La Porte's Sylvan Beach became a nationally known tourist destination attracting some of the nation's most well-known entertainers. As a result of changing economics in the Houston area and beach erosion the tourist business declined while industrial development in the area grew. During World War II and afterward La Porte's economy rapidly re-oriented toward petroleum/petrochemicals and shipping, which developed as the dominant industries in the Pasadena-Baytown area. La Porte is a city in Harris County, Texas within the Bay Area of the Houston SugarLand Baytown metropolitan area. As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the city population was 31,880. La Porte is the fourth largest incorporated city in Harris County. When La Porte celebrated its centennial in 1992, it was the home of Barbours Cut Terminal, operated by the Port of Houston Authority since 1977. 15 years later, The Port of Houston's newest addition, Bayport, was established just South of La Porte. Thus the area around La Porte has served an increasingly important role in international trade since the 1970s.