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  1. @Canuker, as promised, here is some more information regarding sights you will see as you travel upriver from the Gulf, specifically on the west bank (port side.) But first, my husband thought you might also be interested in knowing a few more facts about the Mississippi River and the delta through which you will be passing—the third largest “birdfoot delta” in the world. As you probably already know, the Mississippi is the largest river in the US and the 4th largest in the world. It moves 2.3 million cubic feet of water per second to the Gulf! All of the land you can see from the time you enter the river to the big bend at English Turn has all been deposited here in the last 1000 years. The river carries 400 million cubic yards of mud, gravel, sand and clay to the Gulf per year. A drop of rain falling into the river at its headwaters of Lake Itasca, MN takes 90 days to reach the Gulf. Traveling upriver from the Gulf to New Orleans—port (west bank) side, by Rod and Leslie Lincoln, February 2019 I already wrote about the bar pilot who will board the cruise ship while it’s still in the Gulf, and about the jetties that you will see at the entrance to Southwest pass. The jetties were built to increase the velocity of the water moving through the lower Mississippi and to minimize mud lump activity and the formation of sand bars. Many people are fascinated to learn that mud lumps are a phenomena found only on the lower Mississippi. Mud lumps are clay extrusions from the bottom of the river and were first recognized by DeVaca, a Spanish explorer in 1528. There are four types: gas volcanos, water geysers, fold overs, and faults. They can form an island 10-12 feet above the surface of the water in just a few hours. They have been known to bring to the surface the ruins of sunken ships and barges, and the force could propel pilings up to 30 feet into the air. The jetties removed the large amount of sediment deposited on the river bottom, which reduced mud lump activity here, but they sometimes still occur in South Pass. I also mentioned the two lighthouses that can be seen on the west bank roughly opposite the ruins of Burrwood. Here’s a little more information about them: the brick lighthouse was built in 1838. It was originally painted white with wide black vertical lines. Lighthouses were painted uniquely so that vessels passing during the day could differentiate them and know their location in the Gulf. In addition to the main light on top, there are also 3 windows with small lights. At night this would give the appearance of a triangle of light coming from the lighthouse, if the ship was on the proper course. If the triangle of lights wasn’t visible, navigation adjustments had to be made. This particular lighthouse has not functioned since 1872. The metal lighthouse, known as a “Texas tower” lighthouse, was built in Ohio and floated down the river to this location in 1871. It was operational until 1921. These two lighthouses were on either side of the ship channel until 1921, when the Corps of Engineers deepened the main channel and moved it 26 degrees south to its present position. The river between the lighthouses and Head of Passes was the scene of a Civil War naval skirmish using fire barges, called the battle of Southwest Pass, or the Battle of the Head of Passes. You can google it if you’re interested in civil war history. Around mile 11 AHP (above Head of Passes) is the town of Venice, at which the highway known as the Great River Road begins. Formerly known as “the Jump,” it was the sight of a portage where fishermen and hunters could pull their boats over the levee from the river into the swamps and marshes. In the 1850s, the high river eroded the portage and created a small pass which quickly grew into the large pass that you see today. From Venice, much of the oil and gas service industry operates to offshore rigs. Opposite Venice, on the east bank, is Baptiste Collette Bayou which was the site where Admiral Farragut’s Union fleet prepared to attack Fort Jackson and Fort St. Philip during the Civil War. They dug mud from here to cover their ships so that they would better blend in with the Mississippi background. When the mud dried, it created a unique gray color, and worked so well that it was later adapted by the US Navy and called “battleship gray.” About mile 20 is Fort Jackson, which was built in 1822 by native-born General P.G.T. Beauregard and was in continual use until 1922. Just as you arrive at the brick fort, you will notice a large white monument with a tall cross. It is dedicated to LaSalle who claimed all lands drained by the Mississippi River for France in 1686, and named it “Louisiana.” Fort Jackson is shaped like a star. After the Civil War it was a training site for artillery units and for the Buffalo Soldiers. Prior to the Spanish-American War, the fort was retrofitted with concrete batteries, one of which you will see on the upriver side of the brick fort. Directly across the river is a small pass that meets the river near Fort St. Philip. In this area, in 1699, the first Mardi Gras was celebrated in North America by explorers Iberville and Bienville. Of course it wasn’t a parade—it was a mass celebrated on Mardi Gras day, and the area was named “Mardi Gras Bayou.” Later on, the bend in the river here was named “Plaquemines Bend”—plaquemines was the Indian word for the wild persimmons which grew in abundance here and were a welcome sight to sailors suffering from scurvy. At about mile 25 you can see the Ostrica locks on the east bank, as described in the previous post. On the west bank is the town of Buras. Prior to Hurricane Katrina it was the largest town in the parish. Buras, home of the Orange Festival, is the center of the Louisiana citrus industry. You will be passing many orchards filled with a variety of citrus such as oranges, grapefruit and satsumas. At mile marker 29 is the town of Empire, with its locks built for the same reason as the Ostrica locks. Tolls were collected from the fishermen who used it to travel between the marshes. In addition to the oyster farming, it’s also the center of the menhaden fishing industry. You may be able to see a fleet of blue ships behind Empire; if not, the fleet is out in the Gulf where it uses airplanes to locate schools of menhaden that the ships catch and store on board. They do not return until the ships are full, bringing in tens of thousands of fish which are used for perfume, soaps, oils, etc. Port Sulphur at mile marker 39, was the center of Louisiana sulfur production. Millions of tons of sulfur were mined and shipped from this point, making it the fourth largest port on the Gulf of Mexico in its heyday. The Freeport Sulphur Company closed in the 1990s. North of Port Sulphur, you may begin to notice clumps of trees way out in the marshes near the western horizon. These are Indian mounds, also known as cheniers, where Indians lived. The ferry landing at about mile 48 is used to bring vehicles across the river to Pointe-a-la-Hache, the seat of government for Plaquemines parish. About two miles north of the ferry landing is Woodland Plantation. The two-story raised cottage, painted white with a red roof and five dormers was built in 1834 by one of the first American chief river pilots Captain William Johnson. Before the plantation was established, the pirate Jean Lafitte used this property for warehouses in which he kept contraband stolen from ships in the Gulf and transported to “clean” ships going to New Orleans to be sold as trade goods. Woodland was depicted by Currier & Ives in 1871 in a drawing called “A Home on the Mississippi.” The print may hold the record for the Currier & Ives image most reproduced. It is estimated that “A Home on the Mississippi” has been copied over 3.5 billion times for the label on Southern Comfort liquor bottles. Interesting note: my husband is the one who realized that the image Southern Comfort was using was actually from the Currier & Ives print, only reversed. He contacted Southern Comfort, who at first didn’t believe him until they sent their own historical architect to research the property. Then the company made an offer to purchase the property, but they were outbid by the current owners who now operate it as a bed and breakfast. The large grain elevators at mile 61.5 are located on the former lands of St. Rosalie Plantation (notable in that it was owned by an African-American, Andrew Durnford, with nearly 100 slaves before the Civil War.) The grain elevator stores 6 million bushels of beans, corn and wheat in 176 silos. Adjoining St. Rosalie on the upriver side is the Alliance refinery built on the site of the former Alliance sugar plantation. At mile 73, is the Chevron Oak Point refinery which I wrote about in the very first narrative. It was built here in 1941 to make diesel fuel additives for submarines. It is just south of Alvin Callendar Joint Services Naval Air Station where Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis in 1928 (also described in the first narrative.) Named for Jean de Goutin de Belle Chasse (the commander of the French and Spanish troops at the Louisiana Purchase), the town of Belle Chasse was also the home of Judah P. Benjamin, “the mastermind of the Confederacy.” It was originally an Indian village; but the Indians were relocated across the river, and the land was given to the top three advisors to the King of France to establish a plantation and provide a reason to protect Louisiana financially and militarily in the early 1700s. Above Belle Chasse, about mile 75 at English Turn (across from the Stolthaven Teminaling facility that I wrote about on the east bank) is the Coast Guard Communications facility. During WWII it was the English Turn Ammunition Depot, and you may be able to see the fronts of some of the 70+ concrete munition bunkers that are covered with soil and grass. Now these large bunkers are used for research and storage facilities. As you come out of the large bend known as English Turn, you will see the entrance to the intracoastal waterway. It was built after WWII as a protected water route extending from Florida to Texas. From here you will navigate one more large curve in the river before reaching the cruise terminal. In this curve is the community of Algiers—the only part of New Orleans that is on the west bank. It is home to the Marine Corps Support Facility New Orleans and the Coast Guard Sector New Orleans. (After you pass the intracoastal waterway and the ferry landing, you may want to look for the sites on the east bank that I described in the previous narrative: Chalmette battlefield, Domino sugar refinery, Jackson Barracks, etc.)
  2. Thank you for the compliment. I have to give credit to my husband, as he is the historian of Plaquemines parish and really enjoys letting people know about its history. He has served as a consultant to Charles Kuralt for one of his "On the Road" segments, and for Jacques Cousteau when his staff did an article on the Mississippi for National Geographic. He's also been a guest lecturer on two barge cruises of the lower Mississippi. The problem was getting him to edit the information that we shared because he has so many things to tell--lol! @Canuker, I will try to get you some west bank details in the next day or so.
  3. @Canuker Southwest Pass is the only deep water channel open to large ships, so that's the route you will take. @mafig Here is a detailed description of sights visible from your starboard side balcony on an upriver journey. I am jealous of your itinerary as it will be great to get to see everything in the daylight! I could have written much more.The river is home to many historical sites, which sadly no longer have anything physical to see due to time and weather. Though I have tried to give you an accurate description, you might want to look at the satellite view on google maps to get an idea of some of the landmarks before you sail. Have a wonderful trip! Traveling upriver from the Gulf to New Orleans—starboard (east bank) side The bar pilot will board the cruise ship while it’s still in the Gulf. Approaching the entrance to Southwest pass, you will see the rock walls and wooden frames of the jetties that were described in the first article. They actually extend into the Gulf, and as you enter the pass, they will be on both sides of the channel. Interesting note: During WWII, German submarines lurked in this area and sank many US tankers. On one occasion, not realizing the jetties were there, a German submarine came up very quickly and fired a torpedo that hit the jetties instead of the target. Because of the “liquidity” of the delta, it was said that the resulting explosion created shock waves that were felt all the way to New Orleans. Because of the enemy presence during WWII, the practice of bar pilots and river pilots boarding a still-moving vessel was begun. After the war, the practice has continued because ship owners like the convenience. Every ship coming up the Mississippi has to have a bar pilot or a federal pilot. After the bar pilot comes aboard, one of the first things you will see as you enter the pass is the Southwest Pass Pilot Station from which the pilot boat was launched. This station serves as a “control tower” for all ships coming in and out of the Mississippi River. It also contains sleeping facilities, a cafeteria, recreation hall, etc. for the pilots who are stationed there, since it is manned 24 hours a day year-round. About 2 miles upriver from the pilot station you will see remnants of the town of Burrwood, which was established by the Corps of Engineers in 1900. It was taken over by the US Navy during WWII to control all shipping on the entire Gulf of Mexico during the war. In its heyday, Burrwood had about 600 residents, a bowling alley, movie theater, barracks, and other conveniences, as well as a naval base. It was abandoned in 1955, and Hurricane Betsy wiped out most of it in 1965. Mostly you will see foundations and some of the trees that were planted there. (Should you happen to be in a spot to see the west bank of the pass at this point, you will see two lighthouses in the distance—a brick one and a metal one. The ship channel, prior to 1900, was between those two lighthouses.) A mile or so north of Burrwood, if you look closely, you may be able to see an old WWII concrete sentinel station right on the edge of the water. At Head of Passes, there is a large light and the channel gets much wider. Here you can see the other two major river passes -- South Pass and Pass-a-loutre (named for the otters living there when it was discovered by LaSalle in 1686). Just above Head of Passes is Pilottown, from which another pilot boat will come alongside and a river pilot will board the ship for the remainder of the trip to New Orleans. The bar pilot will stay on board as well, for about 10 more miles or so, until picked up by a pilot boat from Venice. (The pilot station at Venice is on the west bank of the river, so you won’t see it from your balcony.) About three miles upriver from Pilottown you will pass the Delta Breton Wildlife Refuge, which is at the head of the Mississippi River flyway. You’ll see a tower and a sign for the refuge, though you may not be able to spot the hundreds of thousands of birds, particularly ducks, that migrate through the area. It’s on the site of a former quarantine station where ships would have to stop to be inspected for contagious diseases, contraband, rodents, etc. Ships were routinely fumigated here, and often sick passengers would be taken from the vessel and hospitalized until they recovered, or died. Customs officials also worked here. The quarantine station operated until 1930. If you’re watching closely and reading the mile marker signs on the edge of the river, when you get to mile 11 there is a large bend in the river. Looking east you can see a tall incinerator stack (about 4 stories high and four blocks from the edge of the river.) This is the location of Fort St. Philip—a large concrete and masonry fort built by the Spanish in 1792. It contains seven large river batteries, and one very old brick fort, though they will be hard to see. This is because of the large levees that were put in place to hide the three-story structures from view. In the War of 1812, Fort St. Philip was critical for keeping the British fleet from reaching New Orleans. As mentioned in my first narrative, Fort Jackson is directly across the river from Fort St. Philip on the west bank. Both forts were controlled by the Confederacy during the Civil War; a chain was placed across the river at this point to try to keep Admiral Farragut from reaching New Orleans. However, in April 1862 the Union navy cut the chain under darkness of night, and sent 12 ships upriver, gaining control of the Mississippi and dividing the Confederacy. Historians called this “the night the war was lost.” At about mile 25 you can see the Ostrica locks. Ostrica means “oyster” in Croatian. This is the center of operation for a large Croatian population which farms oysters in the shallow marshes between the river and the gulf. The oysters begin in the saltier waters of the east bank, and when they have seeded (developed a shell) they’re transferred to the marshes on the west bank to grow in more nutrient-filled waters. This requires a trip on oyster boats from the east bank marshes, through the Ostrica locks and across the Mississippi river to the Empire locks which lead to the oyster beds on the west bank. A large portion of the oysters consumed in the US come from this area. There’s also a tank farm near the locks, which stores much of the oil and gas that is pumped here from the oil rigs you saw earlier in the gulf. At mile marker 45 you’ll begin to see houses and other buildings near the river because the highway north begins here. At marker 49 is Pointe-a-la-Hache, the parish (county) seat for Plaquemines parish. There’s a ferry landing here, and you can see the façade of the 1890 courthouse. It was burned by arsonists in 2000, and a new courthouse was built behind it which opened this month (February 2019.) About three miles upriver is St. Thomas Catholic Church, the first Catholic church in the parish; it was built in 1820 and is on the National Register. It’s interesting because it is built on top of an Indian mound. At mile 55 you’ll see the large Teco Bulk Coal terminal in the town of Davant. The coal is brought here on barges and then shipped to Europe, South America and Asia, as well as the southern ports of the United States. From this point on, you’ll pass several historic plantation homes, some dating to the early 1700s. Immediately north of the coal terminal is the dilapidated Harlem Plantation house. It was owned by Edward Livingston, who was mayor of New York and the brother of Robert Livingston (negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase.) The raised Creole-American house was built in 1840 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. At mile 76 is the landing for the English turn ferry between Belle Chasse on the west bank and Braithwaite on the east bank. This is the turn that I wrote about in the first article—sailing ships would have to sit here for days or weeks for the wind to be in the right direction to make the turn and travel on to New Orleans. When New Orleans was being settled three hundred years ago, ships frequently unloaded their cargo here rather than wait to make the turn. The area consisted mostly of warehouses. That changed with the coming of steam-powered ships. Into the bend, you’ll pass the Stolthaven Terminaling facility which stores chemicals, petroleum products, vegetable oils and fuels. Just past that is the large Caernarvon diversion canal that allows fresh river water and sediment to flow in to marshes and swamps to help build coastal land. Once you make it around the rest of the bend, you’ll soon be at the Chalmette battlefield and will see the other landmarks that I described in the first narrative.
  4. Is the sail-away recorded so you can go back and watch it if you weren't on live at the right time?
  5. Thank you to all who responded to my post. Your information and opinions are invaluable to us as we make our final trip decisions!
  6. I'm sorry for my ignorance on this topic, but what is the web cam site being referred to? Is this something that is recorded and can be viewed later, or is it just live streaming? Would like to know more if someone doesn't mind giving the details. THANKS!! (Will being on Zuiderdam sailing next month to Panama Canal)
  7. Has anyone been on the HAL excursion called "Coastal Highlights and Banana Plantation?" The reviews on the HAL website are very mixed, and the most recent was over a year ago. Was hoping someone on here would have some more recent information on this tour, or comments on the possibility of visiting a banana plantation from the port at Limon. Thanks for your advice.
  8. We will be visiting Limon, Costa Rica in March aboard the Zuiderdam, and have been looking for shore excursions that include seeing the actual workings of a banana plantation. Some of the tours we've seen from various vendors say they visit a banana plantation, but then when you read the reviews the visit was just pulling over on the side of the road and looking at the trees from the vehicle. One review I read said that the banana companies, such as Dole, no longer allow tours from independent operators to visit their facilities, that you can only do it via a ship's tour. Has anyone been on an actual tour of a banana plantation recently, or know any more about the situation? Thanks in advance!
  9. We will be there on Sunday, March 24. From what I can tell, we will be the only ship in port. We will be traveling with my 87 year old mother, so trying to decide how to best see the sights without it being too strenuous for her. Most of the shore excursions seem to have a couple of hours at a beach, which we aren't really interested in. BTW, my husband's name is RM Lincoln! We're from Louisiana.
  10. Can someone please tell me where the Zuiderdam generally docks in Curacao? I understand there are two different piers. Thanks.
  11. Thank you very much for posting the menus. We're looking forward to seeing how they compare to our sailing.
  12. We have really enjoyed your very thorough information about your cruise on the Zuiderdam, as we will be taking an 11-day partial Panama Canal transit cruise on her in March. When you have time, would you mind posting the MDR menus? I think you posted two days, but not the others. I know that ours may be different, but still enjoy looking at the possible choices. Even your post on Lido breakfast was informative--never thought there'd be that many choices. Thanks again!
  13. Hi all, Will be sailing on the Dream this spring, and there were some questions on our roll call about what you might be able to see from the ship as it navigates the Mississippi River. Having cruised out of NOLA several times, and being from Louisiana, we posted the following narrative on the roll call. Then decided some of you on other sailings might be interested as well, so posting it here. Hope it is of interest. “Enjoying the Mississippi River from a cruise ship out of New Orleans” By Rod and Leslie Lincoln [information accurate as of January 4, 2019] Being native Louisianians, we really enjoy cruising from New Orleans. The Mississippi River portion of the cruise has quite a few notable sites to see all the way down to the mouth of the river. The true mouth of the Mississippi can only be reached via boat, because the highway stops at the town of Venice, Louisiana; so consider yourself fortunate to get to see it on your cruise. From Venice it’s still about 30 more miles of river to be traveled before you reach the Gulf. Like an interstate highway, the river has mile markers along the riverbank that measure the distance from Head of Passes (where the main river splits into three major passes). Going north, the miles are measured as AHP (above Head of Passes). The cruise terminal is at approximately mile 96 AHP. The river south of Head of Passes is marked as BHP (below Head of Passes) and the actual point where it dumps into the Gulf is approximately mile 20 BHP. My husband was born and raised on a citrus plantation on the lower Mississippi River, about 50 miles south of New Orleans. He frequently leads media tours of this area, and here are some of the things he recommends that you look for from your cruise ship vantage point. (even after dark) The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center is the really large building across from the cruise terminal. It was the original location of the 1984 World’s Fair. Riverwalk: This mall was also originally built for the 1984 World’s Fair. At the foot of Canal Street is the ferry which takes cars/passengers across the river to Algiers Point. Canal Street marks the beginning of the area known as “the French Quarter.” As the ship continues downriver, you can see the following points of interest on the east bank (port side): Aquarium of The Americas and Woldenberg riverfront park. The aquarium, which was built in 1990, is part of the Audubon Nature Institute, along with the Audubon Zoo and the Audubon Insectarium—all great places to visit. Jax Brewery is a shopping mall inside the former beer brewery. St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square. This is the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the U.S., and a very familiar landmark of New Orleans. The first church on the site was built in 1718. The park in front of the cathedral is Jackson Square and has a large statue of Andrew Jackson on his horse. The Moon Walk - the area of the riverfront in front of Jackson Square was named for Mayor Maurice “Moon” Landrieu; the large promenade here was built in the 1970s. It’s a popular place for street performers and musicians. It’s reached from Jackson Square via the Washington Artillery Park, an elevated plaza with cannons which honors the 141st Field Artillery of the La. National Guard, established in 1838. The French Market includes the long buildings and covered open-air stalls that stretch for several blocks. You can find pralines, souvenirs and fresh produce here. The end of the building closest to Jackson Square contains the world-famous Café du Monde with its delicious beignets. There’s also a Café du Monde in the previously mentioned Riverwalk, in case you want to try some when you disembark. At the end of the French Market stalls, there is a 3-story red brick building which originally housed the New Orleans mint. Gold and silver coins were produced here from 1838 to 1909, except during the Civil War. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, and is a branch of the Louisiana State Museum. It also houses the New Orleans Jazz Museum. It may be a little hard to see because the Governor Nicholls wharf is between it and the river. You will pass many warehouses on the river before reaching the Industrial Canal, which is a man-made canal that runs between the river and Lake Pontchartrain. It’s where many of the levees were breached during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, flooding the entire area. Just downriver of the Industrial Canal, you will see an area with several brick buildings with white columns, and a large grassy parade ground. This is Jackson Barracks, home of the Louisiana National Guard. The base was established in 1834, and in 1866 it was named for Andrew Jackson. Past this point you leave Orleans Parish and enter St. Bernard Parish. Parish is the Louisiana term for county. Domino sugar refinery opened here in 1909. According to Wikipedia it is the second largest sugar refinery in the world, producing 7.5 million pounds of sugar per day! If you look closely to the left of the large blonde brick smokestacks, you can see Cavaroc House. It’s a Greek Revival plantation home built in 1839. This beautiful home, listed on the National Historic Register, is used by Domino Sugar for executive offices. About mile marker 90 AHP: Chalmette Battlefield and Jean Lafitte National Park is the large park just downriver from the sugar refinery. This is the location of the Battle of New Orleans which took place on January 8, 1815 during the War of 1812. The Chalmette Monument is the tall white obelisk. The park grounds also include the Chalmette National Cemetery. Closer to the river you can see the Malus-Beauregard House, which was constructed about 18 years after the battle. It was purchased in 1949 by the park service and completely restored. The very large plant with a tall red stack originally belonged to Kaiser Aluminum, which was a huge player in the local economy, with more than 2,700 workers, until it closed in 1983. Then the site was purchased by the St. Bernard Parish Port, Harbor and Terminal District which uses it to store grain and other materials. Right next to it is the PBF Chalmette Refinery. On the riverbank here is the Chalmette ferry landing. The ferry takes passengers/cars across the Mississippi River to Algiers, the part of Orleans Parish that is located on the west bank. A mile or so past the refinery and ferry landing, the river begins to make a huge bend to the south, then back to the west again, and then south. Hundreds of years ago, when sailing ships reached this bend, they had to wait days, and sometimes weeks, for the winds to change enough to enable them to negotiate this extreme turn. This bend is known as English turn; named so because (according to the explorer Iberville), it was in this bend in 1699 that his brother Bienville, coming downstream, met the British who had come up the river to choose a site for a settlement. Bienville convinced the English captain that the territory was in possession of the French and demanded that they turn around and leave. Because they would not be able to pass the turn until the winds changed, the English were afraid of being stranded and attacked by the French, so they turned around and left. When the ship has made it completely around the turn, you will be at mile marker 76 AHP. You’ve traveled 20 miles by river, but only 5 miles as the crow flies. Looking back towards the northwest, you’ll be surprised to see how close the city of New Orleans still is. You are now entering Plaquemines Parish. The first town you spot on the west bank (starboard side) is Belle Chasse, named after the commander of the French and Spanish troops at the Louisiana Purchase. He lived here, and the commander of the American troops at the Louisiana Purchase, Gen. James Wilkinson, lived 5 miles south of here on the river. Just south of Belle Chasse, at mile marker 74.5, is Alvin Callendar Joint Services Naval Air Station, on the west bank (starboard side.) In 1928 Charles Lindbergh landed the Spirit of St. Louis here. During WWII, dirigibles were stationed here to search the Mississippi River and Gulf coast for German submarines that were sinking ships at the mouth of the river. In addition to the Navy, the base also houses Air Force, Air National Guard, Coast Guard, Customs, DEA, ICE and many more agencies, and it’s frequently seen on NCIS New Orleans. You will pass several industrial operations, plants, refineries, grain elevators, coal storage facilities, etc. on both sides of the river from this point on. One of the more notable ones, at mile marker 73 AHP just south of Alvin Callendar Field, is the Chevron Oak Point refinery. It was built here in 1941 to make diesel fuel additives for submarines, because of concern that the Japanese would invade California which at that time was the only place where these additives were made. Today it’s one of the largest and most advanced producers of blended fuels and lubricants in the world. The large grain elevators at mile 61.5 are located on the former lands of St. Rosalie Plantation (notable in that it was owned by an African-American with nearly 100 slaves before the Civil War.) The grain elevator stores 6 million bushels of beans, corn and wheat in 176 silos. At mile marker 48.5 is the Plaquemines Parish seat of government, Pointe-a-la-Hache. It was established in the 1730s. The lighted structures are the new courthouse, and the façade of the 100-year-old building that was replaced after it burned in 2001. Four miles south of this point, the highway ends so it’s the farthest you can drive on the east bank. Port Sulphur, at mile marker 39, was the center of Louisiana sulfur production. Millions of tons of sulfur were mined and shipped from this point, making it the fourth largest port on the Gulf of Mexico in its heyday. The Freeport Sulphur Company closed in the 1990s, but the docks on the river are still frequently used and you will see them lit up at night. At mile marker 20.5 AHP, on the west bank, is Fort Jackson—scene of the Second Battle of New Orleans in 1862 during the Civil War. It has been nominated for National Park status, but not yet funded. Though it isn’t lit up for you to see, Fort St. Philip is directly across the river from Fort Jackson on the east bank. It was crucial in the protection of the river in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War. It will take 7-8 hours for the ship to make its way down the river from New Orleans to the Gulf. During this time it is under the control of a highly trained pilot belonging to the Crescent River Pilots Association. By law, these river pilots direct the navigation of all ships up and down the 106 miles of river between New Orleans and what is known as Pilottown. A few miles after passing Fort Jackson, a pilot boat will bring a licensed bar pilot to the ship. It will have been been launched from the pilot station at mile marker 11, near the town of Venice (the end of the road on the west bank). The bar pilots specialize in navigating ships through the narrow, constantly changing passes and over the bar into the Gulf. The bar pilot will take command from the river pilot who will be dropped off at the pilot station at Pilottown at mile marker 2 AHP. You’ll recognize the small pilot boat by the lights on top—a white light that sits above a red light. The ship will slow down and you can watch as the bar pilot climbs up to the cruise ship from the smaller boat. The same thing will happen around mile marker 4 AHP as a pilot boat from Pilottown approaches the ship to pick up the exiting river pilot. He will spend the night at Pilottown before getting on another ship headed upriver. The bar pilot will continue to navigate as the ship reaches Head of Passes and enters the Southwest Pass, the last segment of the river before reaching the Gulf. Once you enter Southwest Pass, you will notice wooden structures jutting from the banks on both sides of the river. These jetties narrow the channel and keep it deep enough for deep draft vessels to pass. You will continue to see them for many miles as they extend beyond the land out into the Gulf. Around mile marker 18 BHP, on the east bank, you’ll notice a brightly-lit multi-story structure. It is the Southwest Pass Bar Pilots station. From this point a third pilot vessel will be launched to pick up the bar pilot once the ship reaches the Gulf several miles away. At this point you will begin seeing dozens of off-shore oil rigs of varying sizes. The sizes and shapes will change, the farther out they are located. Happy cruising on the mighty Mississippi!
  14. The van pickup is on the outside edge of the port area. Sorry I can't help you with the cost of lounge chairs since we weren't there long enough to use any.
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