Going ashore in New Orleans, Louisiana

Going ashore in New Orleans

The Port of New Orleans is one of the largest and most crowded ports in the USA and it is situated on the Mississippi River, ~ 95 miles inside. A port container vessel calling the port of New Orleans is usually docked in one of the following terminals: Napoleon Container Terminal or Nashville Wharf.

Most of the seafarers coming to New Orleans choose to spend a few hours in the nearby supermarket, Walmart, which is situated only 10 minute away from the port. If your time is a little more generous, you can try your luck and pay a visit to the centre of the town. You can arrive there in less than 10 minutes with a cab and you’ll have to pay around 15$ for the ride.

Walmart Supermarket New Orleans

At first glance, going ashore in New Orleans may look very simple. In fact, going out of this port proved to be more complicated and challenging than any other port I have ever visited. In most cases, going into the centre of the town is by far more complicated than going out of the port. Regardless the size of the terminal, a shuttle bus can take you from the ship to the gate in few minutes or half an hour and the most difficult part of the journey is between the gate and the centre. Things are completely different in New Orleans.

Walking inside the port is not permitted, but a shuttle bus service is available and ready to assist if it is called upon.

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From the ship to the first gate, the ride takes only few minutes, but the most complicated part of the ‘going out process’ is moving from one gate to the other. No shuttle bus is allowed to cover this area and no taxi either. So, seafarers are forced to walk their ways towards the last gate in order to finally get out of the port.

If your vessel is docked in the Napoleon Container Terminal, your ride to the gate might take only few minutes – with the first part being covered by a shuttle bus, and the rest being done walking. But the gate from Napoleon Container Terminal – which can take you out of the port in less than 10 minutes – is open only if there is at least one vessel alongside. If there is no work inside the terminal, the gate will be closed and all the immigration formalities will have to be done at a different gate, closer to Nashville Wharf. So, if your vessel is alongside in Nashville Wharf, everything should go smooth and easy. The reality is much more different if your vessel arrives in the port during the week-end. The Nashville Wharf gate might be open and the inside port shuttle bus might take you to it in only few minutes, but you still have a long way to walk until you get to the exit gate. The Nashville Exit gate is open from Monday to Friday (between 6 and 18), so if you arrive in the port during the week-end (or outside the working hours), you will have to use first the Nashville gate for Immigration formalities, but the Napoleon Exit Gate to go out of the port. The distance between the two gates is ~ 2 miles and can be covered in half an hour – a very good opportunity for seamen to do a little exercise – but a real waste of time under the circumstances. When you have only 2-3 hours to enjoy outside the usual on board routine, a half an hour walk to get to the gate (and another half an hour come back) is a real waste of time.

When you finally arrive at the Exit Gate (close to Napoleon Container Terminal) you have the opportunity to take a taxi or to continue your walking towards the city centre. In ~ 30 minutes you can walk your way to the Walmart supermarket or a taxi can take you there in less than 5 minutes for ~ 10$. If you want to go to the centre, a taxi can take you there, too –  in ~ 10 minutes for a fare of ~ 15$.

Your walk in the centre should start on Canal Street, the heart of the financial district. Here you can find and admire all the sky-scrapers you have already seen from the ship, while entering the port.

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To continue your walk, you can take the road which goes to the river and arrive in few minutes on the Riverside, an area that is called Riverfront.

New Orleans Riverfront

The centre of New Orleans is considered to be Jackson Square and all the streets which spread out of it and make up the French District, one of the most famous landmarks of the city. With its fancy cafés, restaurants, souvenir shops and crowded streets, the French Quarter is the main tourist attraction of the city, where thousands of tourists gather every day to have a drink or just wander around. You can have a tour along the exterior of Jackson Square and admire an interesting display of artists – showing their most precious creations.

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You can have a ride in one of the tourist carriages drawn by beautiful horses and listen to the guide telling interesting stories about local history.

Tourist carriages

If you are lucky enough to arrive in town during the week-end, you’ll have the chance to witness and enjoy some very nice music performances.

Street performer on Riverfront New Orleans

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You can see many players on the streets and in the parks, but you’ll find most of them on Royal Street – very close to the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral which looks towards the river, over Jackson Square. It is one of the oldest churches in USA and it is visible also from the river, while entering the port.

New Orleans, St Louis Cathedral view over the River

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If you have more time available you can visit the Aquarium of the Americas, Louis Armstrong Park, Musical Legends Park or you can have a ride in the red streetcar along the River.

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If your luck is even greater than this, you can try and enjoy the city as most of the tourists arriving on board the big cruisers. Always count at least one hour to get back on the vessel, as the walking part of the road from one gate to another will still challenge you on the return trip.

PHOTO GALLERY

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