Friday, January 29 2016
Photo Caption: Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin as emcee of the Washington Mardi Gras; RREDI Breakfast on Friday, January 22, 2016
Washington, D.C. -- As most Louisianians know, nothing stops Mardi Gras. In like fashion, nothing stopped the 2016 Washington Mardi Gras held at the Washington Hilton Hotel this past weekend. Washington Mardi Gras was only overshadowed, to some respect, by one thing: the record snow dumped on the eastern seaboard, including Washington D.C., by Winter Storm Jonas. Many of those attending the festivities found themselves stranded away from home, as transportation in and out of town was shut down for three days. Nevertheless, the event continued, virtually without a hitch.
The Washington Mardi Gras is a yearly event where local lawmakers, businessmen, industry executives, parish leaders, and economic developers connect with the state’s U.S. Congressional delegation and with one another to bring improvement or positive change to the state of Louisiana. It’s also a celebration and exhibition of Louisiana traditions. Almost 3,000 people were in attendance of the multi-day event, including Governor Jon Bel Edwards, Congressman (and Washington Mardi Gras 2016 Chairman) Cedric Richmond, Senator (and Washington Mardi Gras Captain) David Vitter, and the rest Louisiana Congressional delegation. Washington Mardi Gras 2016, themed Rollin’ on the River, kicked off with a networking social, Louisiana Alive, complete with Zydeco and brass bands, plus food from some of Louisiana’s best chefs.
The main event for the Port of South Louisiana was the River Parishes Economic Development Breakfast, which it co-hosted along with the parishes of St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, and St. James, its partners in the River Region Economic Development Initiative (RREDI). The talking point that echoed during the breakfast is the steadfast alliance the Louisiana Congressional delegation has in working with each other for the good of the region; to keep things rolling on the river.
During the breakfast, emceed by Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin, speakers included Congressman Steve Scalise’s aide, Geoffrey Green, Congressman John Fleming, Congressman Garret Graves, Congressman Charles Boustany, Senator Bill Cassidy, Congressman Cedric Richmond’s Chief of Staff, Virgil Miller, Congressman Ralph Abraham, St. John the Baptist Parish Natalie Robottom, St. James Parish President Timothy Roussel, and St. Charles Parish President Larry Cochran. Also in attendance was Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser, St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis, Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Don Pierson, Port of South Louisiana Commission President D. Paul Robichaux and Port of South Louisiana Commissioner Joey Murray.
Aucoin attended other networking events, like the Committee of 100 Congressional Luncheon and Committee of 100 Coastal Restoration/Replenishment Program featuring Congressman Garret Graves. In each and every event he attended, the theme was loud and clear. "All of the slated speakers spoke about the importance of Ports,” said Aucoin. “I’m so pleased to see that our message is finally driving home; that the health of our maritime infrastructure is directly correlated to economic growth.”
Aucoin also met with Howard Hill of the Department of Transportation to discuss how the Port of South Louisiana can improve its TIGER grant application process (awarded to projects that will provide significant improvements in transportation infrastructure).