Budget Cuts to Impact Louisiana State Historic Sites

MEDIA ADVISORY

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                                 

Contact: SharonBroussard

July 20, 2010                                                                                      

 ph. 225-342-5473

Budget Cuts to Impact Louisiana State Historic Sites

 BATON ROUGE – The Office of State Parks is announcing that, due to extensive budget cuts in the upcoming fiscal year, five historic sites will be available by appointment only.

“It is unfortunate that we have to diminish the availability of these cultural treasures,” said Dr. Stuart Johnson, Assistant Secretary for the Office of State Parks. “The budget constraints of the last few years have left us with a small number of ‘belt-tightening’ options. Our hope is that we will be able to re-open these sites within the next couple of years.”

Effective July 26, the following State Historic Sites will be placed in ‘caretaker status’:

  • Centenary SHS, Jackson
  • Fort Jesup SHS, Many
  • Fort Pike SHS, New Orleans
  • Marksville SHS, Marksville
  • Plaquemine Lock SHS, Plaquemine

 Los Adaes and Winter Quarters State Historic Sites were placed in ‘caretaker status’ last year. Visitors to these seven sites will have to contact the sites prior to their visit. Programs at these Historic Sites, as listed on the Louisiana State Parks’ on-line Calendar of Events, will be cancelled. It is always recommended that visitors call ahead, when planning to attend a program, to confirm that the program is still occurring.

For more information regarding Louisiana State Parks, visit http://www.lastateparks.com.

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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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