Motor sports park in Avondale about to go full speed ahead
When Laney Chouest announced his plans for a motor sports facility in 2009, he envisioned a $30 million set of racing tracks designed for high-performance cars and go-carts alike, built on about 200 acres of marshy woods south of Avondale. "When I started, I was thinking of a small facility," said the 58-year-old Galliano native, whose family is the namesake of the Edison Chouest Offshore empire in Lafourche Parish. "I just wasn't thinking as big."
Less than three years later, after his plan doubled in cost and more than tripled in scope, and after overcoming the technical challenges of designing a stable asphalt roadway on the soft West Jefferson mud, Chouest says he is ready to unveil his 750-acre, privately funded $60 million NOLA Motorsports Park.
This week he will give a private preview to movers and shakers. Then on June 10, he publicly ushers in what he sees as an events-oriented venue that will lure thousands of automotive and motorcycle race fans to the region while providing recreational and educational driving activities to local motor heads.
"My biggest challenge is explaining just what we are," Chouest said, describing the park's place in the world of motorsports where at one end are large venues aiming to sell seats to spectators, and at the other, exclusive country club-like resorts.
NOLA Motorsports Park appears to incorporate both ends. However it's defined, Jefferson Parish officials view it favorably.