Port director: Cameron has bustling economy

Clair Hebert Marceaux, Cameron Parish Port Director, spoke at Friday’s Better Business Bureau “Business to Business Breakfast” on the parish’s bustling and diverse economy. A native of Cameron, Marceaux described the parish as an “abundant place to live” with both global business interests and an economy primed small businesses.

Hurricane’s Rita and Ike wiped out 98 percent of the parish’s housing however its Cheniere Energy and Sempra facilities mark a $35 billion total capital investment in the parish which aids in the community’s recovery through the thousands of jobs.

Cameron parish is also having a “global impact,” she said. In 2018, Cheniere Energy exported 348 vessels of natural gas to over 23 different countries. Such projects are “making our country energy independent,” she said

As the second largest parish in the state in terms of land area but the second smallest in population, Marceaux described the parish as a “mobile workforce” with 86 percent of the workers living outside of the parish and 68 percent driving out of the parish for work.

As the economic developer for the parish, she said her job is “to have as many jobs created for people who live in Cameron Parish as possible” a feat that is evident by the numerous project in the planning stages with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Cameron, however, is not only focused on LNG development, she said. It is the ninth largest cattle producer in the state, boasts booming menhaden fisheries, is home to four state and federally protected wildlife refuges and has a thriving alligator processing industry which exports to luxury designers like Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent.

Hurricane aftermath, however, has left the parish without many common business like coffee shops, pharmacies, restaurants and grocers. “The USDA calls us a food dessert,” she said.

She urged business and residential developers to consider Cameron for their next site selection.

Because 100 percent of the parish is Coastal Use Zone, interested developers will need plan accordingly for storm surge or the impacts of natural disaster though that shouldn’t deter those interested.

“As you can see, nationwide, it doesn’t really matter where you live, some form of natural disaster is going to cross your path,” she said.