Friday, June 11, 2010

4 Horsemen Approach South Louisiana?

The demise of South Louisiana has been forecast many times before, but we're now looking at some bleak times.

There is of course the Gusher in the Gulf that just goes on and on, ruining the environment and putting the fisherman out of business. P&J's is hit and almost every single fishing ground in the state will eventually get whacked. So many people in South Louisiana are employed bringing nature's bounty to shore.

There's also the "Economic Nightmare" of the Drilling Moratorium. Thousands of Louisianians are employed working offshore or supporting those offshore (including yours truly) and the rig count is one of the most important factors in the health of the industry. Artificially setting it to zero will have consequences.

Another factor to consider: Avondale Shipyards is looking at tough times. It was once the largest private employer in the state. As recently as the 90's, it was still the 3rd largest employer in the state. Candice's grandfather was one of the many throughout the tiny Acadiana towns to take the bus to the yard. Business is slowing dramatically and while they're OK for now, there's not much on the horizon to give them hope. From what I understand, it's a mixture of factors. First off, Louisiana doesn't have the congressional heft it used to. Landrieu has some swing, but the rest are pathetic and it's a far cry from the days of Breaux, Livingston, Boggs, and even $Bill. Avondale is also a bit of an old yard. It's main advantage is that it's got access to deep draft waterways (the Mississippi has 3, 100'-deep channels all the way up to about Baton Rouge). Northrup-Grumman, which also owns Pascagula, is looking to shift workers to Mississippi, where they have plenty of work for the foreseeable future and a much more modern yard. Northrup-Grumman may even completely close Avondale. Most of the newer US Navy ships tend to be shallower draft, anyway (most of the capital ships started under the 600-ship navy program are still in service with less of a need for replacements at the moment). Here's a nice photo for old-time's sake: USS Iowa passes under the Huey P in 1982.

Finally, Michoud only has a few more E.T.'s left to ship and is facing big job losses.

Oh well, at least there'll be the lawyers suing BP to support the economy (unless of course, the trial gets sent to Houston)...

UPDATE- Avondale Shipyards to close, according to Northrup Grumman.


Anonymous said...

as allways , thank you clay for giving us ways to think about this besides the local talk radio points.

Charlotte said...

I agree with anon. Good to hear a multi-faced point of view.

Charlotte said...

That's "faceted" not "faced". *crosses eyes*

Clay said...
WH Says BP Will Pay Idled Rig Workers.

From what I've heard through the grapevine, BP shot this idea down. They're refusing to pay idled rig workers. It's be awkward at best, but now it looks like it just won't happen.

One good thing: at least the Avondale workers will (FWIH) be offered jobs at Pascagula. At least they have a job offer and it isn't all the way across the country. It's still a big loss for Louisiana.