A packed room of Jefferson Parish leadership and business owners came to hear Gov. John Bel Edwards' plan for the West Bank.

The area has suffered a blow due to massive job loss.

Chris Breaux, President of the Harvey Canal Industrial Association said, "We have lost over 21,000 jobs lost. 7,000 indirect and 14,000 direct jobs from 10 different manufactures over here in the last several decades."

The hope right now is to restore the workforce in areas like Plaquemines Parish with a new bio-energy plant as well as more health-related positions to Jefferson Parish.

The problem is the state is cutting millions of dollars in education and healthcare and that could mean more people out of a job.

Edwards said, "The good news is the legislature came in the special session and addressed most of the problems. The bad new is there is too much of a problem to put a budget together so we can be responsible to the needs we heard here today."

House Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger sayid Jefferson Parish is a top priority.

"I think this is on the front burner," Leger added. "It is a skilled region with a strong workforce of people already prepared to go to work. There are some great sites we can bring business in and get them to work including Avondale and others."

There may be some new life here at the shipyard. Recently the Port of New Orleans expressed interest in using some of the land as a cargo terminal.

Right now that plan is still in the early stages. The governor says things will get worse before they get better.

"We are going to work together," Edwards said. "We have a very challenging and difficult set of circumstances to work through but we will get through that."

The governor said part of the plan for Jefferson parish is to fix roadways including the West Bank Expressway.
It's part of a $4.5 billion plan improve 16 major transportation corridors statewide.