ST. BERNARD PARISH, La. (WGNO) — Governor John Bel Edwards announced plans to move forward with a $1.8 billion port expansion in Violet, located in St. Bernard Parish.
“17,000 jobs statewide, think about that. Those aren’t just jobs; they’re careers. They don’t just support individuals they support families, and they lift up entire communities,” said the governor during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
But neighbors, like Janet Perez, don’t think Violet is the best option for the port’s expansion. She lives off St. Bernard Highway near C Street, just feet away from where the proposed expansion would be.
She says if the expansion is built she would be angry, scared and frustrated.
“I joke whenever I talk to people I will be able to look out my kitchen window and say hey look that crane operator is on his cell phone you need to do something about this,” said Perez.
Perez has lived in the area for nearly four decades and isn’t interested in a change of scenery. Furthermore, she believes the expansion will not only impact pollution in the area, but also create heavy traffic.
“It doesn’t belong here,” said Perez. “You see the woodlands we have here, the wetlands we have, all of that is going to be gone, picture pavement, picture cement.”
Robby Showalter, the president of Save Our St. Bernard agrees.
“They’re going to put a burden on our roads. These roads are filled with schools and churches and they’re going to put our children at risk with all this traffic,” he said.
Plans to create roadways to help with the traffic have been presented, but Showalter isn’t impressed.
He’s been trying to stop the expansion for years.
“The decay is going to happen it’s like a poison it’s like a cancer and when it starts then it starts creeping out. We are going to fight to make sure it doesn’t happen,” said Showalter.
As of right now construction is slated for 2025 with the first berth opening 2028.