West Calcasieu Port houses more than 100 barges during Isaac

West Calcasieu Port housing barges

CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - With Hurricane Isaac moving through Louisiana, much of the intra-coastal waterway is closed. West Calcasieu Port in Calcasieu Parish is housing more than 100 barges until the waterway reopens.

The West Calcasieu Port is located on one of the busiest sections of the Gulf Intra-coastal Waterway.

"When you have a storm in Southeast Louisiana, this is a good place to go to if you are operating a tow boat, or a push boat and barges," West Cal. Port Director Lynn Hohensee said.

Hohensee said a lot of traffic comes through the waterway and when the waters are rough, barge operators like to dock where it's calmest.

During Isaac, the port is essentially acting as a safe haven for the more than 100 barges docked. And this has happened in the past according to Hohensee.

"The people would congregate here to wait out the storm," he said. "Once the storm has safely moved out of the area, and doesn't seem to be a present danger to the shipping industry anymore, then they'll resume their operations and continue on going either east bound or west bound."

Because of the storm, the traffic is stopped going east bound on the waterway.

"This is a barge parking facility," Mike Devall of Marine Operations for Devall Towing said of the West Cal. Port. "It's like parking your car in a parking garage."

Devall said the barges come from all along the coast to transport cargo east.

"All the locks are closed, bridges are closed and until they get the green light and it's all opened and the storm moves north, they will stay here until that time," Devall said.

And this is what the 190-acre port is designed to do.

"We are a marine services port and any way we can lend a hand to, you know, help the marine industry operate more safely and efficiently we're certainly willing to do that," Hohensee said.

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