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Live from the Levee: New Orleans

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Old 10-28-2008, 05:37 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Rock Island, Illinois mile 480 UMR
Posts: 3,865
Default Live from the Levee: New Orleans

Just got back from a very sunny 2:30 trip on the NATCHEZ. Its been 4 months since I've been down here, and I've never seen so many changes along the river between visits. (Reporting in the order of the trip, which is going downriver favoring the east bank, coming up along the west bank, and turning below the bridges and returning on the east bank.) First of all, we have the previously posted Dumaine St. Beach. It is getting bigger and bigger, and now the sand is visible just about 75 feet downriver from the NATCHEZ' bow. The fathometer shows 11 feet at the dock, when it usually is at least 20. When we went through Algiers Bend, just hundreds of yards down and out from the sandbar, we were in 162 feet of water, amazing the contrast in depth so quickly. The building at Press Street which we've always pointed out because of the repairs made on it after Hurricane Betsy now has a Gustav souvenir: a ruptured roof. The wharves from Mandeville down, which had been abandoned and then ravaged by Katrina, are finally being taken down completely. That will improve the riverfront appearance even without anything replacing them yet. Then by Poland St., in addition to the one readyreserve ship, are two beautiful white vessels which have refrigerated cargo holds. The Industrial Lock is closed for repairs, and there is a cold storage facility back in the Canal which cannot be reached by river now. So on the wharf are refrigerated trucks delivering the refrigerated cargo: frozen chicken, by the tons, to these ships. Down at Jackson Barracks you can't see any work being done on the riverward quadrangle, but in the distance is rising some new construction, near St. Claude I believe. The Domino Sugar Refinery has a new office building next door to the old pillared building. The Rene Beauregard house at Chalmette Battlefield is no longer yellow, but a burnt orange. Across the river, the Aurora Norman house is boarded up, supposedly just through hurricane season. Above the bridges sits the graying MQ at Perry Street. Her bow is much higher than the stern and she's listing to port a bit. Across the river, her old Robin Street terminal is being taken down. The large warehouse area above the reception terminal, used for parking, is being torn down. The gazebo is still in front of the terminal. Blaine Kern will be using this area for a Mardi Gras World East Bank version. Just below the bridges was the large Corps hopper dredge WHEELER, which normally works the passes. But there is so much dredging needed in the harbor, it has been relocated temporarily. Coming in for the landing, we passed two lines tied to the wharf in front of the aquarium. The other ends are affixed to a yacht which sank during Gustav, and has apparently been ignored to this point. Sorry I can't post pix of these things, but I'm not digital. My film is at Walgreens now, but I have no way here to convert them to post, so this will show up next week after I return to the frozen northern tundra. A word about the NATCHEZ: she has a dinner trip tonight, the 12th consecutive night with a cruise. Not only has she had charters, but also groups big enough to warrant running public cruises. Wednesday and Thursday will be 2:30 only, then 3 trips on Friday/Saturday/Sunday. So business is s-l-o-w-l-y coming back.
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