Like John Day Fossil Beds, Jean Lafitte National Historic Park & Preserve is another park that’s comprised of various sites scattered all over the place. Each one has a different theme--that should probably be focus—but we are, after all, discussing a park. I’m not entirely sure why the park service decided to name a park after a pirate, but maybe politicians felt a certain connection??
There are 6 Visitor Centers in southern Louisiana. We visited 3 of them: Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery in Chalmette and Barataria Preserve near Marrero.
We saw the battlefield from both the American and the British side. Not as large as you’d think—and yet it is. On one side is the Mississippi. The field is really swampy and the day we were there it had standing water in several places. Must have been a terrible place to have to cross. I’ve still got chunks of the song in my head…let me know if you can remember more than the first verse, the chorus—and of course, the part about the gator!
The cemetery location was part of the battlefield. It was established as a burial place for Union soldiers who died in the Gulf area during the Civil War. Only 4 soldiers from the Battle of New Orleans are buried there. It’s a quiet peaceful place.
We went back to the RV park (located on the “northshore of New Orleans”—that means the north side of Lake Pontchartrain), going over the Huey Long bridge, through parts of New Orleans, then crossing the 23-mile causeway across the lake. It’s the longest bridge in the US, and I thought it would be more interesting…but it’s kind of boring, not much to see but water and the cars in front of you. There are 2 drawbridges and lots of call boxes. Eventually (yawn) we made it across, then struggled with rush-hour traffic through Covington.
There are three other sites for Jean Lafitte that we didn’t visit—but we will next time! French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans, Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice and Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux.