Director: Good cause for optimism in St. Landry Parish

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

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“Many people don’t realize this, but there is a major railway spur inside Port Barre that can be really beneficial for economic improvement,” he said. The Port of Krotz Springs “is continuing to experience a lot of economic growth” and “the whole area is in transformation.”


As Spring is bursting out all over, so are good signs for St. Landry Parish business and consumers.  New businesses are looking the parish over, old ones are expanding into new facilities, a new development district is stirring substantial interest, and there are signs that the oil and gas industry—a bedrock of the Acadiana economy—is looking healthier.

Looking those things over, Bill Rodier, St. Landry economic development director, says the first quarter of 2018 has been solid and productive for St. Landry Parish, and the rest of the year has the potential to be even better.  He said in his latest monthly report that “there is a lot to be optimistic about in the coming year,” and the facts and figures support his bright outlook.

He noted, for example, an upsurge in area retail sales genereally, and that sales tax collections in St. Landry for 2017 were up by more than $1 million over 2016. For the longer term, he pointed out that “when we look at leading edge indicators in oil and gas, it appears that the industry is on a slow rebound.”

Additionally, creation of the Central St. Landry Economic District last year will bring “noticeable changes” along the I-49 corridor south of Opelousas before this year is out, he said.

“I think very soon you will see the infrastructure [in that area] looking a lot different,” he said in a recent interview. A new Nissan of Opelousas car dealership is nearing completion there and proposed minority-owned Honda dealership is planned nearby. Brown’s fureniture outlet has also announced a “megastore” that will consolidate the Lafayette and Opelousas stores into one facility also in that area, and there are plans to expand the south campus of Opelousas General Medical Center into a major cancer treatment center.

Reconstitution of the Dowmtown Development Authority in Opelousas should bring new impetus to plans to redevelop the heart of the parish seat, and eastern St. Landry, particularly between Port Barre and Krotz Springs is “ripe for growth,” he said.   

“Many people don’t realize this, but there is a major railway spur inside Port Barre that can be really beneficial for economic improvement,” he said. The Port of Krotz Springs “is continuing to experience a lot of economic growth” and “the whole area is in transformation.”

Elsewhere, Arnaudville continues to be a leader in promoting important cultural assets in the parish, LSU-Eunice continues to grow in enrollment and reputation, and, significantly, “companies that are already existing are seeing new opportunities and finding ways to expand,” Rodier said.

According to projections in his monthly report, St. Landry projects announced over the past 30 months have created potential for more than 1.000 new fulltime jobs, retention of nearly 200 existing fulltime positions, and support for more than 3,000 construction and other temporary jobs.      

Three things to know about this story:

  1. “There is a lot to be optimistic about in the coming year,” according to the economic director.
  2. Creation of the Central St. Landry Economic District last year will bring “noticeable changes” along the I-49 corridor south of Opelousas.
  3. St. Landry projects announced over the past 30 months have created potential for more than 1.000 new fulltime jobs.

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