The Railroad Ferries
A third ferry line added in 1858 – from Verret St. to Esplanade Ave. This later became the ferry that transported railroad cars across the river from Press Street / Elysian Fields to the Southern Pacific yards in Algiers.[i] Another railroad ferry was the Walnut Street Ferry which operated upriver of Audubon Park and connected the Westwego.
Several other public ferry crossings developed as the city spread up- and downriver from its original site. Six ferries served the New Orleans area in the 1930's. At one time, a whole series of ferries connected numerous cities along Mississippi River corridor. Also ships sailed across Lake Pontchartrain with both freight and passengers
The Second Bridge
The second vehicular bridge in the New Orleans region was the original GNO Bridge which opened in 1952 and was operated by Mississippi River Bridge Authority (MRBA).
The opening of this bridge caused a dramatic decline in ridership on private river ferries, making them unprofitable, but the bridge opened up the West Bank: it created a real estate boom.
In 1959, MRBA took over the Canal-to-Algiers ferry line, acquired the Gretna ferry in 1965 and created the Chalmette ferry service in 1969. This ferry is unique in the New Orleans region because it connects 2 state highways and is viewed by LDOTD as an essential link, unlike both the Algiers and Gretna ferries.
The 2nd span of the GNO Bridge opened in September 1988 after 7 years of construction and was renamed the Crescent City Connection based on a local naming contest. It too caused another boom in West Bank real estate development.
The New Orleans ferry system has the fourth highest ridership of any ferry system in the U.S. (The Crescent City Connection Bridge is the 5th busiest toll bridge in the country.)
More than 2 million passenger trips are made on the Canal Street ferry
annually. The only ferry systems with higher ridership are the Washington State Ferries, and the ferries in New York City. New Orleans has more trips than the Golden Gate Bridge system in San Francisco.
There is no charge for pedestrians. $1 for cars only charged from the Westbank to the Eastbank.
Fares collected to operating/maintenance expenses low compared to other ferry lines in US.
Based on 2009 study commissioned by Regional Planning Commission, majority of ferry riders use it to get to work.