USS Alabama Park after Katrina

Battleship Memorial Park Plain Wrecked

I noted that Hurricane Katrina has hit the USS Alabama (BB 60) pretty hard, causing a list of 8 degrees. Not from flooding, but because the ship sits on the bottom and the bottom shifted during the storm.

“We originally thought it would take as long as 30 days and as much as $50,000 to straighten the ship,” [park executive director Bill] Tunnell said. But, he said, because of the unusual way Katrina’s storm surge affected the World War II battleship, the work required nine months and $2.7 million.

An estimated 12-foot storm surge lifted the 680-foot-long battleship out of the “bowl” it had rested in since the park opened in 1965, Tunnell said.

When the water receded, the Alabama was left listing to port on the side of a sand bank that surrounded the bowl.

The sand had piled up there, he said, as a result of dredging work, which was done to move the battleship into place at the park four decades ago.

So it’s not just the DD(X) and LCS programs where costs are spiraling out of control. Even WW2 battleships aren’t immune to ship budget overruns.

Anyway, the total cost of renovating the park are approaching $7 million and attendance is way down. The ship is back to even.

Here’s an overhead shot of the area:

From Google.

Pic of the ‘Bama in the old days below.

In Casco Bay, Maine, during her shakedown period, circa December 1942. Note her Measure 12 (modified) camouflage scheme.

The first plastic model kit of a ship I ever built was of the Alabama. Years later I sank it with a BB gun. (No DD(X) jokes, please…)

Comments

  1. I was there back in May and the damage was pretty substantial to the park and the ship was slightly off kilter. All of the planes from the museum were sitting out on the tarmac and the SR-71 was damaged by the storm surge smashing it against the inside of the building. It was quite slow when we were there, and there were many parts of the ship where we had it all to ourselves. It’s a great visit if any of you get down to Mobile. The Alabama is one of my family’s favorite attractions on our road trips from Texas to Florida.