New Name, New Mission
Port Log Fall 2015
Officials at the Port of South Louisiana asked folks via social media for a new moniker to the revamped St. John Airport. The winner hit home in more ways than one.
It’s got a new runway, new terminal, new refueling options and a new weather-tracking system. So, officials at the Port of South Louisiana figured why not give the airport a new name, as well.
Dubbed the “Out With the Old, In With the New” contest, judges sifted through and examined hundreds of renaming suggestions after posting the rebranding effort on Facebook and other forms of social media. The winning entry – Southeast Louisiana Regional Airport – came from Reserve native Scott Terrio, a two-decade member of the U.S Army who is currently stationed in Belle Chasse.
Unfortunately, because the FAA deemed the name too similar to the name of a nearby airport, Port officials settled on “Port of South Louisiana Executive Regional Airport” as the final identifying title.
Still, the post-contest name change didn’t damper the winner’s glow.
Alongside his family, Terrio was honored at a ceremony in late June 2015 at which Port of South Louisiana Executive Director Paul Aucoin awarded the active military member a complementary tour of Oak Alley Plantation and a $450 gift certificate that can be used for dining and lodging there.
“I don’t think a script could have been better written,” Aucoin says. “The idea that this gentleman serving our country, a native of the area no less, came up with a great name, is something that reflects the spirit and objective of the whole contest.”
“Many of the names were serious contenders for the prize. However, some of the suggestions were comical such as Sugar Cane Landing, I Do Cajun Well, Andouille Landing, The Doo Drop Inn, The Pelican Pad, Gone Pecan Airport, Mosquito Wings and Gumdouille Airport.”
The new name is yet another nugget in the Port’s “Master Plan” involving the airport, an initiative designed to better serve the needs of individuals and corporations that do business within the district. Earlier this year, the Port unveiled its updated airport terminal, offering passengers and pilots plenty of lounge and conference areas to either plan the return flight home, hold a business meeting or simply relax while executives take care of their dealings in the Port District. Rental car service and refueling options are available along with general vending. Administrative offices of those directly involved in the day-to-day operations of the airport are also now located in the terminal.
“What the Port is doing is taking (the airport) to the next level,” airport manager Vincent Caire said earlier this year. “This airport needed to be beneficial and inviting to the business community, maybe companies that own their own aircraft, or companies that charter aircraft. You can fly on an airliner from New Orleans to Atlanta, or New Orleans to Houston, but you can’t fly on an airliner from Reserve to Natchez, Mississippi or Little Rock, Arkansas or anywhere a business might be located. So that’s the purpose and benefit of business aviation, and that had never really been available to the River Parishes.
“We’re opening the door to that.”
In previous phases of the Master Plan, the Port both modernized and restructured the airport to make it a viable business-travel destination. The old runway, which measured 4,000 feet , was expanded to 5,100 feet in 2013 enabling the airport to welcome larger personal jets – types often used by companies.. The airport also expanded its fueling capacity and installed an updated weather tracking system.
“It has been transformed into an economic engine, from a general aviation facility into a business aviation facility that supports a multitude of aircraft types, including jets,” Aucoin says. “It is now a welcoming center for contractors, professionals and entrepreneurs that use aviation as a business tool and are interested in development and projects – present and future- between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Since the airport in Reserve is located in the center of the River Parishes, the potential to support growth is endless.”