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National Historic Landmark FORT DE LA BOULAYE

Location: Plaquemines Parish, about 1 mile north of Phoenix.

Ownership and Administration. Privately owned.

Significance. Fort de la Boulaye was the first French outpost in the present State of Louisiana. It was established in February 1700 to counter Spanish and English aggression in the region. Pierre le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, landed a party of soldiers on a low ridge along the east bank of the Mississippi River, about 18 leagues above its mouth at the "east pass," where his soldiers constructed a 28-foot-square wooden blockhouse and equipped it with six cannon. Iberville left an 18-man garrison, under the command of his brother, Bienville, to hold the fort. Little is known of their experiences, but by 1707 the Indian threat had forced the abandonment of the post. Nevertheless, one Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, who was on amicable terms with the Indians, remained there alone for several years and helped maintain friendly relations with them.

No physical traces of the fort remain above ground, and for many years it was a lost site. However, in the early 1930's four amateur historians of New Orleans achieved virtually certain identification on the basis of geographical evidence and correlation of the previous discovery of hand-hewn cypress logs. Dredging operations in 1923 had produced the hand-hewn logs, although their significance was not realized for some years. A cannonball was found in 1936, after the site had been tentatively identified.

Present Appearance. The site is nearly 1 mile east of the present channel of the Mississippi River on a low ridge surrounded by reclaimed swampland. The ridge is covered by a thick growth of trees and brush, and the site is bisected by a canal. A State historical marker has been erected on the site, but access is difficult. [23]

NHL Designation: 10/09/60

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Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005