The Port of Gretna, county seat of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana, is actually included in the Port of New Orleans. Located almost two river miles downriver from New Orleans' port, the Port of Gretna lies on the Mississippi River's west bank with the Big Easy to the north and east. The Port of Gretna is part of the Mississippi River system. In 2010, the US Census reported a population of 17.7 thousand people living in the Port of Gretna.
The Port of Gretna got its name from Gretna Green, Scotland, where people could marry quickly. At one time, the Port of Gretna was busy with cargoes from plantations, dairies, and truck farms. Today, it is a residential and industrial suburb for New Orleans, with petroleum products and cottonseed oil as its major manufactured goods. The Port of Gretna is a part of the larger New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner metropolitan area.
Long before Europeans arrived in the area that would become the Port of Gretna, the people of the Chitimacha Nation built settlements around the bayous while the final traces of the Roman Empire faded away.
When the French arrived in the early 1700s, they found the Chitimacha settlement west of the Mississippi near the future Port of Gretna. While most of the people were killed or enslaved, some Chitimacha still lived in the area that is now the Chitimacha Reservation.
In 1836, the Port of Gretna was called Mechanicsham. The new town was a stopping point on the Mississippi River for several railroads (the Southern Pacific, Texas and Pacific, and Missouri Pacific) and a ferry to New Orleans.
Well-known space-maker Zatarain's was established in the Port of Gretna in 1889. By 1913, the Port of Gretna was incorporated to include the part of old McDonogh that was located within Jefferson Parish.
By 1940, the Port of Gretna was home to almost 11 thousand people. In 1946, John W. Stone Sr. bought two surplus government trucks and then welded oil tanks on them. He started a distributorship that moved gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.
With industrial development in the area around the Port of Gretna, Stone's company grew to include maritime activities. John W. Stone Oil Distributor became a Port of New Orleans leader for midstream fueling. Over time, Stone's company added new product lines and services. Today, the company maintains 34 barges and 16 vessels providing services through the Port of Gretna.
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