Located in southwest Louisiana, St. Landry Parish has always had a unique local economy from the oil-driven ways of its southern neighbors. Ideally located for distribution, due to it being a crossroad of I-49 and U.S. 190 near I-10, the parish has capitalized by attracting Wal-Mart to build Louisiana’s first distribution center in the Parish with the help of St. Landry Parish Economic Industrial Development District (SLEIDD).
Created in 1997, SLEIDD has been a leader in attracting new industries and assisting in the expansion of existing businesses. SLEIDD is composed of 17 board members, nine of which are appointed by the parish government, and eight of which are appointed by the municipal association, who serve with no compensation of any kind for staggered, three-year terms. A professional Certified Industrial Developer (CID) and a full-time Executive Secretary manage the organization.
SLEIDD is self-financed, using no tax dollars in its day-to-day operations. Its crown jewel has been the Walmart Distribution Center #6048, a 1,200,000-square-foot structure covering approximately 30 acres and employing more than 1,000 people. The Center has an $80 million annual impact on St. Landry Parish. Other high-employee national and international businesses having a significant economic impact in St. Landry Parish is the Evangeline Downs Race Track & Casino, (the largest racing field in the nation); Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasonings, Ventura/Lou Ana Foods; Savoie’s Sausage & Food Products, Inc.; AGC Flat Glass North America, Inc.; and Alon Refining Krotz Springs, Inc. (the only refinery in Acadiana).
SLEIDD has two industrial parks, one containing approximately 115 acres and another of approximately 422 acres. The smaller park is located on a completely developed four-lane road about a 1Ú2-mile east of I-49, while the larger park is located northwest of Opelousas along the Gradnigo Road. The larger facility has access to both railroad and highway transportation, located two miles from the Parish airport.
SLEIDD has also assisted in the expansion of existing businesses by offering tax-free bond financing. Enjoying excellent relations with both the Opelousas-St. Landry Chamber of Commerce and St. Landry Parish Government, SLEIDD is in a position of having the ability to expedite permits and any other requirements a business/industry prospect would need. By owning land free and clear of debt, SLEIDD is in a position of guaranteeing prospects excellent land sites at rock-bottom prices with no delays.
In January 2010, SLEIDD moved its office location and is now operating and developing St. Landry Parish’s first Incubator Center. SLEIDD intends to set up an incubator, which will foster, nourish and support small start-up businesses in the area. The Center will provide common area reception, copy and fax, as well as secretarial service. The Center will also provide for a nominal fee: legal consultation, legal correspondence, debt consolidation, contract review, executed contract review, document review and trial defense services through Ortego and Associates. The Center will also serve as a shelter for businesses displaced by hurricane evacuation. The 15,000-square-foot incubator warehouse can serve as storage for relief supplies during emergencies.
SLEIDD’s mission is to enhance the economic well being of the citizens of St. Landry Parish by providing comprehensive, high quality assistance to existing and potential small businesses.
With a multitude of different financial institutions serving Opelousas and the St. Landry Parish area, there is also a large array of financial products available to the community. Deposit products include free checking accounts with unlimited check writing, money market investment accounts, certificates of deposit and IRAs, as well as the more complex investment options. Whether in the market for a 30-year, fixed-rate home loan, or a working capital line of credit for a business, long-term and short-term loans are available.