Piracy on the high seas | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Piracy on the high seas

Posted By on Thu, Aug 21, 2008 at 3:55 PM

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This is too rich.

I've written sarcastically about NLR Admiral Pat Hays' designs on adding another derelict naval craft, the USS Orleck, the rusting destroyer pictured above, to the Dogtown Fleet Ready Reserve on the Arkansas River. This, even though the fabled Hoga tug has failed to materialize to join the old submarine and assorted flotsam moored on the north shore. The Orleck is being booted from a shipyard in Orange, Texas.

Skimming my hometown newspaper, the Lake Charles American Press, I find that my birthplace may snare this prize from North Little Rock, which coincidentally is the city where I took up residence when I arrived in Arkansas in 1973. The Lake Charles City Council has given the Orleck Foundation a permit as a first step to put the ship beneath the Interstate 10 bridge, just around the corner from the city's namesake lake and just yards up the Calcasieu River from a floating casino. After sundown, the view from the Orleck's deck will be a wonderland by night -- a twinkling skyline of chemical plant structures, their stacks flaring gas and belching back-lit vapors in a scene worthy of Dante.

Lake Charles still must clear some hurdles. So damn the torpedos, Mayor Hays. Maybe you can still snag that scow. You might also look into bidding on that $24 million Wetland Discovery Center that Lake Charles is about to land (also mentioned in the linked article). But, no, on second thought, maybe not. To quote you: wetlands are bug-infested swamps, best drained for taxpayer-subsidized sporting goods stores.

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