Experience Atchafalaya Home School Day!

When: Friday November 20

Time: 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Experience Atchfalaya Home School Day is a living history day planned by the park involving many home school groups from the surrounding area. This program will take place at the Plaquemine Lock SHS November 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This day gives students an opportunity to observe presentations focusing on the Atchafalaya Basin.  The program will be in four parts running from 9:00 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Part one will be arrival and opening presentation.  We know that coming from different areas, individuals will not arrive all at the same time.  From 9:00 – 9:30 a presenter will be displaying one large activity that everyone can see and participate in.  Individuals during this time can view the presentation, view the Lock, see the Mississippi River, or take restroom breaks.

 Promptly at 9:30 we will gather everyone together for the formal program.  All home schoolers will be divided into groups and assigned to a station.  Each group will hear a formal presentation then be rotated to the next station.  At this time our demonstrations are the Iberville Museum, our history, and Native American culture/history.  All of the demonstrations tie in with local history and the Atchafalaya Basin.  Rotating from station to station will last until roughly noon.

 The third part of the program is mostly a free-for-all from 12:00 to 1:00. Individuals are invited to view the antique boat pavilion. Picnicking on our grounds is allowed and can be done at this time.  Also many local fast food establishments are minutes away from the site.

 The final event for the day is a special presentation on preserving and protecting the basin given by Dean Wilson, the current Atchafalaya Basin Keeper.  This will begin at 1:00 p.m. and last about an hour.  Mr. Wilson has put together a wonderful presentation on what is the basin, what it does, how important it is, and how to better protect it today and into the future. 

In case of rain we ask that you call the park to find out the status of the event.  It is an outdoor event and nice weather is necessary for its success.  The numbers to call are (225) 687-7158 or outside of the Baton Rouge area (887) 987-7158.  If there are any questions please call Kathleen Mocklin or email plaqlock_int@crt.state.la.us.

The event is free for all Home School groups.

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About Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site

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. From the early 1700s, 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. 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. 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. The gates were 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. Increased river traffic during and after World War II put a severe strain on the lock's capacity and demand increased for a larger lock at Port Allen. In 1961, a larger set of locks began operating at Port Allen and the Plaquemine Lock was closed after 52 years of service. Thirteen years after closing the lock, the Corps of Engineers supervised the construction of the present levee across the mouth of Bayou Plaquemine at the Mississippi River, giving the historic old structure greater stability and providing flood protection, while closing off access to the Mississippi River through Bayou Plaquemine. In 1972 the Plaquemine Lock structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, an honorary designation for significant historic sites. In addition to the lock, the area includes the Gary James Hebert Memorial Lockhouse, which serves as a museum and visitors center. Hebert worked to prevent the destruction of the lock by the Corps of Engineers and campaigned to have the area preserved as a historic site. Facilities also include a stylized adaptation of the Lockmaster's house which provides open-air pavilion space to display various water craft used when the lock was operational.
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