Location, location, location. St. John the Baptist Parish has it, and its economy is going places thanks in large part to an excellent transportation network throughout the region.
The parish is strategically situated between the metropolitan cities of Baton Rouge and New Orleans, and serving St. John residents and businesses are major roadways such as Interstates 10 and 55, U.S. Highways 51 and 61, along with six Louisiana highways. For companies that ship freight by train, Class I main rail lines Canadian National, Kansas City Southern and Union Pacific are other transportation assets for the region.
For air travelers, the parish is home to the Port of Louisiana Executive Regional Airport in Reserve that accommodates corporate and leisure travelers. In addition, within a 30-minute drive of the parish is Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, which connects commercial-flight passengers to cities throughout the world.
Besides all of these transportation advantages, another crown jewel in the overall logistics infrastructure of St. John the Baptist Parish is the Port of South Louisiana, which is headquartered in LaPlace and extends 54 miles along the Mississippi River.
“I often begin speeches by saying that the Port of South Louisiana might be the most important port in the United States that most people have never heard of,” says Paul Aucoin, Port of South Louisiana director. “We are the largest tonnage port in the entire Western Hemisphere, and South Louisiana is the largest grain port in the nation. We ship grain to 90 different foreign counties – we literally feed the world.”
The port is also a major player in the energy business, with six large oil and gas pipelines serving the South Louisiana port district. The port is also the terminus for the nation’s only offshore oil superport – the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, or LOOP – which is 15 miles off the Louisiana coast and provides more than 500,000 barrels of crude oil a day through a 48-inch pipeline.
“We have major onsite oil storage terminals and four refineries, including Marathon Petroleum Company LP, and our oil and natural gas pipeline infrastructure will allow us to welcome many more energy players,” Aucoin says. “By the way, we also operate the largest Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) in the United States. FTZ No. 124 covers our entire port region.”