Commerce on the Mississippi River 12/13/2012

It was interesting to see how current and crucial the great Mississippi still is to shipping and commerce.  We know historically that rivers have always been centers of transit.  We saw the pioneer examples at the Canada Creek log landing in the Adirondacks and the strategic needs at Fort Ticonderoga before and during the Revolutionary War.


As we waited for the Belle Chasse ferry we saw the tanker Overseas Texas City moored across the river, just a couple of bends in the river from downtown New Orleans. The Overland Texas City is at right in the picture above.

To see where the she is now, click the link HERE. This is a fun website. It tracks vessels going into and out of ports around the world. By the time you click on the link, Overland Texas City may be “out of range” but it’s still an interesting site!  All you need is the name of a ship and you can see what it carries, learn its port of origin, heading, speed and destination.

We knew that this river in particular was historically heavily used. At this plantation we visited, Oak Alley, the Mississippi was the primary artery that connected people and moved product.


Even today, the river at the end of this avenue of 300-year-old Virginia Live Oaks at Oak Alley Plantation is a conduit for commerce.  All along the river in Louisiana, there are docks and ships and industry of many types.  Domino Sugar has a big presence, as does petroleum, and apparently plastics of many types.


We saw the Point Lisas Pearl, pictured below, at Vacherie, LA. Click HERE  to see where she is now. This is a fun website. It tracks many vessels going into and out of ports around the world. By the time you click on the link, Point Lisas Pearl may be “out of range” but it’s still an interesting site!


Down the road, pipes and conveyors of wild design convey things to the to docks at the river, where boats move unfathomable tons to ports unknown.

Here’s a video:

Farther downriver, oil refineries and plastics companies transport goods via the Mississippi.


The river is just on the other side, behind the refineries. We saw many more boats and barges than trucks leaving these plants

Here’s a giant pile of green plastic. Ready to go downriver or maybe just unloaded from a ship on the Mississippi.  The smell reminded me of styrene models I built as an adolescent.  I was happy to keep driving and get further away.


– Jane and David

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