|U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), who serves as House Majority Whip, speaks Friday to the importance of the Port of New Orleans to the City and the Nation during a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina at the Port’s Erato Street Cruise Terminal.|
On Friday, August 28, Congressman Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange joined a host of elected officials and industry representatives in honoring federal partners that played major roles in assisting the entire Port community in the decade following Hurricane Katrina.
“Since August of 2005, the Port of New Orleans has overcome great obstacles and rose to historic highs in terms of cargo and passenger volumes, revenues and industrial tenants,” LaGrange told the crowd gathered at the Port’s Erato Street Cruise Terminal. “With the help of many, the Port was able to reopen to commerce just 12 days after the storm to prove to the world that New Orleans was open for business.”
Honored at the ceremony for their roles in the resiliency of the industry were the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Maritime Administration, U.S. Army Corps of the Engineers, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Congressman Scalise said federal partners in Louisiana played and continue to play a vital role in the overall mission of the Port and maritime industry.
“The story of recovery in south Louisiana is inspiring, and the Port of New Orleans has played such an important role in this remarkable story," Rep. Scalise said. “While there is still work to be done, together we have rebuilt a world-class port and a region that is even stronger and more resilient today than it was before the storm.”
The ceremony, which was also attended by U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R. La.), Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) and Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), was jointly sponsored by the Port, Crescent River Port Pilots Association and the Louisiana Maritime Association. Since 2005, the Port reached new highs in container volumes, a 14-year high in overall tonnage in 2014, surpassed the 1-million annual passenger mark in 2014 and reimagined the more than 1,000 acres of industrial property along the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal into a center for logistics and value-added cargo operations.
More than $500 million was invested in the Port in the last decade, including terminal expansions, completely renovated transit sheds, upgraded infrastructure and new state-of-the-industry cruise terminals. And the Port continues to build momentum with recent announcements. For example, the return of Chiquita after a 40-year hiatus, new shipping lines and alliances serving every trade lane in the world, and a booming cruise industry – both oceangoing and inland river – with the recent announcement by Viking River Cruises to create their first North American homeport in New Orleans.
“We are continuing to invest in the Port to stay ahead of the curve,” LaGrange said. “Nearly $40 million in new investments to increase efficiencies and expand container handling capabilities are under construction and nearing completion at the Port of New Orleans’ Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal.”
At the conclusion of the event, Rep. Scalise unveiled an exhibit entitled “Partners in Resilience,” which included an installation of nine iconic Port photos from the last 10 years and a video (above) from the maritime industry thanking federal partners who contribute to the success of Louisiana’s maritime industry on a daily basis.