The heavily industralized “Inner Harbor Navigational Canal” (also known as just the “Industrial Canal” in New Orleans, provides access from Lake Pontchartrain to the lock which leads to the Mississippi River, and points west on the Gulf ICW. Cruisers have to contend with a steeple chase of bridges to make this passage, but it’s still far more direct than the alternative.
And, with the canal closed (see below), cruisers heading west from New Orleans, or even those east bound, and wanting to reach the marinas on the southern shores of Lake Pontchartrain, will have to traverse the ICW to the Rigolets, cruise through this impressive inlet to Lake Pontchartrain, and then back west across a significant portion of often rough Lake Pontchartrain to reach West End, site of most of New Orlean’s marina facilities.
And, NOTE THAT THE CANAL WILL BE CLOSED FOR A FULL YEAR’S TIME!!!! Ouch!!!!!
This is from the USCG’s local notice to mariners:
Effective immediately, the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal at the Seabrook Bridge will be closed to navigation due to construction of a cofferdam for the Seabrook floodgate structure. The channel will remain closed until approximately the Fall 2011. To ensure public safety during construction, all mariner traffic should avoid the area beginning at the north end Slip No. 6 to the Ted Hickey Bridge. For up-to-date information, mariners are urged to call the construction impact hotline at (877) 427-0345. Attached is the Marine Safety Information Bulletin
I spoke with the Coast Guard N.O. district, it is the Seabrook Bridge which is closed down for repairs and will be for a long time, according to the USCG about 6 months. This blocks the Industrial canal but the lock and the ICW remain open. So if you are heading east and don’t need to get into the lake you can continue as usual along the GICWW.
“INNER HARBOR – NAVIGATION CANAL CLOSURE AT SEABROOK
Beginning September 22, 2010 and continuing through the fall of 2011, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers will be constructing a floodgate structure across the Inner Harbor – Navigation Canal (IH-NC) approximately 540 feet south of the Ted Hickey Bridge, and there will be no marine vessel access to or from Lake Pontchartrain via the IH-NC. Vessels should exercise caution and maintain a safe distance in the vicinity of the construction site, which is identified by light towers and advance warning signs. Additional information can be obtained by calling the Corps of Engineers’ Construction Impacts Hotline at 877-427-0345, U. S. Coast Guard Waterways Management at 504-365-2282 or 504-365-2284, or the Vessel Traffic Center (24 hours) at 504-589-2780.”
Therefore, to get into Lake Pontchartrain from the Mississippi River or from west of New Orleans, you will have to go around and come in through the Rigolets.
We keep our boat on the N shore of L Pontchartrain at Mandeville. Actually, going W, the distance is shorter and much faster because of no Industrial Canal bridges going W from the MS Sound and L Borne through the Rigolets and then SW across the lake to W End in NO, as opposed to going through the ICW and Industrial Canal. Going E, the distance is much longer because you have to go E through the ICW into L Borne and then W all the way through the Rigolets then SW across the lake to W End.
John C. Blackman
Although the closing may be in-convenient–we never stop in New Orleans. Stop on the Gulf coast the day before and then cross the Mississippi and enjoy one of the anchorages or marinas just on the other side.
Just have a comment to make. From Mobile, Al going west to Padre Island, Texas, bridge and lock tenders were so helpful, unlike those along the east coast. We ran into alot of snotty ones who were just so unhelpful coming down from Baltimore, MD headed to FL. However along Mobile, AL and south every tender was just so nice and most would even open the bridge if you were early. The same can be said about the lock masters, as they were so helpful and seemed genuine in their desire to make your passage safe.