Plans to build a cold storage warehouse for frozen poultry exports along the Mississippi River in New Orleans threaten the city's French Quarter as well as other historic neighborhoods, according to a new report on the city's "Nine Most Endangered Sites."
The Louisiana Landmark Society prepared the list after a neighborhood group, the Vieux Carre Property Owners, Residents and Associates, voted this summer to oppose the $40 million warehouse. The group said they were concerned about increased truck traffic on the city's Esplanade and about the risk of hazardous materials leaks from the warehouse refrigeration system.
The Port of New Orleans estimates the warehouse would add some 30 to 60 vehicles a day to the Esplanade's truck traffic. Operator New Orleans Cold Storage, which has been in New Orleans since the late 1880’s, exports frozen poultry that is a key breakbulk cargo for the port. Despite extensive damage during Hurricane Katrina, no NOCS warehouse leaked anhydrous ammonia, nor have they in the past.
Since Hurricane Katrina, NOCS has been forced to truck some poultry exports to riverbank wharves to load deep draft vessels because its main warehouse is located at Jourdan Road on the port’s Industrial Canal, an area now closed to deep draft shipping due to the closing of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.
The state of Louisiana and the port have pledged to find and finance a new riverfront facility for NOCS. If that can’t be done, NOCS has said the company may have to leave New Orleans.
Governor Nicholls Wharf is port property and thus is not subject to normal zoning and permitting regulations. However, in the face of these public protests, port officials have said that they may consider other sites for the warehouse.
Contact Janet Nodar at firstname.lastname@example.org.