Plaquemines Parish’s location at the meeting of the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico continues to make it a center of Louisiana’s fishing and marine industries and an important area for oil and gas interests. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina did extensive damage to the parish, but massive upgrades to the levee system as well as large coastal restoration projects are currently underway. Newly built or restored public amenities such as community centers, parks, fire houses, and playgrounds are manifestations of the strength and resilience of Plaquemines Parish’s community.
Plaquemines Parish is an operational center for Louisiana’s offshore oil and gas industry. The parish annually produces 17 million barrels of oil and 105 million cubic ft. of gas that accounts for approximately 25% of annual state severance revenues. Plaquemines Parish is also a hub for natural gas and crude oil pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico. Two of the most important oil and gas operations in Plaquemines are the ConocoPhillips Alliance Refinery and the Chevron Oronite Oak Point Plant; the latter employs over 400 employees and occupies 100 acres in Belle Chasse.
Featuring more than 100 miles of deep draft access (45 ft. minimum) and close to Latin American ports and the Panama Canal, Plaquemines Port is consistently ranked one of the top in the country. The Port’s overall annual tonnage for 2013 was 53,442,283, annual revenue is approximately $5 million, and the port employs over 40 people.
The Louisiana seafood industry is one of the leading sources of income and highest employers in the state, and Plaquemines is essential to its success. Home to the largest commercial fishing fleet in the lower 48 states, the parish produces millions of pounds of shrimp, oysters, crabs and fish annually and accounts for 70 percent of Louisiana’s seafood industry’s total commercial landings.
The Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base (NAS-JRB) in Belle Chasse currently maintains a civilian and military staff 6,300 people.
MAJOR CHANGES SINCE KATRINA
School System: Two new high schools have been built and a third renovated. The Louisiana Department of Education moved the Plaquemines Parish school district from a B to an A letter grade in 2014.
Recreation: Four new community centers have been built
Flood Protection: Since 2007, over 20 restoration and protection projects have been completed or are underway in Plaquemines Parish:
- A new six mile stretch of levee has been built from Braithwaite to Scarsdale.
- Construction on 15 mile levee from Braithwaite to Belair is beginning summer 2015
- A 12-mile levee project from Belair to White Ditch is currently under construction
- The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $65.8 million contract for a new floodgate in Plaquemines Parish to be completed 2017
NEW PHYSICAL ASSETS
- South Plaquemines High School
- Phoenix High School
- Belle Chase High School (renovations)
- Four community centers
- Redbud Drainage Pump
- Regala Gymnasium
- St. John Community Center