It's not just the price of fuel that could take a hit from Hurricane Gustav and idle oil rigs in the Gulf. Billions of dollars are at stake in other Gulf Coast businesses from shipping to tourism. The Port of New Orleans has shut down as the Coast Guard closed the lower Mississippi river. Shipping companies have diverted cargo and sent ships out of the storm's path. Visitors have left the famed French Quarter, and most hotels have closed. Coastal casinos have shut down. Gustav's projected storm surge could cut through the heart of Louisiana's sugar industry, which includes 600 growers, 11 processing mills and an estimated half-billion dollars a year in crop value. Still, some experts think the economic impact might not be all that bad. One economist says 20 to 25 billion dollars in the context of a 10-trillion-dollar economy, "it's not really a very big deal."
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