Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Iberville Parish, the City of St. Gabriel is a powerhouse of industrial activity. With numerous chemical plants and other facilities, St. Gabriel is the starting point for a wide variety of products that are critical to the everyday lives of people around the globe.
“These products purify our drinking water, protect our food crops and help them generate larger yields, refrigerate our food, air condition our homes and cars, import life-improving and lifesaving pharmaceuticals, all types of packaging that can extend the shelf life of products, and plastics that make automobiles both safer and more fuel efficient,” says Mayor Lionel Johnson Jr. “All this is done in our city, and it improves the quality of life for people here and all over the world.”
Johnson is proud of the synergistic relationship that exists between the city and local industry. Much of the city’s tax revenue comes from industry, providing dollars for streets, sidewalks, parks, drainage, sewage, public safety, activities for youth and resources for the elderly.
Many St. Gabriel residents and those from the surrounding area are employed at local plants and with contractors working at those facilities.
“These are generally high-paying jobs with excellent benefits,” Johnson says. “In addition, the multiplier impact of each plant job is significant. Local companies rely on business from the plants and their employees, and these local businesses hire more workers to meet
The mayor says industrial facilities in his city have more than $1 billion in economic impact to Iberville, Ascension and East Baton Rouge parishes.
The benefits of industry in St. Gabriel extend beyond economics, however, Johnson says. Plants frequently offer monetary and volunteer support for community initiatives, including educational programs, recreation, elderly services and scholarships. This support is funneled through East Iberville INC (Industry Neighbor Companies).
So what makes St. Gabriel an ideal place for these companies to do business?
“Our city sits strategically on the Mississippi River, the greatest economic transportation artery in the western hemisphere,” Johnson says. “It gives industry access to markets up and down the Mississippi River corridor and to markets all over the world.”
The city also offers a supportive environment for industry.
“My administration has supported industry growth and expansion while holding industry accountable for safe and environmentally responsible operations,” Johnson says.
Investment continues to pour into St. Gabriel. Koura is planning a multibillion-dollar expansion of its fluorochemical complex, and the Nutrien nitrogen and phosphate facility also has a significant expansion in the works. Syngenta, which manufactures active ingredients used for crop protection, is planning a modernization project. A hydrogen liquefaction facility is being built by Plug Power at Olin.
Johnson believes all of these developments are good for residents.
“We take the approach that investment and modernization of industry is important to our community,” he says. “When industry invests, expands and modernizes, it means that the facilities are installing new and more modern technology, and they become safer and cleaner.”