That Post With the Cool Maps

April 16, 2011

Last Monday, the meeting of the Red Stick Fly Fishers had a speaker from the Louisiana Office of Coastal Restoration. The people in this room knew the Louisiana coast. They've seen the contrast between the gold marsh grass and the deep purple water at dawn or dusk. They've paddled alongside dolphins and watched the pelicans go after their fish.

Others know the coast less personally. They know that this unique ecosystem provides America with most of its shrimp, crab, and oysters. They know that most of the oil and natural gas come through our state. And they have some idea that the state is washing away.

What we might not realize is how much else comes through Louisiana ports. Without them, almost everything we consume -- food, textiles, electronics, vehicles, toys, and pretty much anything else you think of (because really, do we make anything at all in this country any more?) come through these ports.

The speaker showed us some maps that amazed me. These show the amount of goods trucked from major U.S. ports to other parts of the country. The thickness of the red lines correspond to the amount of freight moved by truck.

First, the port of New York.

NY Traffic

Los Angeles

LA Traffic


houston Traffic

New Orleans

NO Traffic

Louisiana Ports Combined

Louisiana Traffic

How about by sea? Here's a map showing how goods are moved by water within the country.

Water Transport

I'll leave you now to find more scholarly sites about why the coast is eroding away and what we should do about it. I have my thoughts. (It was nice having you around Plaquemines Parish, but time to let you sink beneath the sea.) Besides, having an intelligent opionion means providing intelligent reasoning. I'm capabile of doing that, but it doesn't sound like a fun way of spending a Saturday morning.

Note: these maps were pulled from a presentation published on There is a large library there of great information. You should really check it out if you're interested in this at all.