State of the Port: Closing out a robust 2023, while focused on a solid 2024

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By Chett Chiasson, GLPC Executive Director


It certainly feels strange to say we are nearing the end of 2023.


Before I give you an update on what has been happening here at the Greater Lafourche Port Commission and Port Fourchon, I would like to first wish everyone a joyous holiday season on behalf of our Board of Commissioners, staff, and myself.


Summing up 2023 is far from easy, but what I will tell you is our agency and port are headed in the right direction.


Not only did we return to 100-percent of our operational and physical capabilities as an agency in 2023, but we also had some huge announcements that bode well for the future of both the GLPC and Port Fourchon.


Among them was Crowley Offshore Wind Services signing a Right of First Refusal on a large tract of bulkheaded property on Slip C to a historic purchase agreement paving the way for the GLPC to acquire more than 850 acres in Port Fourchon.


I fully expect the property under Right of First Refusal will eventually be leased as Crowley works with prospective businesses interested in teaming up with their leadership group to begin the process of developing the Gulf region’s first purpose-driven offshore wind facility.


Meanwhile, the agreement to purchase the Caillouet Land acreage is a deal that not only brought about additional leases and revenue for the GLPC, but also is serving as a key catalyst for us in building a bridge and connector road to our Fourchon Island project.


As a reminder, Fourchon Island is a project that will provide more expansive industrial access to the Gulf of Mexico through its unique configuration and development plan.


Along with this purchase came the news that the Caillouet family would donate 165 acres of property to the State of Louisiana with the intention the state will ultimately create its 22nd state park on the southernmost tip of Lafourche Parish in Port Fourchon.


Outside of all these announcements, you will see work continue on the Airport Bridge and Connector as well as the LA 1 elevated highway projects.


This year will also see the beginning of a major dredging project that will add depth to our existing channels.


Another big-ticket item is the anticipated start of meaningful development on Fourchon Island in the form of a new bridge and connector road.


This project is the one where we are working with several tenants and users of the port to develop and expand our footprint. While this project is a few years from being completed, it will most certainly bring about boat loads of opportunities for Port Fourchon in the future.


The first step is reconnecting our existing highway (A.O. Rappelet Road) with the land across from it. If you remember, we used to have an old bridge there that connected the road to this land area. Unfortunately, due to the age of the bridge we were forced to remove it several years ago. 


However, as we wrap up the permitting work, it is our intention to go out to bid to build a new bridge and connector road at this location sometime in 2024.


If this weren’t enough, we had a company called Argent LNG sign a Right of First Refusal on a piece of property immediately across from our future Fourchon Island project. 


This development seems promising as well as we keep telling our message of being a port and agency that believes in an “all of the above” energy approach for our region and country.


As a service provider port we will support any and everything that takes place offshore of Port Fourchon. 


Things don’t just stop here, but also extend even further to our Coastal Wetlands Park and Recreation Area that we are continuing to develop at the entrance of Port Fourchon. Thanks to a grant award we will add more elements to this one-of-kind park in the coming year.


Please understand that none of this would be possible without having a supportive and productive Board of Commissioners and employees like all of you.


From our Harbor Police Department, to our maintenance team, support staff, and administrative team, it takes everyone to make these things become a reality.


On a closing note, as we wrap up 2023 and march forward in to 2024, I feel as confident as ever that additional announcements will not only demonstrate how Port Fourchon is far from done, but rather prove the point we are forging ahead toward a new and prosperous future with our current tenants serving as the backbone upon which all these amazing opportunities will surely flourish in the years to come.