LASA digs into the Port of Los Angeles

LASA ventured farther in April than usual with a day at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach.

Juan – our terrific bus driver for the day – ushered us from the Huntington to pick up Geraldine Knatz and the rest of our group at Ports O’Call in San Pedro. Geraldine is the port expert – having started as a student working in marine biology and working her way to serve as the Executive Director. She is now a professor at USC but spent the morning sharing ghost stories of Warehouse No. 1 and the plans for the original pier and cargo buildings. From the water’s edge, we looked at SpaceX holdings and Robert Ballard’s vessel that located the remains of the Titanic. Geraldine pointed out the tremendous volume of cargo that comes in and out of the Port of Los Angeles and the various ways that cargo works its way inland.

We then crossed through the Port of Long Beach to meet with Ken Blake, a civil engineer working on the new Gerald Desmond Bridge. The new bridge will sit significantly higher to allow double stacked container vessels easy access. Thanks to his navigational skills, we ended up at work site underneath the new sections of bridge. The plans and execution of the towers and innovative construction methods captured our imaginations!

The day ended at the Japanese Fisherman Village and Memorial on Terminal Island with Naomi Hirahara, fiction and non-fiction author, who shared with us a map and her knowledge of the lost community of Japanese and Japanese American fisherman. Amidst the commercial port, she guided us to a few remaining buildings from the village and shared her thoughts about dwelling in this space. We are all looking forward to reading the book she and Geraldine wrote on Terminal Island.

We left the port to return to the Huntington. The port we encountered on our journey today though seemed more like three ports – the historical port, the current port, and the visions (and construction) of the port of the future.