Ashley Rodrigue / Eyewitness News
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MADISONVILLE, La. - A Northshore-based company is announcing not only is it staying home, but it's expanding right where it started.

Oil and gas consulting firm, Pelican Energy, opened its doors two weeks before Katrina. Its success since is helping to grow the community around.

That growth surrounds the Goodbee Fire Station on Hwy. 1085. In fact, the area has become so populated recently, Fire District #13 hired its first-ever full-time firefighters in October.

Billy White is one of them.

'I feel that this is going to be blowing up and it's going to be a great place to be in,' he said.

The fire chief said the area's boom continues to be a pleasant surprise, especially with the financial benefit it brings to the department.

'Hiring more manpower, bringing more equipment to the area here, and it's a real good help to the area here,' said St. Tammany Fire District #13 Chief Lionel Johnson.

The surprises kept coming Monday as the governor came to town to announce Madisonville-based Pelican Energy's plans to expand its engineering center with a $5 million capital investment.

'Let's be honest. Pelican could have moved to Houston. They could have expanded in Texas,' said Gov. Bobby Jindal, 'Instead they're keeping these jobs here. They're keeping these jobs here because St. Tammany Parish and Louisiana are a great place to do business. They're keeping these jobs here because this is a story of a local boy that's done good.'

The announcement opens the door to almost 200 new jobs locally with $90,000 salaries. The investment is the latest in a big boom here on this side of St. Tammany Parish.

'The resilient workforce, the competitive environment, in addition to the great quality of life is why we've chosen to stay here in Louisiana and continue to grow in this great state,' Pelican CEO Kenny Bogle said.

All the while, the benefits continue to trickle into the community that Pelican calls home.

The new jobs will be mainly engineering and drafting positions. There are also 280 indirect jobs expected to go hand-in-hand with the expansion.

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