NEW ORLEANS—Gov. John Bel Edwards appointed Jeanne E. Ferrer and Darryl D. Berger to the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans (Port NOLA) this month to succeed outgoing commissioners Charles H. Ponstein and William H. Langenstein, III respectively.
“I want to thank Commissioners Langenstein and Ponstein for their service,” said Brandy D. Christian, Port NOLA President and CEO and CEO of the New Orleans Public Belt Railroad (NOPB). “Under their leadership, Port NOLA and NOPB accomplished tremendous growth, weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, and also looked to the future to ensure that Louisiana remains competitive in international commerce.”
During their tenure, accomplishments included: the expansion of the $140 million expansion of the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal with the addition of 4 new 100-foot gauge cranes; a $42 million dollar expansion of Lineage Logistics to support the state’s $1.6 billion poultry export business; and, significant progress on the new $1.8 billion Louisiana International Terminal.
As incoming commissioners, Ferrer will serve as the St. Bernard Parish representative and Berger will serve as a representative of Orleans Parish on the seven-member regional board. Both Ferrer and Berger were sworn in during today’s monthly Board meeting and will serve a five-year term. With the Port’s alignment with the NOPB in 2018, Port Commissioners also serve on the NOPB Commission, making Ferrer and Berger NOPB’s newest commissioners with this appointment.
“The Port of New Orleans is pleased to welcome Capt. Jeanne Ferrer and Darryl Berger to the Board of Commissioners,” said Christian. “Jeanne Ferrer is an accomplished river pilot who brings invaluable experience and knowledge of our greatest natural resource, the Mississippi River. We’re also thrilled to have Darryl Berger back on the Port NOLA and NOPB boards. He brings a wealth of experience in real estate development, finance and entrepreneurial endeavors, not to mention his invaluable contributions to the Port NOLA gateway during his previous term as commissioner.”
Capt. Ferrer is a lifelong native of St. Bernard Parish. She graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy in 2006 as a Logistics and Intermodal Transportation major. She holds a United States Naval Reserve Officer Commission as well as a USCG Master unlimited license and a First Class Pilot License of unlimited tonnage on the Lower Mississippi River. After a decade of sea time aboard deep-sea cargo vessels and offshore supply vessels, Ferrer departed her Master position to serve as a Louisiana State Commissioned Crescent River Port Pilot. In addition to her pilot commission, she also served as a Commissioner for the St. Bernard Port Terminal and Harbor District overseeing the Port’s operations and economic development.
As a member of the Lower Mississippi River Navigation Technical Committee, Ferrer collaborates with numerous local and federal agencies to grow the Lower Mississippi River’s navigation resources. She recently worked to expand the Lower Mississippi River anchorages to further streamline the supply chain during the river’s 50-foot deepening project.
Ferrer gives back to the industry as a mentor for Open Waters Louisiana and Women Offshore. She takes pride in developing the maritime industry’s next generation.
“I’m honored to join the esteemed Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans and New Orleans Public Belt,” said Ferrer. “It will allow me to continue to focus on a top priority — galvanizing one of the nation’s greatest assets, the Mississippi River, as an integral and crucial part of the maritime logistics process.”
Berger, who will be serving the Board of Commissioners for the second time, first joined the Port NOLA and NOPB Boards in February 2017 when he was appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards. He served as Chair of the Board in 2022. He graduated from Newman School in 1965, received his B.A., Cum Laude, from Vanderbilt University in 1969, and his JD from Tulane Law School in 1972.
He is a respected leader within the Greater New Orleans business community and the hospitality industry. Berger is President of The Berger Company, Inc., which he founded in 1972. He has been at the forefront of real estate transactions of all types for nearly five decades and has been particularly active as a leading developer in the New Orleans Downtown and Riverfront. He has contributed significantly to the New Orleans’ economy, to the advancement of its institutions, and the built environment and historic preservation of the city.
A respected civic leader, Berger is a long-time member, and past Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Tulane University. In 2015, he was inducted into the Tulane Law School Hall of Fame. In 2019, he received the Dermott McGlinchy Lifetime Service Award, the highest alumni award bestowed by Tulane.
He served for nine years as Chair of the New Orleans Tourism and Marketing Corp. and is an emeritus member and former Vice Chairman of the Board of Trust of Vanderbilt University. He was also a long-term member of the Board and former Chair of Isidore Newman School. Berger also served as a member of the board of directors and executive committee of New Orleans and Company (formerly the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau). He has served as the inaugural Chair and founding member of the French Quarter Festival, a founding member and first Chair of the French Quarter Management District, and founding member and first Chair of the Vieux Carre Commission Foundation. Berger was also a founding member and past Chair of the board of the University Medical Center.
He and his wife, Louellen, are both native New Orleanians and lifelong residents. They have four children and 11 grandchildren.
“I look forward to continuing to provide strategic leadership on a number of transformative initiatives critical to the future growth for the New Orleans gateway,” said Berger. “That includes the successful development of the new $1.8 billion downriver Louisiana International Terminal — a vital infrastructure project essential to our state’s competitiveness in international commerce.”
The Board consists of seven commissioners. They are unsalaried and serve five-year staggered terms. The Governor of Louisiana appoints members from a list of three nominations submitted by multiple local civic, labor, education and maritime groups. The Board reflects the three-parish jurisdiction, with four members from Orleans Parish, two from Jefferson Parish and one from St. Bernard Parish. Ferrer represents St. Bernard Parish; Chairman Jack C. Jensen, Jr. and Vice-Chairman Joseph F. Toomy represent Jefferson Parish; Secretary-Treasurer Walter J. Leger, Jr., Darryl D. Berger, James J. Carter Jr., and Sharonda R. Williams represent Orleans Parish.