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September 1, 2011 -- CCA Louisiana leaders were proud to join St. Tammany Parish leaders in Slidell on Thursday at a ceremony to break ground on the construction of the new St. Tammany Fishing Pier.

The pier, expected to be completed in 2012, is being built from the remnants of the old I-10 twin spans. After Hurricane Katrina, State and Parish leaders worked to leave several spans of the damaged bridge in place in hopes that the structure could one day be turned into a recreational fishing pier. Thursday’s event comes after more than two years of planning that have turned that vision into reality.

After all phases of construction are completed, the facility will consist of nearly 5000 feet of fishing pier, a 700 foot timber access bridge, restrooms, concessions and a bait shop. Officials think it will be the longest fishing pier of it's kind in Louisiana.

Parish President Kevin Davis thanked all those involved in the process, including CCA. “CCA has been very helpful throughout this process,” said Davis. “They are an organization that stresses the importance of our coast and brings the positive message of recreational fishing to Louisiana.”

Davis then introduced CCA Habitat Chairman John Walther. Walther thanked Davis and other officials for their leadership and vision in making the pier a reality. He also talked about how this is an example of making a positive from a tough situation.

“Not only have you taken the remnants of a damaged bridge and turned it into a great fishing pier, but CCA and our partners have also taken parts of that same bridge and turned it into artificial reefs right here in Lake Pontchartrain,” said Walther. “In fact, our plan is to use additional materials from these bridges to build reefs at the end of this very pier...reefs that will provide habitat for marine life and will create real hot spots for pier anglers to enjoy.”

After his comments, Walther and Slidell CCA President John Falterman presented Davis with a plaque commemorating the event.

"This pier will make some of the State’s best fishing available to all anglers, regardless of whether or not they own a boat,” said Falterman. “That’s what we are all about.”