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Seaports Update

The Mississippi River is still open, but only in one direction at a time.

"The Port of New Orleans' riverfront terminals survived Hurricane Katrina in fairly decent shape," said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. "Although they are damaged, they are still workable once electrical power and manpower is available."

"In the next several weeks, almost all of the Port of New Orleans will be dedicated to military relief vessels. In the next week to two weeks, commercial vessels will return once electrical power and manpower arrive," LaGrange said. Many repairs are still needed, however.

The Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO), is open to 9 feet of draft. Once debris is removed from the channel, it could be opened to 27 feet of draft. Terminals along the MRGO and the Industrial Canal have no electrical power and are badly flooded.

Emergency generators are being used to run part of the Port Headquarters building systems.

"We are thankful to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and his staff for helping to get us what we need to get our port up and running as soon as possible," said LaGrange.

Fires are a big problem that the Port is facing. Mandeville, Piety and perhaps Esplanade Street Wharves have been damaged by fire. The fire started at a produce warehouse after propane tanks exploded. "Propane exploding in the air like bombs touched off fires as far as a half-mile away," LaGrange said.

"We must find ways to get out the word that we have port
infrastructure in place, but we will become bigger, better and more competitive than ever," LaGrange said.

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