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LaGrange Describes State of Port of New Orleans

Starting on August 29, Gary LaGrange, executive director of the Port of New Orleans, conducted a survey of damage inflicted by Hurricane Katrina on the Port.

On August 31, he issued a detailed description of the state of each of 18 wharves. Below is his summary:

"Our wharves appear to be, for the most part, intact and able to conduct cargo operations. The transit sheds incurred damage, but could be used while we make repairs. Issues concerning cargo operations would be procuring labor to work the vessels (a lot of the labor most likely incurred heavy damage to their homes or evacuated out of town), distribution of cargoes due to highway connectors being damaged (I-10 twin spans had sections lost and connectors in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes are under water) and initially used for recovery operations, and the ability of the river to receive vessels specifically at the southwest pass and the MRGO. Presently river traffic is limited to tugs, barges, off shore vessels relocating and recovery boats. We must wait now for sounding to be performed by the pilot's organizations and the Army Corp of Engineers. In addition, we need to analyze the Cruise Operation. Right now the Louis Armstrong Airport is underwater and hotels supporting the cruise industry need to repair their facilities. We still have autos for passengers parked which incurred heavy damage. We are investigating creating a satellite office within a distance of 50 miles. Discussions have taken place with AAPA (Kurt Nagle- President) and our old friend John Jamien with MARAD, who now works for Secretary of Transportation Norman Minetta for assistance for logistical supply, operations, and medical assistance. Our next step will be to refine our inspections of our facilities and begin the process to repair them. Also we need to meet with the USCG, Army Corp of Engineers, and Pilots Organizations to reopen the river. River traffic, for now, is limited to tugs, barges, offshore vessels, and recovery boats. Follow up with state and federal financial help is beginning and will be addressed shortly as our staff is able to report back. Recommendations from MARAD will be delivered to Secretary Minetta and brought up tomorrow at a cabinet meeting with the president tomorrow. More to follow."

Gary La Grange

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