Los Angeles, Miami, the New York region -- those are areas that probably come to mind when you think about port security. But in Louisiana, the focus is on Port Fourchon (pronounced Foo-shon).
The port is a beehive of activity, with hundreds of boats constantly on the move, carrying supplies or crew members to offshore oil rigs. There are miles of pipes waiting to be put on ships and brought out to sea for use on oil rigs and on the ocean floor.
But what you don't see is what makes the port commission here worried about the possibility of a terrorist attack.
Each day, more than 1.5 million barrels of crude oil are pumped from offshore to Port Fourchon through underground pipelines. The site handles nearly 20 percent of all the crude oil the United States uses each day.
A well-planned terrorist attack would sever this critical energy artery, causing significant damage to the U.S. economy.
Right after 9/11, Port Fourchon received a healthy security grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It enabled the port to set up 16 cameras with an unblinking eye on all important sites on the 700-acre facility. The harbor police also bought a patrol boat to monitor activity near offshore rigs.
But Port Fourchon can't count on getting any more money from DHS, even though the federal agency doles out millions of dollars each year.
Ted Falgout, the port's commissioner, says DHS changed the criteria for its security grants -- DHS gauges the amount of cargo that comes in, and oil through a pipeline doesn't fit that bill. So Port Fourchon will likely have to be content with what it has, despite its desire for more patrol boats, harbor police and training.
So the busy port goes on with business as usual, hoping it never has to deal with a terrifying "what if" scenario. DHS did not respond to requests for comment on this story.