The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority unveiled the newly opened Canal Street Ferry Terminal in a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday (August 23). The new $43.5 million terminal includes a pedestrian bridge, wharf and a barge. 

“This new terminal is not only going to expand how people travel, but how to travel safer, and is accessible for all users, including those with limited mobility,” Federal Transit Administration Administrator Nuria Fernandez said during the ceremony.

In addition to Fernandez, the event featured local, state and federal government representatives, including U.S. Rep. Troy Carter and Louisiana State Sen. Gary Carter Jr. 

“For me, having grown up in Algiers, I’ve used the ferries my entire life,” Gary Carter said. “It connects our communities. I can’t tell you how important it is.”

The Canal Street Ferry Terminal project was funded in large part through the FTA’s 2015 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant program, which provided more than $12 million for the redevelopment. New Orleans’ RTA provided almost $6.5 million and the City of New Orleans contributed almost $6 million, according to the RTA.

The new Canal Street Ferry Terminal was unveiled on August 23, 2023. It features a wharf and new pedestrian bridge with elevators to accommodate those with disabilities. Credit: Minh Ha/Verite News

After years of delays, construction on the new terminal began in October 2020 and was expected to be completed in December 2022. However, the project was again delayed by nine months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It replaces the previous 41-year-old terminal where vehicles had access on the ferry. The new terminal prioritizes pedestrian accessibility, according to the RTA website.

RTA board chair Mark Raymond Jr., who is wheelchair- bound, said the installation means a lot to him “because of the intentionality in creating the elevator and the bridge that now serves as another means of connection.” 

“A lot of times people getting off the ferry will get stopped by that train and be late to work. Now they don’t have to,” said Raymond, a disability advocate and founder of the Split-Second Foundation, an organization focused on breaking barriers for people with disabilities.

The new Canal Street Ferry Terminal connects the Audubon Aquarium and Spanish Plaza. Julius Feltus , senior advisor for New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, said the redevelopment “demonstrates how we are pumping light back into the heart of our great city to create a more vibrant and resilient community that residents take pride in and visitors can enjoy.”

The city’s ferry terminal is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s plans to rebuild and revitalize New Orleans’ infrastructure and make it more accessible and environmentally-friendly. Last year, the transportation department gave $25 million in addition to the $5.7 million grant to build a new ferry landing in Algiers Point. 

“This city is a reminder of the role that public transportation has had, how it has grown and what it has become,” Fernandez said. “This building is a marvel and is emblematic of the city’s growth and its hopes for today and the future.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misreported the cost of the terminal as $44.3 million per a media advisory from the RTA. It was actually $43.5 million. The error has been corrected. 

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Minh (Nate) Ha is a recent magna cum laude graduate from American University with a Bachelor's degree in journalism. Originally from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Ha has spent the past four years in Washington,...

Khalil Gillon is a New Orleans native from Algiers. He attended Thomas Jefferson High School and is a graduate of Louisiana State University in political journalism. Passionate about politics, Gillon ran...