I remember times like these when I was a kid in the 70s: The Louisiana and New Orleans economies booming. Oil and gas was king and the state and city were enjoying prosperous times. The bottom fell out in the early 80s or nearly 30 years ago. That’s 3 decades of a crawling economy at best.
While the rest of the South enjoyed being in this country’s fastest growing region, Louisiana faltered. Every state in the South saw tremendous growth during this period, except Louisiana.
Now all of that is changing because of Louisiana’s abundant and cheap natural gas. Experts predict that Louisiana is on the brink of an economic explosion we haven’t seen in decades.
Michael Hecht, who runs Greater New Orleans Inc. says about $100 billion in economic investment is coming to south Louisiana. Sasol, a South African company, will invest over $20 billion alone on a natural gas conversion plant. Shell is expected to build a similar facility for around $12.5 billion in Ascension Parish. There are several other projects on the table in $1 to $5 billion range, like Nucor steel’s $3.5 billion plant upriver in St. James Parish.
The economic experts expect this prosperous Louisiana economy to last the better part of the next quarter century. Billions in investment and hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs. Stephen Moret, the State’s economic chief, expects 80,000 new jobs in Louisiana in the next 4 years alone, and that’s after adding 80,000 in the last 4 years.
Finally the wait is over. In case you haven’t noticed, Louisiana’s economy is booming and the ride has just begun.