Fort Macomb

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Fort Macomb
Ruins of Fort Macomb, February 2006
Fort Macomb is located in Louisiana
Fort Macomb
Nearest city New Orleans, Louisiana
Coordinates 30°3′51″N 89°48′15″W / 30.06417°N 89.80417°W / 30.06417; -89.80417Coordinates: 30°3′51″N 89°48′15″W / 30.06417°N 89.80417°W / 30.06417; -89.80417
Area 5 acres (2.0 ha)
Built 1820
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 78001429[1]
Added to NRHP October 11, 1978

Fort Macomb is a 19th-century fort in Louisiana, on the western shore of Chef Menteur Pass.[1] The fort is adjacent to the Venetian Isles community, now legally within the city limits of New Orleans, Louisiana, although some miles distant from the city when first built and still a considerable distance from the main developed portion of the city.


Ruins of Fort Macomb, Louisiana

Chef Menteur Pass is a water route from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain and the lakeshore of New Orleans. (The other route is the Rigolets; both straits connect Pontchartrain to the Gulf via Lake Borgne.) An earlier fort at the site was called Fort Chef Menteur. The current brick fort was built in 1822, and named Fort Wood in 1827. It was renamed Fort Macomb in 1851 after General Alexander Macomb, former Chief of Engineers and Commanding General of the US Army.

The small, pie-shaped fort has a curved front facing the channel and overlaps the two straight walls, forming demibastions. At the salient of the two straight walls is a full bastion facing landward. The fort was surrounded by two wet ditches (moats) with extensive outworks between the ditches. On the parade of the fort stands a citadel - a defensive barracks.

The fort was occupied by a Confederate States of America garrison starting on 28 January 1861 early in the American Civil War, and retaken by the Union the following year.

In 1867 the barracks caught fire, after which the fort was largely abandoned. It was decommissioned in 1871.

In recent years[edit]

The fort and its land are now owned by the State of Louisiana. While some efforts were made to open it to limited tourism in the late 20th century, the decaying condition of the fort was judged too hazardous for public visits. The similar but better preserved Fort Pike some 10 miles (16 km) away at the Rigolets has been the regional example of a coastal fort open to visitors.

A portion of the fort's old moat had been turned into a canal as part of a small marina. Unfortunately, the wakes from incoming and outgoing boats were wearing away the outer wall of the fort and accelerating the structural damage. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the marina and the fort is now protected by rip rap. It is in need of structural stabilization, however, to reverse the previous damage.

The climax of the first season finale of the 2014 HBO television series True Detective was filmed on location at Fort Macomb.[2]


A Legacy in Brick and Stone by John Weaver

  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ Martin, Denise (March 10, 2014), "True Detective’s Production Designer on the Finale's Mazelike Fort", Vulture, retrieved March 14, 2014 

External links[edit]