in the River Parishes. Like most things in the new normal COVID-19 days, the logistics of acquiring and distributing materials — or meals — can be a challenge. That’s where knowing and understanding your community and employees enters the scene, Touchard says. “Good communication and good relationships, over the years — not just in times of crisis — make phone calls and conversations not only easy, but also a pleasure. We all know we can count on each other, and if we asked a certain restaurant to recommend and deliver a meal at a specific time, we knew we could rely on them as a true partner.” The Valero Refinery in St. Charles also quickly joined the fight against COVID. On April 1, Valero pledged $300,000 to support those in the New Orleans area affected by the pandemic. One-third of that money went to the Second Harvest Food Bank of New Orleans and Acadiana, while the rest of the donation went to organizations like the St. Charles Public School System, several Catholic charities in St. Charles, the Matthew 25:35 Food Pantry, and the St. Charles Council on Aging. Valero also pivoted to produce hand sanitizer, which was then donated to first responders and local government. Finally, the group at G. Smith Motorsports (which falls under the umbrella of The Magnolia Companies of Louisiana) played an important supporting role in the First Responders Parade held in Luling on May 4. “We have been so blessed by our community, in our personal and professional lives, so giving back to the community that raised us feels natural,” G. Smith Motorsports CEO Glen Smith says.

The event was put on by Natalie Wright and the team at One Team One Fight. G. Smith Motorsports provided 350 goodie bags for the first responders honored in the parade while staff from The River Room cooked up all the food. “We saw not only all of the hospital staff starting and ending their shifts, but all of the Sheriff’s deputies, the EMS crews, and every volunteer fire department, from Bayou Gauche to Killona and all areas in between,” says G. Smith spokesperson Leigh Hallas. “There was a great sense of community, the amount of support and gratitude being shown was overwhelming and humbling.” Paul Aucoin, Executive Director of the Port of South Louisiana, commends the local businesses, saying, “These companies have always been great partners to the Port of South Louisiana. Their actions have helped the community through the pandemic and are above and beyond the normal scope of business. The River Region and The Port of South Louisiana are lucky to have them.” •

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Even in the midst of the global pandemic, RiverWorks Discovery continues to expand educational programming, with specific efforts targeted toward middle school-aged students.


t’s no secret that the Mississippi River — and the commerce, culture and opportunity it affords the maritime industry — is one of the main economic assets in South Louisiana. But who are the workers making it possible, and does our next generation workforce know what careers are available right here in our region? These are the questions that RiverWorks Discovery seeks to answer with both classroom education and its interactive event series, Who Works the Rivers (WWR). The river industrysupported program began in 2011 as a collaboration between the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, the



Waterways Association of Pittsburgh and RiverWorks Discovery (RWD), which is based at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium located in Dubuque, Iowa. Since then, WWR has branched out to more than a dozen cities, providing industry partners and employees from different maritime specialties an opportunity to introduce high school-aged students to the Mississippi River and educate them about the career paths and mobility available in the industry. The Port of South Louisiana is one of several local sponsors who are helping to bring RWD programs like these to youth statewide. Past events in Orleans and St.

James Parishes have been widely attended, with the most recent event being held at the River Parishes Community College (RPCC) campus in Reserve. Held just two weeks before social distancing and stay-at-home mandates took effect, the RPCC program was the first to bring together high school and collegeaged students from St. Charles and St. John the Baptist Parishes. And even though in-person events have been temporarily disrupted, RiverWorks Discovery and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium have continued working to expand their educational offerings. There’s a crucial demographic they

W H AT ’ S N E W

RiverWorks students tour Cargill facilities on the Mississippi River in Reserve.

want to reach next, one at a critical junction in the career-defining process: middle school students. The plan for achieving this is a formulated curriculum that can be integrated into middle school classrooms over time. Although the curriculum is being designed and tested in Dubuque, its structure will allow for schools in other areas to pick up and modify the lessons. Teachers will be able to tailor discussions to their school’s respective region and industry, with a focus on careers available in their area. “Some of the feedback we’ve gotten from educators is that the middle school age is where they start putting in more preparation toward building future careers,” says Andra Olney-Larson, RiverWorks Discovery Coordinator. “One of the things we’re hoping to do is focus on the diversity of careers, so we’re working with a local educator and taking input while the curriculum

is being built. We’re making sure the lessons can be picked up as a unit and applied to other areas like economics, sociology and history. That way, we have a well-rounded curriculum that meets state needs and is inspiring for students.”

Jared McGovern, Curator of Conservation Programs at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, is one of the key players in developing the middle school curriculum. He says that while WWR events are more inquirybased for high school students —

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PHOTO LEFT & BELOW: Students observe and participate in firsthand examples of working on the River.

allowing them to talk and interact directly with professionals — the middle school curriculum is built around phenomena-based learning. “In phenomena-based learning, teachers assume the role of a facilitator rather than taking on direct instruction and coordination,” McGovern says. He explains that students would follow their own questioning progression after being exposed to the phenomena — in this case, lessons and presentations supplemented by WWR videos and materials. “Once the students are engaged, the question the teacher poses is: Who works in these careers? Students can explore components of the river and are asked to reflect on their own interests before following their line of inquiry and exploring different river-centric careers.” Further learning would be centered on student-driven questions and individual explorations, with the option to host a career fair or another interactive event where students could present their research to their peers. Students would be empowered to develop any kind of activity or presentation model to represent the career


they’ve chosen. The beauty of this curriculum, McGovern says, is that teachers would be able to integrate a complete, prepackaged set of lessons, making it easier to adopt in other states that RWD serves and where there are plentiful maritime opportunities, like Louisiana. Dawn Lopez, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations at Associated Terminals and Turn Services, says that focusing on middle-school aged students is important for the continued prosperity of the River Parishes region. Along with the Port of South Louisiana, both Associated Terminals and Turn Services are RWD sponsors who are closely involved in programming and outreach. “This is really important for the Port of South Louisiana because of how industrial the region is. Middle school students might already understand the significance of plants, but the river is of equal importance,” Lopez says. “We’ve been lucky to develop a relationship with RWD and the Port to grow this program in the River Parishes. We want to continue that growth and show more students the importance of the


river to their jobs and their area.” Moving forward, RWD’s plan to further that growth and education extends beyond classroom curriculum. A completely virtual WWR program is being developed to expose even more students to the diversity of maritime careers available. Once launched, it will become a permanent fixture of RWD’s programming, even once social distancing mandates are eased. The recent addition of Laura Martin, RWD South Central Liaison, forecasts additional expansion in Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana, so partners and participants can look forward to even more opportunities in the near future. For more information on educational programming, events and outreach, visit RiverWorks Discovery at riverworksdiscovery.org and the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium at rivermuseum.com. •

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which is a peer-to-peer network of more than 14,000+ influential business owners with 195 chapters in 61 countries. Founded in 1987, EO is the catalyst that enables leading entrepreneurs to learn and grow, leading to greater success in business and beyond.


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To learn more about EO Louisiana visit us at EOLouisiana.org



P O R Ts i d e

P E O P LE OF T HE POR T LESTER MILLET III Lester Millet III has held the positions of Policy & Planning Director and Safety Risk Agency Manager for the Port of South Louisiana for the past 14.5 years, serving as a public/private stakeholder liaison on issues pertaining to Port security and emergency preparedness. Lester serves on numerous local, state and federal committees, including InfraGard Louisiana (President) and the LMR Port Security Workgroup (Chairman), and has received numerous awards for his past efforts. Lester and his wife Vicki (Poche) reside in LaPlace and have two sons, Lester IV (33) and Christopher (26). LOUISE GRIMES Security Guard Louise Grimes has been ensuring the safety of Port properties and employees since 2016. She can often be found patrolling the Port’s different facilities in her security truck, but she always has time to stop and offer a friendly greeting. When not at work, her favorite thing to do is spend time with her family.

LYDASHA AUGUSTA Lydasha Augusta joined the Port family in 2015 as a Security Guard. She works in the Maritime Security Operations Center (MSOC), where she makes sure that any emergencies, issues or crises are addressed no matter the time of day or night. In her free time, she enjoys passing the time with an afternoon of reading or a leisurely shopping trip.

JAMES LUMAR Since 2002, James Lumar has been dedicated to protecting and preserving Port properties. His previous roles include MSOC dispatcher, which saw him responding to and quickly resolving emergency calls. Now, James serves as an officer in the security department. His favorite pastime is spending as much time with his family as possible.

RACHEL SWORDS Administrative assistant Rachel Swords has been with the Port’s business development department since 2016. She’s passionate about participating in and supporting community theatre: when not working at the Port, she works as a house manager at the Saenger and Mahalia Jackson theatres in New Orleans, where she often lends her talent for building costumes.



P O R Tr a i t s


Coach Robert Valdez, Head football coach at St. James High School, is honored at a commission meeting in March for the Class 3A LHSAA Championship.

In Memorium: Mr. James “Raymond” Fryoux, represented St. Charles Parish on the Port of South Louisiana Commission from 2008-2015. Mr. Fryoux was a resident of Destrehan and owner/operator of Fryoux Tankerman Service Inc, Fryoux Tankerman of Texas Inc, and Fryoux Barge Consultants, LLC until he retired in 2005. March 4, 1937-July 4, 2020

Port of South Louisiana intern Dominique Lewis graduated from West St. John High School during COVID-19. We wish her luck as she attends Northwestern State University in the fall.

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P O R Tr a i t s


LEFT: PSL Commissioners and Directors participate in commission meetings via Zoom.

RIGHT: Paul Aucoin, PSL Executive Director, participated as a panelist for the World Trade Center of New Orleans Global Connect Series: North American Energy Forum, among guests from Canada and North America.

LEFT: Lester

Millet, Safety Agency Risk Manager for PSL, hosts the annual Functional Hurricane Exercise virtually to prepare for hurricane season.



P O R Tr a i t s


ABOVE: Lisa Braud, Port of South Louisiana Airport Director, cuts the ribbon for Mufid Jabour’s new Let’s Go Fly Academy, located at PSL’s Executive Regional Airport in Reserve. Also pictured with Jabour and his family: PSL Chief Operating Officer Dale Hymel, Director of Business Development Linda Prudhomme, Commissioner Joey Murray, Assistant Director of Business Development Julia Fisher-Perrier, St. John Parish Economic Development Director Stanley Bienemy, and Deputy Director of Operations for Louisiana River Parish Tourism Denise Burrell.

RIGHT: PSL Commissioner and Airport Committee Chair Joey Murray welcomes the new flight academy.

LEFT: Let’s Go Fly Academy debuts at PSL’s Executive Regional Airport.

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GLO BALPLEX INT ERMO DAL T ERMINA L 155 West 10th Street, Reserve, La. 70084 P.O. Box 909, LaPlace, La. 70069 phone : 985-652-9278 fax : 985-653-0798 e - mail : info@portsl.com web : www.portsl.com contact ( s ): Paul Aucoin, Executive Director; Roy Quezaire, Deputy Director location : River mile 138.5 equipment : Two Manitowoc 2250 rail-mounted gantry cranes; 100,000-pound capacity weighing scale for trucks; 100,000 square foot warehouse; 72,000-sq. foot, and 40,000-sq. foot transit shed; and a 177,000 sq. foot paved open storage pad dock : 204 ft. x 660 ft. with upstream and downstream mooring dolphins. allow for dockage of panamax size vessels; 700 ft x 65 ft finger pier general cargo operators associated terminals ph : 985-536-4520 address :

mailing address :

GLO BALPLEX BULK DO CK P.O. Box 909, LaPlace, La. 70069 985-652-9278 fax : 985-653-0798 e - mail : info@portsl.com web : www.portsl.com contact ( s ): Paul Aucoin, Executive Director; Roy Quezaire, Deputy Director location : River mile 138.5 function : Transfer and store bulk, primarily cement fluorspar limestone and wood chips equipment : An 800 tons-per-hour continuous Carlsen ship unloader, a 1,800 tons-per-hour ship-loading system, 100,000 tons of cement storage in two storage domes, 70,000 tons of storage for flourspar in an A-frame building and approximately nine acres of paved open storage for wood chips and other products. dock : 507’ x 44’ with upstream and downstream mooring buoys to allow for panamax-size vessels mailing address : phone :

ADM RES ERVE 2032 La. Highway 44, Reserve, La. 70084 985-536-1151 fax : 985-536-1152 web : ADMWorld.com contact ( s ): Mike Landry, generale manager of commercial operations location : River mile 139.2 function : Grain export elevator. other : Fully automated address : phone :

PO RT O F S O UT H LO UIS IANA EX EC UT IVE REGIO NAL AIRPO RT mailing address : physical

P.O. Box 909, La Place, La. 70069-0909

A ddress : 355 Airport Road, Reserve, La. 70084

985-652-9278 portsl.com/airport-services email : psl-era@portsl.com contact : Lisa Braud, Airport Director location : N30° 05.25’, W30°34.97 phone : web :




PLAINS MARKET ING L .P. 6410 Plains Terminal Road, St. James, La. 70086 Craig Ellinwood phone : 225-265-2353 fax : 225-265-3171 web : PAALP.com location : Mile marker 158.6 function : Storage of petroleum products. address :

terminal manager :

S O LAPO RT West Bank industrial site acquired for development into an industrial park located adjacent to Dow in St. Charles Parish. Paul Aucoin (985) 652-9278

contact : phone :

MPLX L.P. (PIN O AK T ERMINAL S) 4006 Highway 44, Mt. Airy, La. 70076 Gregg Qualls phone : 504-533-8783 web : PinOakTerminals.com location : Mile marker 144.1 function : Storage of petroleum products. address :

contact :

PS L WES T BANK S T. J A M E S Paul Aucoin (985) 652-9278

contact : phone :

Property acquired for development.






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Activity along the Port of South Louisiana continues through the pandemic, providing the community with vital goods and services.



Profile for Renaissance Publishing

Port Log Summer 2020  

Port Log Summer 2020  

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