James Buchanan Eads
The Mississippi River in the 100-mile-plus stretch between the port of New Orleans, Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico frequently suffered from silting up of its outlets, stranding ships or making parts of the river unnavigable for a period of time. Starting in 1876, James Buchanan Eads (1820–1887) solved the problem with a wooden jetty system that narrowed the main outlet of the river. This caused the river to speed up and cut its channel deeper, so allowing year-round navigation and safe access to the river for large steamers. In the twenty years following the completion of the jetties, trade at New Orleans doubled. Eads was thus honored by having the port at South Pass named after him.
The port was completely devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Very little remained except the lighthouse and a few very lucky fishing camps. Two persons who rode out the storm there have yet to be heard from and are presumed dead.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) originally obligated $400,000 to rebuild the Port Eads Marina after Katrina. Parish President Billy Nungesser took office in 2007. He felt the $400,000 was insufficient and he personally traveled to Washington, D.C. and appealed the amount. In early 2009, FEMA authorized up to $12 million for the project.
Pictorial History of Port Eads