LegisGator hones in on demand for new I-10 Calcasieu River Bridge

Updated: Aug. 23, 2019 at 8:12 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -The demand for a new Interstate 10 Calcasieu River Bridge was the focus of this year’s LegisGator awards event in Lake Charles. Those pushing for a new bridge are demanding it happen, at least with their signage.

LegisGator is the premier event in Louisiana in which business and the chamber recognize the accomplishments of state and federal elected officials.

And this year at LegisGator it was clear-- a new I-10 bridge is the priority. A huge sign, center stage, demands, “build our bridge.”

State and federal elected officials spoke of their commitment including Congressman Ralph Abraham who is running for governor. He says he was under the bridge recently for a news conference.

“You look up and the infrastructure is in very much disrepair. Everyone that goes under it, drives over it, we know it’s got to be replaced. When I am your governor, I will get this bridge done,” he said.

Yet Governor John Bel Edwards, who’s running for re-election, was well-prepared to announce his efforts, including a promise to include $85-million dollars in funding in the 2020 capital outlay bill.

"We know that interstate projects are usually 90-10 splits. Ninety from the federal government, ten local or state match. So dotd and the division of administration are taking steps at my direction to introduce the 2020 capital outlay bill with 85 million dollars in funding for this project to ensure that Louisiana’s prepared and ready to move."

Lawmakers Mark Abraham and Ronnie Johns were recognized for their legislative efforts toward a new bridge. We know replacement of I-10 bridge is incredibly important to southwest Louisiana. It’s not just about is it going to happen now? It’s a matter of when is it going to happen. And we’re going to build a new bridge at some point," said Johns.

About a thousand members of Chamber SWLA, elected officials and visitors attended this 14th LegisGator luncheon. at L’Auberge casino.

To see who else received awards this year see hightlights from the Chamber SWLA news release after this article.

This year’s lunch was in memory of governor Kathleen Blanco, recognized for her integrity, dedication and love for Louisiana.

Copyright 2019 KPLC. All rights reserved.

News Release from Chamber SWLA:


at 14th Annual LegisGator Luncheon

Southwest Louisiana – Representative Tanner Magee (Republican, District 53) took top honors as the 2019 LegisGator of the Year at the Chamber SWLA’s 14th Annual LegisGator Awards Luncheon at L’Auberge Casino Resort in Lake Charles. Over nine hundred Chamber SWLA members, colleagues, elected officials and visitors were in attendance to recognize Magee and dozens of state legislators honored for their commitment to the Chamber’s pro-business legislative agenda during the 2019 Legislative Session.

Said about Magee at the event: “This year’s LegisGator of the Year Award winner has quickly made a name for himself as one of the youngest first-term members of the House of Representatives. His willingness to compromise and build consensus quickly positioned his rise to a leadership role in the House. This past legislative session, this member took on some heavy legislative lifting when he ushered through the Capitol a statewide framework for ridesharing companies to operate in all 64 parishes.

This member showed his true ability to put aside party politics for the betterment of the entire state when he successfully passed legislation with the help of Senators Rick Ward and Page Cortez that significantly invested in infrastructure projects in every part of the state, all without raising taxes. As an avid cyclist, he has proven to have the endurance to stay the course for the important work of our state and for the people he serves in Terrebonne Parish.”

“The purpose of our LegisGator Luncheon is to thank the members of the state legislature and our congressional delegation for supporting the pro-business agenda of the Chamber Southwest Louisiana and our allies. We appreciate their willingness to serve,” said George Swift, President/CEO of the Chamber SWLA.

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards and Lt. Governor Billy Nunngesser gave remarks at the event which also included Federal level updates from from Senator Bill Cassidy, MD, Senator John Kennedy, Congressman Ralph Abraham, MD, DVM, Congressman Garrett Graves, Congressman Clay Higgins, and Congressman Mike Johnson.

Other major award winners:

  • Representative Larry Bagley won the Chair's Award for being a “champion of the business community… (and) the “go-to” legislator on economic development. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he was able to protect and enhance funding for the Regional Economic Development Organizations across the state. He has always looked at the “big-picture”, and is one who believes in working across geographic and party lines for the common good.
  • Representative Mark Abraham & Senator Ronnie Johns won the Government Affairs Award for their legislative work in support of a new I-10 bridge.
  • State Representative Ryan Bourriaque won the Fusion Five Award, given to an up-and-coming legislator who displays leadership and affects positive change.

This year, the Chamber SWLA selected forty-seven (47) Leadership Awards to members of the House and Senate who have reached their term limit.

Rep. Neil Abramson

Rep. Andy Anders

Rep. James Armes

Rep. Taylor Barras

Rep. Robert Billot

Rep. Thomas Carmody

Rep. Steve Carter

Rep. Charles Chaney

Rep. Patrick Connick

Rep. Franklin Foil

Rep. A.B. Franklin

Rep. Jerry Gisclair

Rep. Johnny Guinn

Rep. Cameron Henry

Rep. Dorothy Sue Hill

Rep. Frank Hoffman

Rep. Frankie Howard

Rep. Robert Johnson

Rep. Sam Jones

Rep. Nancy Landry

Rep. Bernard LeBas

Rep. Walt Leger

Rep. Jim Morris

Rep. Barbara Norton

Rep. Kevin Pearson

Rep. Rogers Pope

Rep. Steve Pugh

Rep. Jerome Richard

Rep. Scott Simon

Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith

Rep. Kirk Talbot

Sen. John Alario

Sen. Conrad Appel

Sen. Norby Chabert

Sen. Dan Claitor

Sen. Yvonne Colomb

Sen. Jack Donahue

Sen. Dale Erdey

Sen. Eric LaFleur

Sen. Gerald Long

Sen. Danny Martiny

Sen. Jean-Paul Morrell

Sen. Dan “Blade” Morris

Sen. Neil Riser

Sen. John Smith

Sen. Francis Thompson

Senator Mike Walsworth

This year’s event was sponsored by Title Sponsor L'Auberge Casino Resort, Presenting Sponsor CITGO.

Golden Gator Sponsors were Sasol, Acadian Ambulance Service, Cameron LNG, Cheniere, CSE Federal Credit Union, Hunt, Guillot & Associates, IberiaBank, Indorama, Lake Charles LNG, Port of Lake Charles, Ryan, Tellurian, and Stream Wetland Services.

Bayou Backers were Capitol Partners, Chennault International Airport, Entergy; First Federal Bank; J Walker & Company; JDBank; Lake Charles Coca Cola; Laccasine Rail Terminal, Shell, John H. Carter, Lyft, Phillips 66; Rouses Markets, Stockwell Sievert Law Firm; The Picard Group; Kleckley Consulting, West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital, and Westlake Chemical.

Amanda White

Vice President, Communications & Special Projects The SWLA Economic Development Alliance

(337) 433-3632 Phone (337) 436-3727 Fax www.allianceswla.org