Port Board Welcomes New Commissioners and Selects New Executive Committee


Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed William H. Langenstein and Charles H. Ponstein to the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans. Langenstein, who succeeds Michael W. Kearney as one of four Orleans Parish representatives on the seven-member regional board, was sworn in on February 22 at the monthly board meeting. Ponstein was sworn in on March 22 and succeeds William T. Bergeron as the St. Bernard Parish representative.

With the Port’s acquisition of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Corporation effective Feb. 1, 2018, Port Commissioners also serve as Directors of the New Orleans Public Belt board. Both Langenstein and Ponstein are the Public Belt Railroad’s newest Directors with the Governor’s appointment.

Langenstein is one of Louisiana’s leading tax, corporate and transaction attorneys at Chaffe, McCall in New Orleans. He is an honorary consul to the Republic of Korea and a member of the New Orleans Estate Planning Council. He is also a member of the New Orleans Economic Development Advisory Committee and the Louisiana Children’s Museum Early Learning Village Steering Committee. He serves on several economic development and community boards, including Greater New Orleans, Inc., the World Trade Center (Transportation Committee) and the New Orleans Board of Trade. He also served as a New Orleans Public Belt Railroad commissioner from 2006-2010.

“It is a great honor and privilege to serve on the Board of Commissioners and I am excited to work with my fellow board members, Port leadership and staff to continue the work of creating economic opportunities for the metro area,” Langenstein said.

Ponstein is a landlord and owner of several commercial and industrial buildings. A life-long resident of St. Bernard Parish, Ponstein served as Councilman-At-Large from 1992-1996 and Parish President from 1996-2004. He has served as a member of the St. Bernard Parish Chamber of Commerce, St. Bernard Economic Development Commission, Regional Planning Commission and United Way of New Orleans.

“Although I have had the honor to serve in a number of political positions, I have never considered myself a politician. I view my career as one of a public servant and businessman who has a deep desire to serve my community,” said Ponstein. “This position provides me another opportunity to help St. Bernard and the entire region. I am honored to serve.”

Along with welcoming Commissioner Ponstein at the March monthly meeting, members of the Board selected a new Executive Committee with the election of Laney J. Chouest as Chairman, Arnold B. Baker as Vice Chairman and Tara C. Hernandez as Secretary-Treasurer.

Chouest joined the Board in June 2014 when he was appointed by former Gov. Bobby Jindal. He succeeds Robert R. Barkerding Jr. whose term as Chairman expired in March of 2018. Barkerding will continue to serve as a commissioner until the end of his term this year.

“It has been an honor to work under Mr. Robert Barkerding’s leadership and I thank him for laying a strong foundation,” said Chouest. “Since my appointment in 2014, I have had the privilege to be a part of the Port of New Orleans’ positive direction and growth. I look forward to working with the Board, staff and all stakeholders to make the New Orleans Gateway one of the best global transportation hubs.”

The Port of New Orleans Board consists of seven commissioners. They are unsalaried and serve five-year staggered terms. The Governor of Louisiana appoints members from a list of three nominations submitted by 19 local civic, labor, education and maritime groups. The Board reflects the Port’s three-parish jurisdiction, with four members from Orleans Parish, two from Jefferson Parish and one from St. Bernard Parish. Commissioner Ponstein represents St. Bernard Parish; Chairman Chouest and Past-Chairman Barkerding represent Jefferson Parish; and Vice Chairman Baker and Secretary-Treasurer Hernandez represent Orleans Parish along with Commissioners Langenstein and Darryl D. Berger.

Published: March 28, 2018