I would say screw both the Portland AND New Orleans. Switch lines, and go Baltimore. It's a much better CA. You can get away with two gunning it w/ one battery of two triple 8" and still get 50k or more attack. I know everyone says that the Alaska sucks and all that because of its glass jaw, but with good gunners that have at least 125 (normally people say 100+ but with 125 the spread is best, but not a complete block shot) and 250-300+ experts. From then on, it's smooth sailing if you are semi-competent with the BC, but spread will be noticeably worse with the level 59 triple 14". Even with 130 vets and 300 experts, my gunners spread was horrible. So I had to add another 100 experts.
But this is a game of doing what you want. This thread post may be too late to change your decision, but in my opinion the Baltimore line of both CA and BB is better than the Portland and New Orleans.
Choose what you want, and have fun playing the game.
(A little hint for the future, though. Instead of posting threads and having to wait days for an answer, just ask players in-game)