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New New Orleans Harbor

Restore Mississippi delta by creating a separate sea harbor.
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
  [vote for,

New Orleans is a harbor for river and sea traffic. Left in it's natural state the mouth of the Mississippi will at times be blocked to large sea going vessels by sediment.. To keep the mouth of the river navigable structures are installed to keep the speed of the water high enough to carry the sediment to deep water. If a separate sea harbor were created at New Orleans and ships no longer sailed up the river to New Orleans the Mississippi below the city could be restored to it's natural state. The silt carried by the river could then serve to build up the delta.

Locks could serve to allow ships to pass from river to ocean or the reverse and would keep the river's silt out of the harbor.

Restoring the river below the city would be a hardship to many but allowing the delta to wash into the sea would be more than a hardship for millions.

In New Orleans storm surge from the sea was not the biggest problem. With a sick flimsy delta New Orleans becomes more like a coastal city instead of an inland city located on a river. This is not a good thing if you are just about at sea level.

hangingchad, Sep 30 2005

The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet http://www.washingt...R2005091302196.html
How this idea was baked...sort of. [ldischler, Oct 02 2005]

Dwindling Delta http://www9.nationa...ionalgeographic.com
National Geographic article - Oct. 2004 [hangingchad, Oct 03 2005]


       This might be a silly question, but would locks really be required to travel from sea to river at the delta?
Ling, Sep 30 2005

       This makes no sense whatsoever.
ldischler, Sep 30 2005

       + for spelling *separate* correctly.
dentworth, Sep 30 2005

       This has been proposed by quite a number of people in the press as the obvious solution to restoring the wetlands and the river delta.
DrCurry, Sep 30 2005

       ((Pa ve)) As I wrote in at least two places the river would be restored to a more natural state below New Orleans. Seems to me this would make flooding of the city less likely because that water would be free to flow over the delta instead of backing up into the city.   

       ((Ling)) You are correct. However, locks would be required to keep the river out of the sea harbor. This especially when the river is high.   

       ((DrCurry)) What does "WTAGIPBAN" mean?
hangingchad, Sep 30 2005

       //no matter what you do with the Mississippi, if it continues to remove sediment from around the NOLA region//
That's simply not right. The Mississippi is not removing sediment. The idea of breaching the levees below New Orleans has been around. Chad's idea, this building a 'sea harbor' makes no sense. It's equivalent to abandoning New Orleans as a port city.

//In New Orleans storm surge from the sea was not the biggest problem.//
Nope. The storm surge *was* the problem. It was water forced into the lake north of New Orleans that flooded the city. Not the river.
ldischler, Sep 30 2005

       Same can be said for Galveston Bay, as far as east-central Houston. Subsidence in the last 100 years of pumping up water and oil from sands below has created a bowl, and hence, enormous potential to flood and to retain water.   

       Development of the low zones is another factor. Any truth to the gab around here that asserts a large percentage of homes in NOLA and more particularly the bayous are built and occupied by squatters who never actually purchased their land but over the years have just steadfastly refused to leave and kept up their demands for services and infrastructure until city boundaries expanded to include them?
reensure, Oct 01 2005

       //No, I am saying that over the long term, the removal of sediment in the Mississippi caused a "displacement" of the sediment underneath NOLA. In other words, the ground under NOLA is so unstable, that it extrudes sideways the sediment layers underneath from the weight above.//

An odd bit of insanity. If true, the French Quarter and all the areas adjacent to the river would be at the lowest elevations instead of the highest. But hey, maybe sediment is extruding the other way!
ldischler, Oct 01 2005

       ((Idischler)) "Chad's idea, this building a 'sea harbor' makes no sense. It's equivalent to abandoning New Orleans as a port city.' Let me put it this way: New Orleans already has a port with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Expand, deepen this waterway and we would then have a sea harbor for New Orleans and ocean going ships can arrive and depart from this harbor without sailing up or down the Mississippi. The river can then be allowed to flow over it's banks below New Orleans.
hangingchad, Oct 02 2005

       Not sail up and down the Mississippi? They can already do that using the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, which is a channel that was built 40 years ago. Some people think it's a disaster, because it funnels storm surges directly towards the heart of the city. See link.
ldischler, Oct 02 2005

       ((Idischler)) Thanks for the link. I saw that body of water on Google Maps Satellite view but I recall seeing mainly barges and smaller vessels. So in essence New Orleans already has a separate sea harbor. Now if the Army Corps of Engineers would just free up the mighty Mississippi below New Orleans the following should happen: First, the mouth of the river will eventually be too shallow for deep draft vessels. Second, deep draft vessels will then use the Gulf Outlet. Third, ecologists will report that wetlands on the delta are recovering. Fourth, sportsmen will report that the delta is alive with fish and game. Fifth, geologists will report that the delta is increasing in size. Sixth, New Orleans will remain an inland city which is located on a river instead of becoming a coastal city at sea level.   

       See Link
hangingchad, Oct 03 2005

       60% of US agricultural exports are transfered from river vessels to ocean vessels in New Orleans. If this transfere were to be moved elseware, I suspect the economy of New Orleans would suffer.
Zimmy, Oct 03 2005

       ((Zimmy)) There is no reason to think that a separate "Sea Harbor" would cause shipping to go elsewhere. At least no reason that I know or have thought of. Ships go where the cargo is and the cargo from much of the US interior is at New Orleans. Barges will still come down the river and have their loads transferred to ocean going vessels.
hangingchad, Oct 03 2005

       //So in essence New Orleans already has a separate sea harbor.//
It does? Where on earth is it?
ldischler, Oct 03 2005

       ((Idischler)) The Mississippi River Gulf Outlet or MRGO is a separate sea harbor. It has a direct connection to the gulf where ocean ships can come and go without accessing the Mississippi. It has locks allowing access to the river. It has a basin or harbor where ships and barges can unload or load cargo. Seems like a harbor for sea vessels to me.
hangingchad, Oct 03 2005

       Ah, I get it finally. I'd assumed that a sea harbor would be on the sea, not inland.
ldischler, Oct 03 2005


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