Louisiana State

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Historic Sites

Audubon State Historic Site
The main feature of the 100-acre woodland site is Oakley House, where John James Audubon lived for a short time. Other facilities include formal and kitchen gardens, a separate kitchen and weaving room, a plantation barn, two slave cabins, a picnic area with a shelter and a nature trail through the acres of magnolia and poplar trees. For information call: (888)677-2838

Fort Jesup State Historic Site
Fort Jesup is a reminder of a young nation's growing pains and a relic of Louisiana's rich international heritage. When the Louisiana Purchase Treaty of 1803 failed to clearly define the western boundary of Louisiana, which was also the western border of the country at that time, the United States claimed eastern Texas and Spain claimed western Louisiana. The ensuing dispute gave rise to the "Neutral Ground," an area where the laws of neither nation were enforced. Soldiers and settlers were kept out and rogues of various stripes ruled the region. After the territorial boundary was finally fixed at the Sabine River by the Florida Purchase Treaty of 1819, the United States built Fort Jesup in 1822. Lieutenant Colonel Zachary Taylor established and commanded the garrison, which was originally called Cantonment Jesup in honor of Taylor's good friend Brigadier General Thomas Sidney Jesup. Taylor's troops managed to establish law and order in the Neutral Ground and Fort Jesup remained an important military post for nearly 25 years. Soldiers at Fort Jesup performed many duties which opened the frontier to American settlers: building roads, surveying the frontier, clearing the Red River and negotiating treaties. The garrison at Fort Jesup was also called on to control slave insurrections in Alexandria and to catch criminals trying to cross the border. The soldiers of Fort Jesup saw thousands of settlers move into the province of Texas and then watched Texas become independent of Mexican authority. In 1845, half of the U.S. Army traveled through the Fort Jesup area en route to war with Mexico. The fort was abandoned in 1846 when it was no longer needed as a border outpost. In 1961, Fort Jesup was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior and, as such, joined a select group of properties which have been recognized for their importance in American history. Located on the historic San Antonio Road, the fort was once a large complex of 82 structures. Four companies of the Seventh Louisiana Infantry made up the first garrison of Fort Jesup. There were 141 officers and men. Another 51 soldiers manned Cantonment Taylor, a nearby temporary post established in 1823. Together they made this area the most securely garrisoned outpost in Louisiana. For information call: (888)677-5378

Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site
The Mississippi River and surrounding waterways have long been vital to the people and economy of Louisiana. The waters have also posed a serious threat of flooding to the low-lying areas of the state, making control of the waterways as important as the waters themselves. As a distributary of the Mississippi River and a route to the heartland of Louisiana through the Atchafalaya Basin, Bayou Plaquemine was used as a navigable artery centuries before the age of European exploration. The bayou was documented as early as 1699 in the journal of Pierre le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, who noted the large amount of debris lodged at its mouth. For the next century and a half, the waterway was dredged and widened, making it navigable during high water to most vessels plying the Mississippi River. During this time, Bayou Plaquemine served as a commercial transport route, promoting settlement and economic prosperity in southwest and northern Louisiana via the Atchafalaya, Red and other rivers. After the Civil War, Bayou Plaquemine's natural access to the Mississippi River was terminated. The repeated flooding of Iberville Parish necessitated the construction of a levee across the mouth of the bayou to function as a dam and bridge. At the same time, through-traffic via the bayou was shut down. The Plaquemine Lock was designed by Colonel George W. Goethals (1858-1928), the assistant to the chief engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Goethals later gained distinction as chairman and chief engineer of the Isthmian Canal Commission for the design and construction of the Panama Canal. He became the first civil governor of the Canal Zone. When completed in 1909, the lock was significant for having the highest fresh water lift of any lock in the world -- 51 feet -- and a unique engineering design that utilized a gravity flow principle. This was later modernized by the installation of hydraulic pumps. The lock served its purpose well by providing a short-cut from the Mississippi River into Louisiana's interior. By 1925, Bayou Plaquemine had become the northern terminus of the Intracoastal Canal system. For information call: (877)987-7158

Poverty Point State Historic Site
The site features ancient Native American earthworks which date back to 12 centuries before the birth of Christ. A museum includes an audio-visual presentation and numerous artifacts found on the site. An archaeological laboratory, picnic areas, an observation tower, restrooms and self-guided hiking trails complete the facility. For information call: (888)926-5492

Los Adaes State Historic Site
Los Adaes, the symbol of New Spain in Louisiana, was once the capital of Texas and the scene of a unique cooperation among the French, the Spanish and the indigenous Native Americans. An area rich in archaeological finds, it thrives today as one of Louisiana's most intriguing state Historic Sites. This 14-acre site is the location of a Spanish Fort, garrisoned in the 1700s. Significant archaeological finds have been a tremendous aid in interpreting the fort and its occupants. For information call: (888)677-5378

Tourist Attractions

American Rose Center Gardens
Nation's largest park dedicated to roses. Towering pines give way to the beauty of 20,000 roses. Stop & smell the roses. For information call: (318)938-5402

Blue Bayou Water Park
Louisiana's largest water theme park. 12 waterslides, wave pool, lazy river, gift shop, snack bars, kiddie area. For information call: (225)753-3333

Greater Baton Rouge Zoo
Over 1000 animals await you in a beautiful garden-like setting. A new aquarium featuring Louisiana fish and reptiles. Train rides. Kids Zoo and more! For information call: (225)775-3877

Aquarium of the Americas
Top 5 aquariums in the US. Largest collection of sharks & jellies in the US. 10-ft Louisiana native white gator. 400,000-gallon Gulf of Mexico exhibit. For information call: (504)581-1629

Paddlewheeler Creole Queen
Daily Battlefield Cruise aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen (food & beverage available). Nightly dinner/jazz cruise with creole buffet & entertainment. For information call: (800)445-4109