Panel #16 Mississippi Riverwalk
A) Plaquemine, Louisiana
Mile 208.2 AHP
The settlement that arose at the mouth of the Bayou Plaquemine took as its name the Native American word for the fruit, persimmon. Early settlers traveled on the bayou, but as the Mississippi River rounded Plaquemine Bend, it poured into the open bayou mouth. This mouth was later closed to prevent flooding. Plaquemine surrender quietly to Union forces during the Civil War, but Confederate gorillas were sporadically active in this area. Disaster struck in 1880 when the town's riverfront washed away in a massive bank cave in. In 1908, the Corps of Engineers built a navigation lock at the mouth of the bayou to allow shipping to move from the Mississippi River through Bayou Plaquemine to the Intercoastal Waterway. The lock became obsolete and is now closed. Long a trade center for the area's sugar and lumber, Plaquemine is now involved in the booming petrochemical industry.
B) Manchac Bend
Mile 215.5 AHP
The Bayou Manchac, running east from this bend was a major landmark in the early years of river exploration. French explorer, Iberville traveled here in 1699 hoping to discover a shortcut to his outpost on the Gulf of Mexico, but he found the bayou impassable. The French named the bayou in his honor, but later settlers used its original Native American name, Manchac. In 1763, it became the boundary between the British colony to the north and the Spanish colony to the south. The British built Fort Bute at the river junction and cleared the bayou as a shipping channel to the Gun of Mexico. Men were stationed at the bayou's entrance to keep out driftwood and floating debris. In 1779, Don Bernardo de Galves, the governor of Spanish Louisiana, captured the fort from the British and claimed all of British West Florida for Spain. After the U. S. Took possession of the area, Bayou Manchac was closed to prevent the British from sneaking up the Mississippi River during the war of 1812. Later, local planters damned the bayou's mouth to stop the flooding of their lands during times of high water. Today Bayou Manchac is permanently closed by the Mainline Levee System.
Photo Credit: The Lockhouse at Plaquemine Lock State Park/Louisiana Office of Tourism