(NEW ORLEANS) — Gov. Bobby Jindal appointed south Louisiana businessman and entrepreneur Laney J. Chouest to the Board of the Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. Chouest, who was sworn in during today’s Board meeting, will serve a five-year term, succeeding Joseph F. Toomy, one of two Jefferson Parish representatives on the regional Board that governs port operations in Orleans, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.
A native of Galliano, La. and resident of New Orleans, Chouest is the owner and developer of NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, La. — one of the largest and most modern motorsports destinations in the United States. A former family practitioner, Chouest joined his family business — Edison Chouest Offshore — in 1983 and served in all aspects of company operations including design, construction and operation of various offshore support vessels. During his tenure at the company, Edison Chouest Offshore grew into a major worldwide force within the deep-water oil and gas exploration and production industry. Chouest retired from the company in 2006 to focus on the motorsports business.
“We are thrilled to welcome Laney Chouest to the board,” said Gary LaGrange, port president and CEO. “Mr. Chouest brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the global marine business to the port and I look forward to working closely with him.”
“I am honored to be nominated by my fellow business leaders of Jefferson Parish,” Chouest said. “And I am looking forward to serving on the Dock Board for the next five years.”
A graduate of South Lafourche High School, Chouest earned his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in 1974 and earned a medical degree from LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, La., in 1978.
Chouest served in many industry roles over the course of his career, as well. He served as chairman of the Offshore Marine Service Association and on the boards of directors for the National Ocean Industry Association and the U.S. Coast Guard’s National Offshore Safety Advisory Committee. Chouest previously served on the boards of two public companies, the Kaman Corporation and Deeptech International.
He is currently active in promoting the development of the Churchill Farms area of Jefferson Parish and developing New Orleans into a major motorsports destination.
Along with welcoming a new commissioner to the board, members elected Greg R. Rusovich chairman of the board and Scott H. Cooper vice chairman. Rusovich takes the helm from Daniel F. Packer, who remains on the board. Commissioner William T. Bergeron was also elected secretary-treasurer. Other members include Michael W. Kearney and Robert “Rusty” Barkerding Jr.
The seven-member board is unsalaried and members serve five-year staggered terms. The governor of Louisiana appoints board members from a list of three nominees submitted by 19 local business, civic, labor, education and maritime groups. The board reflects the three-parish (county) jurisdiction of the board. Four members are selected from Orleans Parish, two from Jefferson Parish and one from St. Bernard Parish.