Serving as president of the St. Bernard Port, Harbor & Terminal District’s Board of Commissioners is something the Rev. Henry Ballard, Jr. doesn’t take lightly.
“I did 20 years in the military and since I retired I’ve worked actively in the community, always looking for opportunities to serve,” Rev. Ballard said. “When the opportunity to be the Port’s board president presented itself, I looked at it long and hard. I didn’t want to be a part of a board just to say I was part of a board. What drew me to it was seeing the economic engine that the Port drives, and having the ability to bring awareness to how that translates into jobs, as well as people’s livelihood and their ability to take care of their families.”
St. Bernard Port, along with its tenants and users of its facilities, produce an estimated $325 million in direct and indirect spending annually for the local economy, and create more than 2,000 full-time jobs.
Dr. Robert Scafidel, the Port’s Executive Director, said each year the Port handles millions of tons of bulk, break-bulk and general cargo transfers, to and from thousands of barges and hundreds of cargo ships from around the world. The Port’s Board of Commissioners serve a one-year term, and meet on the second Tuesday of every month to vote on Port contracts, agreements and policies, he said.
“Our Port has a huge impact on our parish’s economy,” Scafidel said. “It’s important to have dedicated individuals who are capable to serve so the Port continues to be a success.”
Scafidel and other Port administrators handle the day-to-day operations, but Rev. Ballard said, “the board primarily deals with policies that affect the overall operations of the Port, including the Marine Terminal operators, as well as Port employees. We also ensure the tenants of the Port are upholding their contracts and we are serving them in the same capacity.”
The St. Bernard Port’s maritime facilities include Arabi, Chalmette and Violet Terminals/Industrial Parks, as well as Chalmette and Meraux Mid-Stream Mooring Facilities.
Rev. Ballard, a lifelong St. Bernard Parish resident who serves as pastor of Christian Fellowship Church in Violet, took over as board president in January, following Cheri Chestnut Quigley, who served as the 2016 board president.
Quigley, a Chalmette native, said she was impressed with the Port during her presidency.
“It’s really been a great experience for me,” said Quigley, an attorney for Progressive Insurance. “I think everybody works for the same common goal, which is for the Port to continue to grow and increase the economy of our parish.”
Other members of St. Bernard Port’s 2017 Board of Commissioners are: Harold J. Anderson and Elton J. LeBlanc.