“Everybody’s feeling it. The whole area is affected by it. Business has been very slow.” Tammy long, whose bar Swamp Inn off the West Bank Expressway in Westwego has long been a popular watering hole for Avondale shipyard workers.
Tammy Long sees it in the empty bar stools at the Swamp Inn. Sal Giardina sees it in the growing number of repossessions he handles at Gulledge Realty. And for Temento’s owner Steven Hartley, it’s in the drop in demand for recreational boating supplies.
The steady stream of layoffs at Avondale Shipyard hasn’t only changed the lives of the thousands of workers who, over the past three years, have taken their “rip money” and stepped into an uncertain future.
It also has delivered a thousand cuts to the West Bank communities that for 75 years have been anchored by the industrial giant, once the state’s largest private employer.
“Everybody’s feeling it,” said Long, whose bar off the West Bank Expressway in Westwego has long been a popular watering hole for shipyard workers.
“The whole area is affected by it. Business has been very slow.”
It’s difficult to pinpoint how many welders, pipefitters and crane operators have been let go since Northrop Grumman Corp. announced in 2010 it would wind down its Bridge City operations and close or sell the yard.
The official count marks a drop from 5,000 employees to 1,500, but it’s not hard to find workers who say the number employed now is much smaller.