U.S.S. Kidd likely to disappear from downtown Baton Rouge for a year as it goes in for repairs
BATON ROUGE - The U.S.S. Kidd is the second most visited attraction in Baton Rouge behind Tiger Stadium, and it's almost just as old. With its old age, the U.S.S. Kidd is also in dire need of repairs.
The repairs are too extensive to happen in Baton Rouge, which means it could make its first voyage since its big arrival in Baton Rouge in 1982.
Parks Stephenson is the executive Director at the U.S.S. Kidd Museum, and says the ship is more than due for an overhaul.
"The river's been down lower than it has been historically," Stephenson said. "So, she's spending more and more time out of the water. We're experiencing breaches in the hull, which are flooding."
The Kidd, which normally floats on the Mississippi River, currently sits on its out of water supports while the river is low. With that happening more often, those supports are taking on more weight and experiencing damage.
The river's height will also determine when the ship can move and changes can happen. When the river is high, the ship can float off of its supports and safely cruise down the Mississippi. On the flip side, the same will determine when the ship can return.
Tim Nessmith, the education coordinator and historian at the U.S.S. Kidd, hopes to give the ship an entirely new look, alongside with the routine patch-ups.
For the much-needed repairs and historical renovations, it's predicted the U.S.S. Kidd is headed down the Mississippi to New Orleans dry dock for roughly $6.3 million in renovations.
"We have not yet picked the shipyard," Stephenson said. "There's going to be a competition for it, but it will be some place south that can accommodate a ship that size [and] do the work on an 80-year-old technology."
With the major attraction gone, Stephenson says he's already thinking of ways to continue bringing in guests.
"I'd like to keep the museum not just open, I'd like to keep it active," he said. "I do have plans to make this museum and this ship more of an attraction."