Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana

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Coordinates: 29°34′35″N 89°47′30″W / 29.57639°N 89.79167°W / 29.57639; -89.79167
Pointe à la Hache
Census-designated place (CDP) & unincorporated community
Plaquemines Courthouse March 2012.jpg
Ruined Parish Courthouse in 2012.
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Plaquemines
Elevation 3 ft (0.9 m)
Coordinates 29°34′35″N 89°47′30″W / 29.57639°N 89.79167°W / 29.57639; -89.79167
Area 1.762 sq mi (4.6 km2)
 - land 1.762 sq mi (5 km2)
 - water 0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 187 (2010)
Density 106.1 / sq mi (41 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Postal code 70082
Area code 504
Location of Pointe a la Hache in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Pointe à la Hache is a census-designated place (CDP) & unincorporated community in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, United States.[1] Located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, the village has been the seat for Plaquemines Parish since the formation of the parish. As of the 2010 census, its population was 187.[2]

The Pointe à la Hache Ferry which connects to West Pointe à la Hache, Louisiana across the Mississippi, is the furthest downriver vehicle crossing point on the river.

Pointe à la Hache was the home of E. W. Gravolet, a cannery businessman, who served from Plaquemines Parish in both houses of the Louisiana State Legislature from 1948 until his death in 1968.


Native American settlement in the area goes back to unknown dates. The earliest European settlement in the area was by the French about 1700. The name "Pointe à la Hache" is French for "cape of the axe". In the Mitchell Map of 1755, it is marked as "Hatchet Point". It is also the site near the area where Sieur d'Bienville and Sieur D'Iberville staked the claim for France at Mardi Gras Bayou on Mardi Gras Day. So the bayou where they made camp was named Mardi Gras Bayou. He later moved up the river to where the present day New Orleans is to build the city because there was not enough dry land at this point to build a city. Mardi Gras Bayou is a site a few miles north of Pointe à la Hache where there are still ruins of an old fort, Fort De La Bouyere that was later built on that site. The land there is mostly marshland. A tiny strip of land less than a mile wide between the wetlands and the Mississippi River. Pointe à la Hache is very rich in history and once stood many beautiful old homes and businesses of which through the years have been claimed by the sea during hurricanes.

Plaquemines Parish was one of the original 19 divisions of the Territory of Orleans established in 1807; after Louisiana achieved U.S. statehood in 1812 one of the original state parishes.

In the 1812 Louisiana hurricane storm surge from the Gulf pushed all the way into the River, and there was widespread death and destruction.

The 1915 New Orleans Hurricane devastated the area, breaching levees and flooding the region. 31 died in Pointe à la Hache. [1] The Parish Courthouse was destroyed, but some of its material was salvaged for reuse in the new Courthouse completed the same year.

The 1930 census showed the town with a population of 404.

In 1965 Hurricane Betsy damaged the area, flooding the courthouse. [Book "Leander Perez: Boss of the Delta" by Glen Jeansonne, p. 354]There were more than 50 refugees who rode out the storm in the courthouse. All survived.

During January 12, 2002 the parish courthouse was severely damaged by arson. Since then, the parish government has used several temporary buildings in Belle Chasse. The Plaquemines Parish Council has proposed to move the parish seat three times, but all were rejected by the voters.

Pointe à la Hache was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

On Mardi Gras Day 2011 the Mississippi River broke through the east bank. This breach has been named Mardi Gras Pass by the Coast Guard and LADOT is considering adapting this name. .[3][4]

As of early 2012, only a small number of people have returned to live full-time here.

West Pointe à la Hache flooded severely during Tropical Storm Isaac on August 28–29, 2012.

Fish floating in waterways near Point a la Hache in June 2010.

Dead fish were found floating in the waterways north of Point a la Hache after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.[5]