• Image of swamp, bayou, and marsh

    Jean Lafitte

    National Historical Park and Preserve Louisiana

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  • Labor Day Closures

    All park sites closed Monday, September 1, for Labor Day. Follow the link for information about park hours and days and about access to the Barataria Preserve and Chalmette Battlefield/Chalmette National Cemetery on holidays. More »

Barataria Preserve

Imageof three turtles sunning on a log in the water
Summer's here---if you're a turtle, it's time to catch a few rays.
 

Important information:

  • Never approach, harass, or feed alligators. Remember that they are wild animals and can move very quickly.
  • If you plan to kayak or canoe, check with the rangers at the visitor center or call them at 504-689-3690 ext. 10 for a waterways update. Vegetation grows quickly on preserve waterways and can make them difficult to canoe through, so it's a good idea to check first to find out about waterway conditions.

Special ranger talk - Explore the preserve's human history with "The Civil War Comes to Barataria." What was life like on a plantation before the Civil War? Why were Barataria's swamps a refuge for escaped slaves? What part did New Orleans play in the journey from the Civil War to civil rights? Find out at the preserve visitor center at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 16. Free. (Learn more about the Civil War at the National Park Service's Civil War web page.)


 

The Barataria Preserve outside Marrero offers a taste of Louisiana's wild wetlands. The preserve's 23,000 acres include bayous, swamps, marshes, forests, alligators, nutrias, and over 200 species of birds (learn more about preserve wildlife here). Boardwalk and dirt trails wind through the preserve; check out the trail map, enjoy a self-guided tour, or explore with a cell phone tour. Waterways can be explored by canoe or kayak; hikers and paddlers can check out the preserve map here. Exhibits at the preserve visitor center highlight how the Mississippi River built Louisiana's wetlands, the national importance of the area, and the relation between the land and its people. Kids can earn a badge with the Junior Ranger program. An environmental education center is used for field trips and special programs. The center's museum store has books, music, children's books, insect repellent, field guides, and more on sale. Admission to the preserve is free. Click here for directions and program listings for specific dates.

6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero (near Crown Point)
504-689-3690 ext. 10
Visitor center is open Wednesday-Sunday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; closed on federal holidays and Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 17, in 2015). Parking lots are open for access to trails daily including federal holidays 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. except on Mardi Gras, when the preserve is completely closed. Useful information about public transportation, regulations on pets, etc., is available here. Specific information about the preserve is at the Barataria Preserve Frequently Asked Questions page.

Events and programs

  • Field trips for schools and other groups by reservation.
  • Girl and Boy Scout programs.
  • Wetlands walk 10:00 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Join a ranger for a guided walk through wild Louisiana swamp and marsh. Stop by the visitor center to find out which trail the day's walk will explore. Free.
  • Ranger's choice talk 2:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Nature, human history, fascinating critters, emerging ecological challenges: there are a lot of stories in Louisiana's wetlands! Depending on weather and topic, 15-minute talk will either be at the visitor center or on the Visitor Center Trail; stop by the visitor center just before 2:00 for location update. Free.
  • Summer camps for kids. See you in 2015!

Learn about

  • BioBlitz 2013, a 24-hour blitz of scientific discovery, that was held at the Barataria Preserve on May 17 and 18. You can learn more about this partnership between the National Park Service and National Geographic here. The BioBlitz page also has links to National Geographic science and nature webpages; stay tuned for information about number of species counted, what the park will do with the information that was discovered, etc.
  • the Active Trails program and how you can participate.
  • research at the Barataria Preserve.
  • more things to do in Jefferson Parish, where the preserve is located.
  • the town of Jean Lafitte, right down the road from the preserve.
 
Image of green tree frog clinging to plant stem

Take another look at that plant stem you're passing: is that a green tree frog camouflaging itself in the vegetation?

Wanda Lee Dickey

Follow the link to learn about animals and plants in south Louisiana and remember that you can report all bird and animal sightings at the preserve visitor center to help with park research and management.

You can also follow the results of BioBlitz 2013 (May 17-18), a 24-hour attempt to inventory as many of the Barataria Preserve's plants and animals as possible. Find out about what BioBlitz learned and what the park will do with the information at the BioBlitz page.

 

Did You Know?

Young opossum riding their mother's back.

The opossum is North America's only native marsupial! The female will carry young in her pouch for 2-3 months and then on her back another 1-2 months. A female will usually have 7-8 babies, and each one latches onto one of 13 teats in her pouch.