– 12 ICONS OF NEW ORLEANS –
Selected by JPMorgan Chase
THE ICON: Gary Chouest
THE LEGACY: What does a city need to thrive? There’s no denying the impact of a booming economy, good jobs and a strong culture. But when Gary Chouest considered the question, he knew there was more: people need something to root for together.
Chouest serves as president and CEO of Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO) and the numerous companies it operates. Through this position, he’s played a foundational role in shaping the Gulf Coast’s deepwater boat industry into the booming business it is today. The company dates back to 1960 and boasts humble beginnings, but it’s since evolved into one of the sector’s most renowned names, designing, constructing and operating a massive fleet of its own cutting-edge vessels while developing technologies tailored to address the unique demands of the company’s clients.
His time spent guiding ECO isn’t the only way he’s made an impact on the New Orleans area, however.
Chouest has also provided invaluable support for the New Orleans Hornets – now the Pelicans – during a time of need. And while he’s always had a taste for basketball, there was more to the move than the simple satisfaction of a hobby – it was a strategic choice to help unite the city when it mattered most. “Any great city has sports teams to bring citizens together under one banner for a common cause,” Chouest explains.
When it comes to the future, Chouest has high expectations for the Crescent City – but at the same time, he hopes to see the city hold on to its one-of-a-kind character.
“I would like to see New Orleans keep its charm and community spirit as it grows, not turn into a city that just has hustle and bustle,” Chouest elaborates. “I would hate to see it become a city that’s all business with no red beans and rice!”
THE INSPIRATION: “We have been fortunate through the years. It is important for businesses to be a part of their community and contribute to it. Giving back allows us to choose where and how we make a difference.”