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The Morganza Control Structure is shown May 28, 2019, holding back flood water from the swollen Mississippi River.

In an economy ostensibly defined by fiber optic cables, cross-country interstates and bustling airports, it’s easy to forget that a fortune in commerce still depends on a trade artery that was vital before the United States was founded — the Mississippi River.

That reality has hit home this summer as Louisiana’s ports deal with the complications of historically high water along the river as a result of heavy spring rains. The high water has limited river traffic, slowed the use of locks along the Big Muddy, and made it harder for vessels to unload their cargo.

We hope things get back to normal soon. In the meantime, the recent challenges to shipping are a powerful reminder of the Mississippi’s importance to Louisiana, America and the world.