At the corner of Levee and Toulouse stood until 1826, when it was destroyed by fire, the old French Colonial "Government House."
At the head of St. Louis Street are the wharves of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, which runs a regular line of steamships from this point to New York. The steamships come here loaded with miscellaneous cargoes, and carry off immense cargoes of cotton, sugar, molasses, rice, cotton seed oil and other characteristic Southern products. Immense sheds will be erected during 1904.
At a short distance below are the wharves of the Harrison Line, which trades between New Orleans and Liverpool, running two and three steamers a week, and sometimes one a day, when the trade is very brisk.
Just in front of the French Market, along the Levee line, is the
Lugger Landing, or "Picayune Tier
Here the Dago fishermen from the lower coast land their cargoes of oranges and oysters, and here gathers a swarm of luggers, with motley crews of traders, hustling about unloading cargoes of oysters, fish, oranges, vegetables and all the various offerings of the land and water along the bayous and lakes of the lower Louisiana coast. When waiting for a cargo of some sort to set sail again they loiter idly about, smoking cigarettes or cooking their meals over queer little charcoal furnaces. The "Tier" is a picturesque sight.
At the foot of Hospital Street is the landing of the New Orleans and Porto Rico Steamship Company, a line that has been established since the American occupation of Porto Rico, and which is already bringing large consignments of coffee from this tropical island, carrying back principally cargoes of Louisiana rice, which is fast finding a market in the island.
The Morgan Ferry Landing, where the Southern Pacific Company's freight cars are transferred by ferries to the Algiers side of the river, is at the foot of Elysian Fields Street. Transfers of passengers are made now at Avondale, about nine miles up the river.
The ferries which ply between New Orleans proper and Algiers all have their houses along the river front, at such convenient points as the foot of Canal Street, the French Market, the foot of Esplanade, Jackson, Louisiana Avenues and the foot of Richard Street.
Towards the lower limits of the port, on the Algiers side, is situated the
New Naval Station,
with its mammoth floating dry dock, the next largest /lock of the kind in the world. This immense structure is capable of raising high and dry a vessel of 18,000 tons displacement. It is over 500 feet long, and its inside measurement between the side walls is 100 feet.
While the great dock was designed primarily to care for the ships of the Navy, it is available for docking merchant ships of a greater size than the local private docks can accommodate. By permission of the Navy Department, a number of merchant vessels have already been docked, and other vessels can have the use of the dock whenever they desire, provided no naval vessels are at the time waiting to go in the structure.
Bermuda, which is slightly larger than the dock here, but it has not as great lifting capacity. A visit to the dock and Naval Station will prove instructive and interesting. New buildings, making vast improvements, were erected at the Station during 1903.
Quaintest of all in this ever-changing panorama along the levee are the
a queer people who live outside the revetment on the river side. The batture is an alluvial elevation of the bed of the river caused by the constant washing of the great stream towards the Algiers side. The batture is continually being enlarged by the sandy deposits from the river, especially along the front from Louisiana Avenue up the stream. As far back as 1807 this batture land was the subject of controversies between the owners of the soil along the river front of the Faubourg Ste. Marie and the folks who came and made their homes there. In September, 1807 there occurred the "Batture Riots," and the eminent jurist, Edward Livingston, represented private claimants, but was opposed by the public in two distinct outbreaks.
The batture is peopled by quaint shifting people who come down the river in skiffs looking for homes. They build their houses along this deposit, under the shadow of the levee, the most interesting settlements being from Louisiana Avenue towards Carroll ton. The houses are built like flatboats, on stilts, in such a way that they are enabled to rise and float; for the batture is dry or submerged, according to the season. Numerous floating galleries connect the houses with the shore. When the batture is dry the people lay out little vegetable gardens and pretty flower plots, that make their homes very picturesque and attractive. They keep chickens and goats, and gain their living by going out in skiffs, picking up driftwood and selling it in town. The batture is considered outside the city's limits, and is no man's land. The people living there take advantage of this, paying no taxes or rentals. No sight in New Orleans is more picturesque than these floating houses under the big wharves, rising and falling with the stream. The batture people are very good-natured and kind, and have a hospitality that is all their own.The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904