Mississippi River reopens following Isaac closure
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Mississippi River has reopened to shipping from Baton Rouge to its mouth after being closed on Monday as Hurricane Isaac approached.
The Coast Guard was limiting some traffic as a backlog of vessels —including a cruise ship — waited to enter the river about 90 miles southeast of New Orleans.
Authorities said barges had been stranded on the river bank in places because of Isaac’s storm surge, which plowed up the river and effectively caused the Mississippi to flow backward until winds shifted to the north and pushed water back into the Gulf of Mexico.
The river between Baton Rouge and its mouth is lined with refineries, chemical plants and a massive grain port.
Low water caused by drought in the Midwest has caused periodic closings farther upriver — particularly in Mississippi and the Memphis, Tenn., area — because of silting and sandbar hazards.
The river is much deeper from Baton Rouge to its mouth though officials had been concerned that salt water from the Gulf was intruding northward because of the river’s low flow.
A massive underwater barrier was built to keep the heavier salt water at the bottom and away from drinking water intakes south of New Orleans.
Farther upriver, dredges were working to clear sandbars and permit barge traffic to pass.
Isaac’s rains upriver could bring some relief for the low water problems, though forecasters expect more normal river levels won’t return until October.
Plaquemine ferry returns to service
(AP) — The state Department of Transportation and Development says the Plaquemine/Sunshine ferry landing has returned to service.
The ferry was closed Tuesday afternoon due to deteriorating weather conditions caused by Hurricane Isaac. The operating hours for the Plaquemine/Sunshine ferry landing are 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days per week.
The two remaining landings, White Castle and Edgard/Reserve, will remain closed until further notice.
Leaking tank in river sparks evacuation
POYDRAS (AP) — Residents along Louisiana Highway 39 near the Mississippi River were asked to evacuate Friday morning after a tank containing chlorine was found leaking in the Mississippi River.
Hazardous materials teams were sent to the area to deal with the tank.
The tank is in an area that straddles the St. Bernard-Plaquemines Parish line. All Plaquemines residents had been ordered out earlier because of storm surge from Hurricane Isaac.
It was not immediately clear how many St. Bernard residents were affected. Many in the area left in advance of the storm.
Waterways open to navigation near Port Fourchon
PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) — Port Fourchon and inland waterways around Bayou Lafourche have reopened after the passage of Hurricane Isaac.
The bayou is open to commercial vessels from Leeville to the entrance of Belle Pass.
Authorities are asking vessel captains to use extreme caution because buoys and other navigation aids may have been moved by the force of Isaac’s wind and storm surge.
Bayou Lafourche north of Leeville remains closed as does the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to the east.
New Orleans airport reopens
KENNER (AP) — Entergy has restored power to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport clearing the way for flights to begin arriving.
Officials say the airport reopened early Friday morning and flights began arriving by midmorning.
The airport, which handles more than 250 flights a day, took a beating from Hurricane Isaac, suffering damage to the roof its terminal and water covered at least one runway.