Emergency Closure of Park Sites

Image of downed trees and branches over a boardwalk trail
Trees and debris covered the Palmetto Trail after the storm (September 6 photo).

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News Release Date: September 18, 2012

Contact: Kristy Wallisch, 504-382-0296

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Cleanup continues after Hurricane Isaac. All sites of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve have reopened as of Sunday, September 9; as of September 18, all trails at the Barataria Preserve are open. The latest news is in bold and was posted on Tuesday, September 18. Learn more about previous hurricane impacts on the park here.

  • Barataria Preserve, 6588 Barataria Blvd., Marrero - Park staff flew over the preserve on Sunday, September 2. They reported minimal damage to preserve buildings but trails and other areas required on-the-ground assessments and inspections via boats. No major impacts to shorelines were seen and waterways appeared mainly clear of downed trees. On the flyover, park staff observed substantial leaf loss but low frequency of severe damage to the swamp forest tree canopy. Although water sampling is done regularly at the preserve, additional sampling is underway to measure possible saltwater intrusion, pollutants, and post-storm habitat conditions. Park staff began recovery work on Tuesday, September 4: assessing damage to trails, monitoring changes to natural resources, and cleaning up parking lots and ground-level restrooms that flooded. After finishing with the battlefield and national cemetery work described below, a National Park Service arborist crew began work at the preserve, removing fallen trees from trails and cutting branches that could fall on trails. The preserve visitor center and all trails are now open. Please note that incoming phone service to the preserve is still out of order.
  • Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, 8606 W. St. Bernard Hwy., Chalmette - Nearly 40 trees fell or were damaged during the storm. The arborist crew arrived on Sunday, September 2, and worked on the site through Saturday, September 8. Heavy equipment for the project was delivered on Tuesday, September 4. Park staff have checked the national cemetery for any headstone damage. The large sycamore learning on the front porch of the national cemetery superintendent's lodge (used for site offices) appears to be the only structural impact; see the picture below. The battlefield and national cemetery reopened on Sunday, September 9. Please note that the battlefield entrance sign on St. Bernard Hwy. was blown down by the storm; the battlefield entrance is about half a mile upriver (towards New Orleans) from the national cemetery (the national cemetery sign is intact).

Image of flooded road with Barataria Preserve sign visible at right
High water from Hurricane Isaac flooded the Barataria Preserve; the "river" is Highway 45/Barataria Boulevard on August 30.
Image of a large uprooted tree leaning on a two-story building
The most challenging post-Isaac task at Chalmette National Cemetery was removing a large sycamore tree that fell on the superintendent's lodge, built in the 1930s to house the national cemetery superintendent and now used for offices.
Image of men in hard hats and safety vests working on downed trees after Hurricane Isaac
The NPS arborist crew worked for a week on downed and damaged trees at Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery.

Last updated: April 28, 2020

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