NOPB Receives $1.5 Million to Construct Industrial Park in New Orleans East

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The Louisiana Department of Transportation announced last week that New Orleans Public Belt Railroad received $1.5 million to build the NOPB Transloading Industrial Park in New Orleans East. The investment is part of $3 million in grant funding for the Class II and III Rail Infrastructure Improvement Program passed by the Louisiana Legislature in 2019.

As a Class III railroad, NOPB operates on the nation’s fourth-largest rail gateway connecting with six Class I railroads. It operates 26 miles of mainline track and 75 additional miles of track in addition to three classification yards and four storage yards. The industrial park will be the first joint infrastructure project between NOPB and Port NOLA.

“I want to thank LA DOTD for this funding,” said NOPB General Manager Tomeka Watson Bryant. “It will help the NOPB continue to focus on growing and expanding its network, while providing our customers with excellent service and maintaining an efficient and fluid railroad. This important transportation infrastructure project will bring jobs to the region and strengthen the NOPB and Port NOLA gateway.”

The industrial park will be located on Terminal Road in New Orleans East and is expected to serve as a way for shippers to move their products between truck and rail. In addition to serving existing customers, it’s hoped that the project will encourage new operators to enter the New Orleans market, as well as allow existing customers to expand their business.

Engineering and design work on the park is already underway, with construction expected to begin in the summer of 2023.

The announcement comes as residents and city officials are pushing for more investment in New Orleans East. Since Hurricane Katrina, the area has struggled to attract larger stores, relying mostly on smaller mom-and-pop shops throughout the area. However, even those smaller shops struggle to get capital to open or expand businesses.

“There is a perception problem here,” said Liberty Bank founder Alden McDonald Sr. during an interview with’s Stephanie Riegel. McDonald notes that the way the local media reports on the area has had a huge impact on investment in the area.

“Real estate agents will not permit a company to come out here … They say it’s a Black community with a lot of crime. But when you look at the statistics, crime here is no worse than in other parts of the city. It’s the way the media reports things.”

In 2021 the New Orleans City Council passed a resolution telling local media outlets to stop using New Orleans East as a broad location when describing crime, advising they should instead use neighborhoods, streets, and subdivisions in the headline. Unfortunately, this resolution hasn’t been widely enforced, and most crime anywhere in New Orleans East continues to generate those headlines.

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