Avondale shipyard has been closed since 2013, a sprawling, grim reminder of the economic doldrums that have since enveloped much of south Louisiana.

The result of low oil prices and a changing Gulf oilfield, our ongoing economic difficulties might still be present. But at least there are some positive signs.

One is at Avondale, where a company has purchased the shipyard and plans to employ 2,000 workers.

That is good news for the entire region that could be affected, including Houma-Thibodaux.

Anything that gives local workers a chance to put their skills and ingenuity to use is a welcome development.

The new venture, Avondale Marine, will work in the transportation industry, helping in the shipment of cargo.

This doesn’t mean anything for the local oilfield, but it is a step in the right direction, something that should deliver jobs to a region that has lost far too many of them in recent years.

And good news has been rare in south Louisiana recently, so this is something that feels good to hear.

Being tied in to the shipment of cargo, the new facility should be able to capitalize on our area’s proximity to both the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as major road and rail routes.

It is an important reminder that while oil and gas have been our economic engine for decades, there are other industries that can relocate here and thrive. Our resources and infrastructure are valuable tools that can make south Louisiana attractive to any number of companies and industries.

Without denigrating the oilfield or forgetting is fundamental importance to our economy, we have all been reminded since the oil downturn began of how dependent we are on one industry. And it is an industry that is given to cyclical spells of drought and plenty.

Our workers want to do what they do best – work in a vibrant oilfield economy. And there are signs that the worst has passed on that front as well. But it is always worth reminding ourselves that even with a healthy oil industry, other economic activity is welcome and can benefit our region and our state.

The new Avondale business won’t be the answer to all of our hopes, but it is a welcome development in what has been a bleak economic picture. May it be a sign of things to come.

 

Editorials represent the opinion of the newspaper, not of any individual.