[StBernard] Domino Sugar's Chalmette refinery's history and production recognized

Westley Annis westley at da-parish.com
Thu Dec 13 20:00:51 EST 2012

Domino Sugar's Chalmette refinery's history and production recognized
By Benjamin Alexander-Bloch, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
on December 13, 2012 at 11:50 AM, updated December 13, 2012 at 12:00 PM
Citing Domino Sugar's Chalmette refinery more than 100-year history and its
recent record exceeding one million tons of production, the St. Bernard
Parish Tourist Commission has awarded the local refinery with its annual
Friend of Tourism Award, which goes to organizations or businesses
contributing to local tourism. The commission also cites the parish's recent
efforts to start a sugar museum and Domino's struggles after Hurricane
Katrina; it was hit hard but opened 98 days later.

Earlier this year, the St. Bernard Parish Council applauded Domino for
becoming the first domestic sugar refinery to process one million tons in a
single year. The business has about 400 employees and processes about 60
percent of the raw sugar produced by Louisiana's sugar cane farmers.

The Chalmette refinery typically produces about 2 billion pounds annually,
or about 7 million a day. That generally accounts for about 19 percent of
the country's cane sugar.

The Daily Picayune article announcing the opening of the Chalmette refinery
on May 17, 1909.
Courtesy of Domino
In 2011, when the nonprofit Southern Food and Beverage Museum held a sugar
exhibit, its president Liz Williams told The Times-Picayune, "We're telling
the story of sugar in Louisiana, which almost becomes the story of sugar in
the United States."

"Domino's refinery is the largest in the Western Hemisphere," she continued.
"Why is that here? It's here because of all this history."

The refinery began operating in Chalmette on May 17, 1909. In 2009, to
celebrate 100 years of sugar refining in the parish, Domino joined with the
Old Arabi Neighborhood Association to launch the first Old Arabi Sugar Fest,
a festival now held each October.

"We've been fortunate to have the Chalmette Refinery right here in our
backyard for more than 100 years, because it's been like old faithful for
Louisiana's sugar growers and millers," Dan Duplantis Sr., Raceland Sugar
Mill's general manager, said after the recent production milestone. Raceland
Sugar Mill has processed its sugar at the Chalmette Domino plant for about
32 years.

The tourism commission also is working with Domino on the creation of an Old
Arabi sugar museum, still in its early development, that will recount the
history of sugar production in the parish. The parish tourist commission
currently arranges tours, by appointment, of the local sugar refinery, one
of its many attempt to draw some of the French Quarter tourists to St.
Bernard Parish.

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