Port was there first

At the edge of New Orleans' French Quarter, the Gov. Nicholls Street Wharf occupies a site that's been in continuous maritime commerce since shortly after the city's founding in 1718. Now there's a controversy over using the site for ... maritime commerce.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports on not-in-my-backyard protests against plans to convert the 1960s-era breakbulk wharf into a cold-storage warehouse and transfer facility for New Orleans Cold Storage. NOCS, a 122-year-old exporter of frozen poultry and other products, has been trying for more than three years to regain dockside access it lost when Hurricane Katrina closed the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet canal  to shipping.

NOCS says it is spending $45,000 a month to truck its cargo from its existing plant to Mississippi River wharves. Opponents say renovating the Gov. Nicholls site for NOCS would  interfere with tourism and a plan to develop a four-mile riverfront park on obsolete  wharves. Port officials are siding with advocates of maintaining a century-old business and its well-paying cargo jobs.

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