Port courting prospective Baker-Heritage tenants

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 21, 1998

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / October 21, 1998

LAPLACE – The future of the old Baker-Heritage building on West 10th Street, Reserve, looks promising, as officials from the Port of South Louisiana are having talks with a prospective warehousing tenant.

In recent weeks, the St. John the Baptist Parish administration agreed toextend the lease agreement and the option to buy the building with the port. That agreement was ratified at the Oct. 14 meeting of the SouthLouisiana Port Commission.

The port’s option to buy the building was extended to Nov. 30. The lease ofthe building to the port is extended to Jan. 31, 1999.In other business, Executive Port Director Gary LaGrange commented the recent Hurricane Georges episode gave port harbor services personnel a run-through on emergency procedures.

“It was an excellent drill,” LaGrange said.

He thanked Harbor Services director Mitch Smith, assistant director Gary Hickman, Capt. Brent Kliebert and deckhand Leo Sylve for their sacrifice instaying on the job during that weekend, securing the fireboats and preparing the facilities for the storm.

During the worst of the weather, the four took shelter in the finished- goods warehouse, LaGrange said.

Sylve later commented he worked from that Saturday evening to Monday evening, unable to leave earlier because of road closures.

Capt. Kerry Cunningham also said he tried to get more personnel out toGlobalplex, but engineer Alvin Morris that Saturday said he would come only if he could bring his family.

Permission was refused, so Morris did not come. By Sunday morning,however, Smith had gotten permission from LaGrange to allow families to come as well, so Smith and Hickman’s families sheltered at the port.

“Everything was done at the last minute,” Cunningham commented.

To avoid future confusion, a new set of emergency guidelines was introduced at the port commission meeting, including new provisions for call-out and on-call pay. “This should be policy,” Commissioner LouisJoseph said.

In other matters, work toward a resolution of the Bay Star Enterprises lawsuit is under way, LaGrange said, with an arbitration agreement reportedly under development.

Bay Star and its proprietor, Marvin Harvey, were accused of withholding financial information for Globalplex’s first-time audit.

In the future, as the facility is now under direct port management (rather than through a contractor such as Bay Star), the audit for Globalplex will appear on the port’s regular audit.

A special port commission meeting is planned Oct. 22 at 8 a.m. to approvethe annual audit.

LaGrange also said his staff are working on a number of prospective businesses to locate in the port, seven of them he considered “hot-button” prospects.

The commission also approved staying with its current insurance carrier, Alverez-Donnaway-Passons of Metairie, for an additional two years in a 5-1 vote. Joseph voted against it, saying he preferred a one-year contract,and Commissioner E.J. Martin was absent.Representatives of the Port are due to attend the Gulf Ports Association conference, Nov. 11-13, in Mexico.Due to that conference, the regularly-scheduled Nov. 11 port commissionmeeting was rescheduled to Nov. 18.The Port of South Louisiana is also due to host the Ports Association of Louisiana conference in mid-April 1999 at the LaPlace Holiday Inn.

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