The Port of New Orleans said Thursday that Charles Ponstein will be its new oversight board chairman, replacing outgoing chair William Langenstein whose term expires this month.
The board also elected Jack Jensen as Vice Chairman and Joseph Toomy as Secretary-Treasurer at its regular board meeting. The three officers serve in the same capacity on the oversight board of the Public Belt Railroad, which the port has owned since 2018.
Langenstein, a tax attorney at Chaffe McCall, had been chairman from March of this year.
Ponstein owns and manages commercial buildings in St. Bernard Parish, where he has held various public offices, including as a Council Member in the early 2990s and then Parish President from 1996 to 2004.
Port Nola is currently facing a backlash from St. Bernard Parish residents over a proposed $1.5 billion container terminal facility that is crucial to its plans for the future. A group representing more than 10,000 residents, as well as local cultural organizations, and some businesses, filed a lawsuit this week in an effort to stop Port Nola from moving ahead with its plans.
The port has argued that the container terminal, dubbed the Louisiana International Terminal, is needed to accommodate the ever-growing container ships, the newer ones of which are too tall to make it past the Crescent City Connection to the port’s terminal at Napoleon Avenue.