Port Fourchon as we know it today is a far cry from its humble beginnings in 1960. It all started with a businessman, a dream, a great location, and… bananas.
When Louisiana State Senator A. O. Rappelet, now considered the founding father of Port Fourchon, successfully passed legislation in 1960 creating the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, few shared his vision of “Fourchon City.” Rappelet saw the potential in locating a port at the mouth of Bayou Lafourche, even though it was little more than a rough channel running through barely accessible mosquito-infested land. Fourchon meant access to the Gulf of Mexico, and that was reason enough to set up shop in the marsh and build a port from scratch in hopes of luring the lucrative banana trade from New Orleans.
Although it missed out on the bananas, Port Fourchon grew under the vision of Senator A.O. Rappelet and later under the guidance of the many men and women who have served on the GLPC board of commissioners. Rap was able to drum up support and tax money from the community to begin the process of building the “Port of the Future,” and his vision carried on through decades of building infrastructure and clearing channels, adding one shell road and one dock at a time.
Today, the growth and development of Port Fourchon far surpass the long-ago dream of bananas. Port Fourchon has gone beyond the banana dock to become the prime location – economically, environmentally, and geographically – for logistical support and services needed for domestic deepwater energy exploration, drilling, and production in the Gulf of Mexico. Port Fourchon is also home to mariners of all kinds, with commercial and recreational fishermen sharing port waterways with tug boats and offshore supply vessels in a reflection of the generations of Cajun shipbuilders and mariners who went before them.
Still, over sixty years later, Port Fourchon is what it is because of the people who built it:
- Our founding fathers, who saw the potential and began the journey,
- Our board members, who shaped and created the port’s laws and business practices to maximize the flow of trade and commerce while preserving our environment and heritage,
- The people of the 10th Ward of Lafourche Parish, who tax themselves to develop Port Fourchon and with it, our community’s economy,
- Our port and airport tenant companies, who came and built and grew with us, and
- Our port commission staff, who do what it takes every day to keep our port and airport running.
Our founding father, Senator A.O. Rappelet, gave us the vision. We at the Greater Lafourche Port Commission do our best to realize his dreams for Port Fourchon and facilitate the growth of new ones.