[StBernard] Gov. Blanco, and Sen. Landrieu and Reid visit Chalmette

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Fri Aug 25 21:31:15 EDT 2006

Gov. Blanco came to Chalmette on Wednesday for the dedication of a new ice
plant that will help commercial fishermen in the St. Bernard and New Orleans
area and U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and Senate Minority leader Harry Reid of
Nevada visited Thursday to tour gutted homes, see the new elementary school
and the new supermarket in the parish.

The ice plant on Paris Road at the parish government yard opened Thursday to
commercial fishermen and will be operated for now by parish government from
7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Shell Oil donated money for the ice-making equipment for several parishes to
help the seafood industry. Shell donated $500,000 to Louisiana Wildlife &
Fisheries Foundation to enable the purchase of the equipment, and several
other groups including the LA Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, the LSU
AgCenter, and the Louisiana Sea Grant College Program all participated.

Plaquemines Parish government, which was to receive one of the units,
allowed St. Bernard to have it, meaning there will be two plants next to
each other in Chalmette.

"This is a fine example pf what happens when everyone works together,'' St.
Bernard Parish President Henry "Junior'' Rodriguez said of the project. Each
unit can make more than 20 tons of ice per day. And he said it was "very
nice'' of Plaquemines President Benny Rousselle to donate one of the units
to St. Bernard.

Blanco said the ice plant was impressive "and it will make a big
difference'' for the area's seafood industry.

She said it's time the nation realizes the importance of Louisiana
recovering from Katrina because the state provides so much of the oil and
gas and seafood consumed throughout the United States.

She also praised St. Bernard, saying the parish is looking better than it
has in quite a while.

Pete Gerica, president of the Lake Ponchartrain Fishermen's Association,
said ice availability is a big deal to commercial fishermen, who have had "a
hard go of it'' since Katrina. The ice plant "is a big step forward,'' he

St. Bernard Parish Council members Joseph DiFatta, Craig Taffaro, Judy
Hoffmeister and Mark Madary turned out to greet the governor, who even
shoveled some ice in the plant with Rodriguez.

On Thursday, Sen. Landrieu and Sen. Reid toured the parish, saying they are
committed to passing a law that guarantees Louisiana 37.5 percent of new oil
and gas revenue the federal government receives from Gulf of Mexico

Reid, the Senate Minority leader who has visited St. Bernard before, said he
is pleased by some signs of life but also said the Katrina area could use a
"Mashall Plan'' like that used in Europe after World War II to pump federal
dollars into recovery.

"It's a tragedy how the federal government reacted'' to the devastation and
need to rebuild the area, Reid said.

Both Landrieu and Reid visited Main's Chalmette market, the first full
service supermarket to open in the parish, and said it's owner Carlton Main
had to contend with bureaucracy at the Small Business Administration to get
a loan of 9 percent interest and $10,000 in fees to open, which they said
was terrible.

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