St. Charles Herald-Guide

Laque delivers State of the Parish address

By Michael Luke - May 3, 2006

Speaking in front of a host of business professionals and executives from the River Parishes, St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque delivered a speech outlining the conditions of the parish to the River Region Chamber of Commerce during a well-attended luncheon last week at Destrehan Plantation.

"The state of St. Charles Parish is good, I am proud to say," said Laque, highlighting the economic and population growth that St. Charles Parish has experienced pre- and post-Katrina

On the economic front, the parish president said a light manufacturer -- that Laque would not name -- would soon officially declare its decision to move to St. Charles Parish, resulting in a multi-million dollar investment for the parish, along with more employment opportunities for the residents.

Laque also reported that another anonymous company would be relocating its company headquarters locally.

Both companies remained anonymous due to confidentiality agreements while details are being finalized.

As for businesses already in the parish, Laque reported that Valero would begin a $500 million expansion, Monsanto announced a $100 million expansion for its Luling plant and Motiva would invest another $60 million at the Norco refinery.

While businesses are blossoming in the parish, Laque also touched on the aftermath of a major hurricane season, addressing the lessons learned in Hurricane Katrina's wake.

"Hopefully, some of the things we have been preaching about for years will now get some attention. We need help in completing our west bank hurricane protection levee," said Laque, adding that the east bank levee will need to be raised along with adding pumps to the lakefront.

Addressing the hurricane protection issues for the parish, Laque said that he has been in contact with the federal officials representing St. Charles Parish, such as Reps. Melancon and Jindal and Sens. Vitter and Landrieu. Laque said each of the officials support the projects, but he added that the voices of citizens of St. Charles Parish are needed as well, particularly business leaders: "I ask all of you to contact the people that you might know, letting them know just how important these issues are to our very survival; it depends on these levees."

Overall, Laque said that the parish responded well to obstacles presented by the storm, and that local industry was instrumental in helping during the crisis, adding that local companies provided fuel, food and generators during the time of need.

Laque said that this spirit of unity between intergovernmental offices and agencies along with local business and industry expedited the recovery.

Along with Laque, St. James President Dale Hymel and St. John the Baptist Parish President Nickie Monica delivered speeches on the state of their respective parishes. Each parish president recognized the burgeoning growth of their respective parish, preaching cooperation with one another as they grow together.

River Region Chamber Chairman Blaise Gravois, St. James Parish President Dale Hymel, St. John the Baptist Parish President Nickie Monica and St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque spoke during a luncheon at Destrehan Plantation.
Photo by Michael Luke.
River Region Chamber Chairman Blaise Gravois, St. James Parish President Dale Hymel, St. John the Baptist Parish President Nickie Monica and St. Charles Parish President Albert Laque spoke during a luncheon at Destrehan Plantation.