BARTON expands its St. John efforts

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, May 31, 2017

RESERVE — When Hurricane Katrina wiped out five warehouses of ground garnet being stored in New Orleans East, BARTON International Chairman Chuck Bracken wasn’t sure how his company would recover.

A direct descendant of company founder Henry Hudson Barton, Bracken started looking for a new place to store the mounds of garnet mined from India and Australia and shipped to the U.S.

After scouring the area, Bracken soon found a new home in Reserve, on the Globalplex Intermodal Terminal site.

“We had a longtime relationship with Associated Terminals,” Bracken said. “They provided us with a solution to get back on our feet. We never missed a shipment to any one of our customers.”

The company recently celebrated a bigger home.

Bracken was on hand last week to assist Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin cutting the ribbon on the newly expanded Building 19, where BARTON is now storing its mounds of ground garnet as it awaits processing and distribution.

“This facility is absolutely amazing,” Bracken said.

The $9.6 million expansion, which created 22 new jobs in addition to the 19 already there, was funded in part by the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development’s Port Construction and Development Priority Program.

The 77,520 square-foot annex is designed to store and process bulk commodities, such as BARTON’s mounds of ground up garnet.

Its six bays have a storage capacity of 106,000 cubic feet each, for a total storage capacity of approximately 45,000 tons.

It has a load capacity of 2,160 pounds per square feet and a metal frame designed to resist hurricane-force winds of up to up to 136 mph.

The massive annex was designed by URS Corporation to increase the storage capacity specifically for BARTON Industries, tripling its previous storage capability.

Bracken was joined May 23 by St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Louisiana DOTD Phil Jones, Associated Terminals President Todd Fuller, a large contingent of representatives from BARTON International and a slew of local dignitaries.

“You don’t often call a warehouse beautiful, but this warehouse is beautiful,” Aucoin said.

A jeweler by trade, Henry Hudson Barton founded Barton mines in 1878, opening the original mine near the summit of Gore Mountain in northern New York.

It operated for 104 years before moving to Ruby Mountain nearby.

Through the early 20th century, garnet was used primarily as an abrasive in sandpaper.

In the housing boom following World War II, garnet was the main ingredient in the making of picture windows, which required grinding.

Later it was used to make glass television screens, which also had to be ground into shape.

When flat screens became the norm and business declined, BARTON adapted to become a leading component in the business of abrasive waterjet cutting, blasting and removal.