To support, protect and enhance the continued operation of the three ferries in the Greater New Orleans Area in order to facilitate public transportation for the Communities, Businesses and Tourists they serve.
To not just maintain Greater New Orleans’ river traffic but to plan, visualize and execute water borne transportation up and down the Mississippi River on a regular and predictable schedule.
To promote Greater New Orleans’ ferries as a reliable form of transportation for tourists and commuters alike, in full support of the Mission Statement of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development: To deliver transportation and public works systems that enhances quality of life and facilitates economic growth and recovery.
Friends of the Ferry was organized in May of 2006 when, post Hurricane Katrina, the Crescent City Connection Division of the LA DOTD decided not to return the midnight hours to the Canal Street ferry. With the ferry only running until 8:45 p.m, only one shift out of three was able to get to and from work in the hospitality industry.
It took us a year to get the midnight ferry hours returned. It took another year to replace the management that made that decision. (No mean feat given they had been there for two decades.)
On December 2012, the bridge tolls on the Crescent City Connection Bridge expired and with them the dedicated funding source for the ferries.
Our local public officials, most notably, Senator David Heitmeier, Council-at-large Jackie Clarkson and Councilwoman for District C, Kristin Palmer fought for the ferries. The ferries are now financed through a state subsidy as well as passenger fares and operated by the RTA through their contractor, Transdev.
Honored by City Hall
TIMES PICAYUNE - Sept. 22, 2012
Once upon a time, in a council chamber not far away, Friends of the Ferry founder Fay Faron was officially proclaimed a "ferry godmother" by the New Orleans City Council.
Actually, it was Thursday when the council honored Faron for founding "the first private citizens grass-roots organization to effectively bring public and political awareness to the necessity of our ferries," as Councilwoman Jackie Clarkson read from the unanimously passed resolution.
After formally naming Faron a "ferry godmother," Clarkson giggled and led a standing ovation.
The rest of the council then reminisced about the ferries. Interim Councilman Ernest Charbonnet confessed to having sneaked out of the house when he was 13 to ride on the ferry while reading Mark Twain.
Friends of the Ferry, along with officials from Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, supported a bill in the Legislature that will let voters decide in November whether to continue the Crescent City Connection tolls. The tolls have paid for the ferries' operation in the past, though toll revenue would no longer go to the ferries in the future even if voters renew the charge.
The members pledged their love to the ferries and support for the new godmother.
"To the ferry godmother," Councilwoman Cynthia Hedge-Morrell said, "sprinkle some dust my way. Because I'm in your corner."
Councilwoman Kristin Gisleson Palmer turned a bit more serious, saying the city's ferries help bring economic development and housing equity to communities. "Our communities will die along the river if we don't have connectivity and access," said Palmer, whose district is divided by the river.
After 22 minutes of talk from the council, Faron was given an opportunity to speak.
She thanked Clarkson. "I have a little something for you, Jackie," she said, plucking a pair of fairy wings from under the table. They were made of pink sheer, trimmed in red feathers, and with Clarkson's name scribbled across them.
The ferry godmother then named Clarkson the "ferry grandmother."
Richard Rainey can be reached at email@example.com or 504.883.7052. Bruce Eggler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.826.3320. Claire Galofaro can be reached at email@example.com or 504.717.7701.