Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Boards elect Ponstein as Chairman

Incoming Chairman Charles H. Ponstein (left) presenting award recognition to outgoing Chairman William H. Langenstein III.

Posted on December 20, 2021

Ponstein joined the Board in March 2018 when he was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. He succeeds William H. Langenstein, III, whose term as Chairman expired this month. Langenstein will continue to serve on the Board as a commissioner until his five-year term ends in February 2023.

With the alignment of the Port of New Orleans and the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad in February 2018, and in accordance with La R.S. 33:4530 et seq., Port Commissioners also serve on the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad Commission. Ponstein will serve as Chairman, Toomy as Vice Chairman and Langenstein as Secretary-Treasurer.

“We are so appreciative of Commissioner Langenstein’s service as Chairman. At the top of the list, we received four new container gantry cranes last week, and he has taken proactive leadership to navigate us through the difficult times during the pandemic,” said Ponstein. “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as Chairman and am excited about the future of Port NOLA as we continue to work toward positive growth and developing critical infrastructure throughout our jurisdiction to keep Louisiana and the Port NOLA gateway competitive.”

Ponstein brings a legacy of leadership and public service in St. Bernard Parish that will benefit both the Port and Public Belt Railroad. He owns and manages several commercial and industrial buildings in the region. A lifelong resident of St. Bernard Parish, Ponstein served on the St. Bernard Parish Policy Jury from 1980-1988, as a Councilman-At-Large from 1992-1996 and Parish President from 1996-2004. He has served as a member of the St. Bernard Parish Chamber of Commerce, St. Bernard Economic Development Commission, Regional Planning Commission and United Way for the Greater New Orleans Area.

Ponstein received his Bachelor of Science in business administration from the LSUNO in 1971 after graduating from Holy Cross High School in 1967. He opened Ponstein’s Food Store, the first self-service gas station in the New Orleans metropolitan area, in May 1972.

He and his wife, Claudette, have three children, Jeffrey, Neil and Sadie, and five grandchildren, Payton, Noelle, Roman, Seth and Henry.

The Port NOLA and NOPB Commission Boards consist of seven members. They are unsalaried and serve five-year staggered terms. The Governor of Louisiana appoints members from a list of three nominations submitted by local civic, labor, education and maritime groups. The Board reflects the Port’s three-parish jurisdiction, with two members from Jefferson, four from Orleans and one from St. Bernard. Vice Chairman Jensen and Secretary-Treasurer Toomy represent Jefferson Parish; Commissioner Langenstein, Commissioner Walter J. Leger, Jr., Commissioner James J. Carter, Jr. and Commissioner Darryl D. Berger, represent Orleans Parish; and Chairman Ponstein represents St. Bernard Parish.

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