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railroad, intersecting all the railroads entering the city—the Illinois Central, the Southern Pacific, the Louisville & Nashville, the Texas & Pacific and the New Orleans & Northwestern among others. The tracks of the belt road also run along the river front, so that a car of freight can be set alongside any one of the publicly owned and operated docks. Connected with the belt road are switch tracks leading to nearly fifty of the largest industrial plants in the city, putting each one of them into direct touch with all railroad, river and ocean transportation.
Up to the present time about eleven miles of double track belt road have been constructed at public expense at a total cost of half a million dollars. The charge made by the belt road for handling freight is two dollars a car, regardless of tonnage and empty cars are returned or delivered free of charge. For the past year the receipts of the belt road have exceeded the expenditures by about three thousand a month.
The belt road already owns a right of way running in a half circle about the city and it is proposed to shortly extend the line, making a total mileage of over twenty-two miles of double track. For the purpose of meeting the construction expense the Commission which has the affairs of the road in charge has authority to issue bonds up to two million dollars. This Commission is made up of the mayor and sixteen other members appointed from the ranks of the leading business men of the city. In practice it
A Mississippi River Steamboat.
These boats are important factors in the commerce of the
has been found easy to get able and public-spirited men who are thus willing to give their time and best efforts for the common good, without receiving a cent of salary in retoVn. The actual operation of the road is in the hands of a trained railroad superintendent, a secretary and an engineer.
The plan of operation is simple. If a shipper along the line has freight to be moved from his factory he simply notifies the nearest belt line clerk, naming the destination of the consignment. Next morning the belt will deliver the proper cars on his siding. When the loaded cars are switched out the shipper receives a receipt from the belt line conductor which is exchangeable at the office of the railroad to which the freight is consigned for a regular bill of lading. When inbound shipments are expected the belt line clerk is notified that certain cars, giving their numbers and initials and place of origin, are expected on a specified date. Within a few hours of their arrival in New Orleans they will be switched into the consignee's side-track. When cars are held up by shippers the belt line pays the raiTroad which owns them a per diem charge during the delay and collects in its turn from the shipper.
In addition to its primary work of thus offering equal opportunities to all shippers to and from New Orleans the belt line road also does other important work for the common good. Located about two miles apart along the river front on special switches connected with the belt are five garbage-receiving stations. Daily the garbage carts deliver their loads to specially-constructed garbage cars on these switches. Being first sprinkled with disinfectants, the garbage is then hauled over the belt tracks to points far out in the swamps, remote from the city, where it is dumped and scattered, the idea being eventually to use the land so filled up for agricultural purposes.
The Belt Commission now has under consideration a plan for establishing a system of public lighters on the river for transferring cargo from incoming ships to any desired dock. In this way it will be possible to avoid the necessity of steamers moving from one dock to another to discharge various portions of their cargoes.
Since New Orleans is located on low ground and since the Father of Waters has a distressing habit of suddenly swelling the flood which sweeps down from the north, the state has protected its metropolis by building great levees of stone and earth on either side of the channel. In the building of these great protecting walls the belt road has been of service, hauling the earth and other supplies for the contractors
and distributing it, without change, exictly where it is wanted.
Working in harmony with the Dock Commission and the Levee Board—both state bodies—the Belt Road Commission, appointed by the City, absolutely controls the river front and all its approaches, "for the benefit," as Commissioner Smith says, "of the entire community."
The South is supposed to be the most conservative part of the country. Yet not only has New Orleans set an example of the proper way to handle the great question of transportation, but it has also revolutionized her city government. Quietly and with no great excitement, under the leadership of one of the city papers, it has won a great fight against the old and corrupt gang, which has long had control of city affairs, and this spring it is expected that the administration will be put into the hands of the same class of public-spirited and enlightened citizens who have made a success of the Public Belt Road and other municipal utilities.
Plans are also under way for the organization of several steamship companies which propose to run new lines of boats to Central America and, after the Canal opens, to the thriving ports on the west coast of South America. Public spirit and private enterprise, working together, promise big things for the future of the Crescent City.
NEW ORLEANS AND THE BIG DITCH
In the good old days before New Orleans woke up, one or two railroad companies practically monopolized the whole river front. They kept out the other roads or made charges, for handling their cars, which were almost prohibitive. The state railroad commission regulated these switching charges, but was quite unable to prevent the annoying and costly delays which constantly resulted. The belt road, under public ownership, was the only way out.
Now, when the Canal opens, New
Orleans will be ready to serve as the shipping and transfer point for all the products of the great valley to the north. Trains and steamers from the interior, laden with freight destined for South America or Asia, will find in her belt road and public docks a fair and equal service that offers the same opportunity to all comers. So far as they are concerned, free and unrestricted competition has been restored and the greedy hand of special privilege has been cut off at the wrist.
Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius
<lf A man should be upright, not be £ep/ upright.
<J A man's happiness—to do the things proper to
^ What is not good for the swarm Is not good for
^ Nothing happens to anybody which he is not fitted
<J No form of Nature is inferior to Art, for the arts
<§ "Let thine occupations be few," saith the sage, "if
<| To a rational being it is the same thing to act ac-
WORLD AUTHORITY ON LIGHT
DROF. ALBERT A. MICHELSON, * Director of the Ryerson Laboratory of the University of Chicago, is the world's most learned and famous physicist, in the department of light. What he doesn't know about light simply is not known. A man, who can take the Nobel prize of $40,000.00 for his contribution to the illumination of men's minds on that luminous subject, stands apart. There are five Nobel prizes, of that same size given each year, making a total of $200^000, the same being the interest on a bequest of $9,000,000.00 left by Albert B. Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite. These prizes are for the most important discoveries or inventions in physr ics, in chemistry, in physiology or medicine, the best work in idealistic literature, and the best work in the interest of universal peace. President Roosevelt got a prize in the latter department ; Dr. Michelson took the prize in 1907 for discover^ e r i e s in light.
Prof. Michelson is a graduate of the U. S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He chose an instructorship in physics under the late Admiral Sampson rather than the usual ensignship in the service. Before he was twenty-five he had startled the scientific world by a brilliant research on the velocity of light, attaining such accuracy in the measurement of this important constant that it has been a standard
to this day. Considerably later at Case School and again at Ryerson Laboratory he carried out a research on the question whether the ether, which pervades all space and carries light and electrical vibrations, moves 't h the earth as that body revolves in its orbit; his conclusion was that it does not. That was another striking contribution t o ou r knowledge.
ELECTRIC WIZARD'S NEW WIZARDRY
"And my concrete furniture will be cheap, as well as strong," says Edison. "If I couldn't put it out cheaper than the oak that comes from Grand Rapids I wouldn't go into the business. If a newly-wed starts out with, say, $450 worth of furniture on the installment plan, I feel confident that we can give him more artistic and more durable furniture for $200. I'll also be able to put
out a whole bedroom set for $5 or $6." At present the weight of this concrete furniture is about one-third greater than wooden furniture, but Mr. Edison is quite confident he can reduce this excess weight to one-quarter. The concrete surface can, of course, be stained in imitation of any wood finish. The phonograph cabinet shown at the left of Edison has been trimmed in white and surface resembles enameled
The cabinet at his right is in old
gold, wood style.
This concrete cabinet easily withstood the no gentle usage of shipment by freight for a considerable distance.