Port of New Orleans damaged but workable

The Port of New Orleans said Sunday, Sept. 4 that the Mississippi River is now open in one direction during daylight hours to ships with a draft of 35 feet. However, for the next several weeks, the port will be dedicated almost entirely to military relief vessels. Commercial traffic will return once power and labor are back.

“The Port of New Orleans’ riverfront terminals survived Hurricane Katrina in fairly decent shape,” said Gary LaGrange, president and CEO of the port. “Although they are damaged, they are still workable once electrical power and manpower is available.”

Numerous repairs will be needed to bring the port back to full capacity, LaGrange said. For example, cargo containers have been tossed around at the Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal and the Nashville Avenue Complex and remain strewn about. Two gantry cranes at those facilities also are expected to have damage to electronic components.

The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet, an alternate route for the Mississippi River, is open to 9 feet of draft and could be opened to 27 feet of draft once debris is removed from the channel.