Thursday, October 13, 2005
7 News Features: Back To The Bayou: Port Fourchon
But with so much federal funding, it might be surprising that one town in Louisiana needs even more money...Or the entire nation could suffer. Carmel Cafiero has details in tonight's "Back to the Bayou".
WSVN--When it comes to the Bayous of South Louisiana - shrimp boats and cajun music come to mind. But the area also plays a crucial role in oil and gas exploration. So much so that what happens here at Port Fourchon - can affect the price of gas nationwide. The port - which is on the Gulf about due south of New Orleans - services 75 per cent of the offshore oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Ships based here carry everything from people to food to materials to keep them up and pumping. When the port is closed down - so are the rigs.
Davie Breaux: "So you're looking at a billion dollars a day of product being shut down in oil itself."
Davie Breaux - the port's director of operations - says that can translate into as much as a dollar per gallon more at the pump.
Investigative Reporter Carmel Cafiero: "Getting to the port can be a problem. The only road runs at about the same elevation as bordering Bayou Lafourche. And when the water around here rises - so does the anxiety."
Windell Curole: "If you can't get to the gold mine - you can't mine the gold."
Windell Curole is the general manager of the South Lafource Levee Board. He says a plan to elevate the roadway to the port is simply good business. With more than a thousand cargo trucks and six thousand vehicles in and out of the port every day - access is critical.
Henri Boulet: "It's a proper investment for America."
Henri Boulet is the executive director of the La One Coalition. It is looking for about a half billion tax dollars to fund the project.
Henri Boulet: "It's going to mean a tremendous amount to our country strategically to keep the oil flowing."
Nearby - Grand Isle - a barrier island - is home to many of the port's workers. Here - it appears more homes were demolished than left standing. Also taking a heavy hit - shrimp boats which have been destroyed thoughout the area. Docks where the catch was processed were also destroyed, so boats still seaworthy have no place to sell their shrimp.
Windell Curole: "If the midwest is the bread basket of the United States, South Louisiana is it's seafood platter."
Curole says it is ironic that it has taken tragedy to make others realize just how important South Louisiana is to the rest of the country. Tomorrow - its a question many of us have wondered. Will there be a Mardi Gras? Carmel will tell us the answer in the final installment of her series - Back to the Bayou.
If you have a story for Carmel:
Call her in Dade at 305-627-CLUE
or in Broward at 954-921-CLUE