Port Christens New Dredge

New Orleans—Patricia Karst Reed honored her late husband, former Port of New Orleans Executive Director Edward S. “Ned” Reed, by christening the Port’s new dredge that bears his name today.

The dredge is the third owned by the Board of Commissioners of the Port of New Orleans in its history and replaces the A. Robert Bleakley, a cutter head dredge in service since 1976. New Orleans and Portland, Ore. are the only two major U.S. ports which own and operate their own dredges.

“Today is another milestone in our Port’s history,” said Port President and CEO Gary LaGrange. “As we honor a true visionary in our industry, we can look to a brighter future knowing the Dredge Edward S. ‘Ned’ Reed will clear the path for commerce and prosperity for many years to come.”

Built by Dredging Supply Company Inc. in Reserve, La., at a cost of $7.8 million, the 187-foot dredge has a larger discharge line (24 inches, as opposed to 20 inches) than its predecessor, which will allow for more efficient scouring along the Port’s docks.

“It is truly an honor to name this valuable Port asset after such a distinguished gentleman and tireless public servant,” said Thomas D. Westfeldt, chairman of the Board of Commissioner of the Port of New Orleans.

Born in New Orleans, Reed attended business school at Tulane University before earning his Masters of Business Administration from Harvard University. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, stationed on destroyers and tankers in the Pacific and in China. Prior to joining the Port staff, he was vice president of Rickert & Laan, Inc., a Dutch rice milling company. He was recruited by former Port Director W.J. Amoss Sr. in 1961 as assistant to the Port Director and rose through the ranks before serving as Executive Director and General Manager from 1970 until 1985. During his tenure, Reed pushed for the Port to buy and operate its own dredge in order to save money and ensure reliable depths at Port wharves. While leading the Port, he was elected chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities and served on the board of the International Association of Ports and Harbors. He raised four sons with his wife of 54 years, Patricia Karst Reed. He passed away in April.

Since 1938, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been responsible for dredging the navigation channel of the Mississippi River, while the Port is responsible for dredging 100 feet from the edge of its wharves. The Port owned a steam-operated dredge named the Omega until the mid-1960s. For the next ten years, the Port relied on contract dredges to maintain berths, until Reed purchased the Bleakley. 

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