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New Orleans Algiers Ferry: 10 Ideas For It to Make Money, Make It More Fun and Insure Its Future

I found out recently the the New Orleans Algiers Ferry only offers pedestrian passengers. I was shocked to hear this because one of the cool things you used to be able to do is get in your car, ride across the river on the ferry, go to one of the pubs or restaurants on Algier’s Point and ride back and get a beautiful view of downtown New Orleans.

New Orleans Algiers Ferry: 10 Ideas For It to Make Money, Make It More Fun and Insure Its Future

Riding across the river is especially fun at night because you get a chance to see the city from a different vantage point. And it’s magnificent especially at sunset.

Now you can’t do that as you used to. You gotta park and pay five bucks in a parking garage and walk to the ferry landing and then pay another 2 bucks each way. It used to be free for pedestrians and a dollar for cars. The reason for all this is that funding now is limited and apparently they had to let workers go who managed the entrance and exit of vehicles.

This has hurt the businesses at Algier’s Point that offered food and drink. The company Transdev North America who now operates the ferries and made all the changes also had to cut back on the ferry schedule which really cut into the bottom line of these establishments.

The New Orleans Algiers Ferry -- crossing the Mississippi New Orleans style.

The New Orleans Algiers Ferry — crossing the Mississippi New Orleans style.

And the current exclusion of autos has made it difficult for those who lived at the Point and worked in the city to get to their jobs. Now they have to drive the circuitous route to the Crescent City Connection, endure the sometimes ridiculous traffic and drive over the river to get to work.

Anyway, I have some ideas about how the Algier’s Ferry could start making real money and get the cars back on it to the delight of everyone. I’m surprised no one has thought of these ideas.

The overall thrust of my ten ideas stems from the one idea of making the ferry a destination rather than just transportation from one side of the river to another.

10 things you could do to make the New Orleans Algier’s Ferry financially viable and allow cars again:

1. Make it into and entertainment venue so people would actually come and maybe spend an hour or so on the boat riding back and forth across the river. This would only be for pedestrians.

2. Fix up the interior to make it look nice and inviting with a few simple tables and chairs.

3. Set up a bar area for service.

4. Have a jazz combo playing throughout the day in the afternoons and into the evenings. How about special guest appearances by famous local musicians. These would be surprise experiences, not advertised so as not to flood the ferry with too many visitors.

5. Offer poboy sandwiches, jambalaya, gumbo. Washington State ferries have a little food court area, granted the trips are much longer but there is no reason this can’t be done on the Algier’s Ferry on a small scale.

6. Offer drinks like iced tea, soft drinks, espresso, beer, wine and a signature drink called the Algiers Ferry.

7. Have paid advertising on the walls inside and outside the boat.

8. Start an Algier’s Ferry patrons of different contribution levels where you could join for a minimum of $25 and with your card get free ridership once a month for a year and discounts to bars and restaurants.

9. Have a wall with the history of the river and the ferries on it, something interesting that people might want to make a special trip to see.

10. Have a guest speaker or historical volunteer who talks about the Mississippi River and its history, and answers questions from riders.

There ya go. That’s just some of the ideas one could put into place to make a real success of the New Orleans Algiers Ferry. It does not seem like they would be very difficult to implement. And we would hope it would insure for visitors and residents that these colorful and practical ferries would still be in existence for the long term.

Posted in New Orleans Culture, New Orleans Landmarks, New Orleans Life.

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