Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
BaratariaPreserve.JPG
Barataria Preserve
Map showing the location of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Map showing the location of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Map showing the location of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
Map showing the location of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
LocationSouth Louisiana
Nearest cityNew Orleans and Lafayette, Louisiana
Coordinates29°56′33″N 89°59′39″W / 29.94250°N 89.99417°W / 29.94250; -89.99417Coordinates: 29°56′33″N 89°59′39″W / 29.94250°N 89.99417°W / 29.94250; -89.99417
Area25,876 acres (104.72 km2)
21,081 acres (8,531 ha) federal
EstablishedMarch 4, 1907
Visitors456,666 (in 2017)[1]
Governing bodyNational Park Service
WebsiteJean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (French: Parc historique national et réserve Jean Lafitte) protects the natural and cultural resources of Louisiana's Mississippi River Delta region. It is named after French pirate Jean Lafitte and consists of six separate sites and a park headquarters.[2]

Acadiana[edit]

Three sites interpret the Cajun culture of the Lafayette (southern Louisiana) area, which developed after Acadians were resettled in the region following their expulsion from Canada (1755–1764) by the British, and the transfer of French Louisiana to Spain in the aftermath of the French and Indian War.

  • Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette
  • Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, obtained through the work of Mayor Curtis Joubert[3]
  • Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux

Nature preserve[edit]

Barataria Unit of Jean Lafitte Historical Park Historic District
JLBaratariaPreserve.JPG
Coordinates29°47′56″N 90°07′24″W / 29.79882°N 90.12341°W / 29.79882; -90.12341
Area1,855 acres (751 ha)
NRHP reference No.66000966[4]
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966

The Barataria Preserve in Marrero interprets the natural and cultural history of the region. The preserve has trails and canoe tours through bottomland hardwood forests, swamps, and marsh. An Education Center provides curriculum-based programming for school groups and a visitor center with a film and exhibits. The 1,855 acres (751 ha) Barataria area comprises 63 contributing properties and was added as a historic district on October 15, 1966.[4][5][6]

Chalmette unit[edit]

The Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery is located in Chalmette, Louisiana, six miles (10 km) southeast of New Orleans, on the site where the 1815 Battle of New Orleans took place. It is "an integral part of both the history of New Orleans and of the nation," according to National Park Service historians because the cemetery is one of the oldest in the United States.[7]

Established in May 1864, the national cemetery holds the remains of American Civil War casualties and veterans, as well as the remains of soldiers from the Indian Wars of the late 19th century, the Spanish–American War, the First and Second World Wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Among the Civil War dead interred at Chalmette are members of the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, the only regiment from Pennsylvania involved in the 1864 Red River campaign,[8] and the 12th Maine Infantry Regiment.[9] There are also a few earlier graves from the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.[10]

During the 1930s, various improvements were made to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, "including paving the entrance drive linking to St. Bernard Highway, paving the circle around the monument, and installation of two visitor parking areas." In addition, employees of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) realigned multiple headstones at the national cemetery in 1937.[11]

During the early 1960s, the historic community of Fazendeville was demolished in order to expand the battlefield in preparation for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans, which took place in 1965. The town, which had been established sometime around 1870 by Jean-Pierre Fazende, had been "founded as a home for newly freed slaves," according to news reports.[12] Local, state and federal elected officials had been engaged in efforts to acquire the community's lands since at least the early 1930s.[13][14][15][16][17]

WPA workers straighten headstones, Chalmette National Cemetery, 1937

Another major restoration took place from March 7 to April 1, 2016 when volunteers from HOPE Crew (Hands-on Preservation Experience) participated, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service and the National Center of Preservation Technology and Training, in the cleaning and re-setting of 671 headstones in the oldest part of the national cemetery, which is "the final resting place for US Colored Troops, servicemen who consisted of 'free men of color' formerly known as the Louisiana Native Guard; free, mixed-race 'creoles' who the Confederacy barred from joining their forces, and refugees, or 'contraband' from nearby plantations who served the Union Army in exchange for food, clothing and housing for their families," according to a spokesperson for the trust. The headstones that were restored had been misaligned or damaged by air pollution and mold growth, and were cleaned with products donated by D/2 Biological Solution, Inc. Restoration experts from Pierre Masonry, Texas Cemetery Restoration, Oak and Laurel Cemetery Preservation and Monument Conservation Collaborative were recruited to oversee the volunteers' work.[18]

Site of the former Freedmen's Cemetery in 2019, separated by a brick wall from the Chalmette National Cemetery (upper left)

Located adjacent to the Chalmette National Cemetery, and within the boundaries of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, is the site of the defunct Freedmen's Cemetery, a four-acre African American burial ground that had been established by the federal government in 1867 to inter the remains of formerly enslaved men, women and children who had been receiving assistance from the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (also known as the Freedmen's Bureau) in making the transition from slavery to freedom after the Civil War.[19] Initially well maintained, the cemetery fell into disrepair during the 1870s as various Freedmen's Bureau services were curtailed and then eliminated due to budget cuts and "the politics of race and Reconstruction."[20] U.S. Quartermaster's Office records document the debates by federal government officials regarding the creation and management of this cemetery, as well as their decision to ultimately abandon the Freedmen's Cemetery.[21] The site is now memorialized by a historical marker located near the entrance to Chalmette National Cemetery.[22]

Chalmette Monuments and Visitors' Center[edit]

In 1840, a cornerstone was laid for a proposed monument commemorating the American victory in the Battle of New Orleans,[23] but completion of that monument's construction was delayed due to budget issues. Frustrated by the federal government's lack of progress, members of the Louisiana Society of the United States Daughters of 1776 and 1812 began lobbying elected officials for help during the 1890s, finally securing the support necessary from the administration of President Theodore Roosevelt for the monument's erection.[24] Known as the Chalmette Monument, the one-hundred-foot-tall obelisk was completed in 1908. Closed for repairs after parts of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it was reopened to the public during a rededication ceremony on National Public Lands Day on September 28, 2013. The monument features an observation deck which offers visitors views of the battlefield and City of New Orleans.[25]

Grand Army of the Republic Monument, Chalmette National Cemetery, 1910

In February 1874, members of the Grand Army of the Republic's Joseph Mower Post in New Orleans secured permission to erect a G.A.R. monument on the grounds of the national cemetery to pay tribute to deceased Union Army soldiers. Although implementation of this project was also delayed due to funding problems, construction was able to be finished more quickly than it was for the proposed obelisk. Completed in 1882, the G.A.R. monument was inscribed with the Latin phrase, "Dum Tacent Clamant" ("While They Are Silent, They Cry Aloud"), and has served as "a focal point" for Memorial Day ceremonies since that time.[26][27]

The present-day visitors' center located near the battleground obelisk offers information and exhibits. Rebuilt after it was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina, this new center reopened in 2010.[28]

Special events held at the Chalmette National Battlefield and Cemetery each year include commemoration ceremonies related to the Battle of New Orleans and Memorial Day, living history demonstrations, and wreath-laying ceremonies.[29][30]

New Orleans unit[edit]

The park operates a French Quarter Visitor Center at 419 Decatur Street (New Orleans), in the historic French Quarter. It interprets more generally the history of New Orleans and the diverse cultures of Louisiana's Mississippi River Delta region.

The headquarters of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve are located in New Orleans.

Administrative history[edit]

Chalmette Monument and Grounds were established on March 4, 1907, to commemorate the site of the Battle of New Orleans. It was transferred from the War Department to the National Park Service on August 10, 1933, and re-designated as Chalmette National Historical Park on August 10, 1939.

The Chalmette site and the Barataria Preserve were both listed on the National Register of Historic Places October 15, 1966.[4]

The Chalmette site was later incorporated into the multi-site Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, which was authorized on November 10, 1978.

See also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics". National Park Service. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  2. ^ National Parks Index: 2001-2003, p. 47. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 2001.
  3. ^ "Living Legends: Curtis Joubert". acadianmuseum.com. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  5. ^ "Barataria Unit Historic District" (PDF). State of Louisiana's Division of Historic Preservation. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  6. ^ Dr. Barbara Holmes (July 19, 1988). "National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Historic District, Barataria Unit, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park". National Park Service. Retrieved June 26, 2018. With 45 photos from 1988.
  7. ^ "Chalmette National Cemetery, Chalmette, Louisiana," in "Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served." Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, retrieved online September 19, 2022.
  8. ^ "Resting Places and Memorials," in "47th Pennsylvania Volunteers: One Regiment's Story," 2014, retrieved online September 20, 2022.
  9. ^ "John Kimball wants to bring Civil War ancestor home to Albany Township." Bethel, Maine: The Sun Journal, May 25, 2022.
  10. ^ Blythe, Robert W. Administrative History of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior, 2012.
  11. ^ "Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve: Cultural Landscape Report," pp. 81, 178. Athens, Georgia: WLA Studio for the National Park Service, South Atlantic Gulf Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science Directorate," May 2022.
  12. ^ McConnaughey, Janet. "Louisiana iris, African lilies may mark Black community razed in Chalmette Battlefield expansion." New Orleans, Louisiana: The Associated Press, April 2, 2022.
  13. ^ "National Park on Chalmette Battlefield: Survey Is Ordered By Government: Southern Railway Is Largest Landowner: Village of Fazendeville Will Be Absorbed By the Improvement." Arabi, Louisiana: The St. Bernard Voice, January 10, 1931, front page (subscription required).
  14. ^ "St. Bernard Improvement Ass'n. Again Scores: Colonel Landers Pleased with Options: Will Support Report Soon: Indications Are Good for National Park." Arabi, Louisiana: The St. Bernard Voice, November 28, 1931, front page (subscription required).
  15. ^ "Chalmette Nat'l Park To Cost $541,000: Area Is Curtailed For Present Time: Fazendeville Included And Action By Congress Awaited." Arabi, Louisiana: The St. Bernard Voice, December 26, 1931, front page (subscription required).
  16. ^ "Hebert Introduces Bill to Appoint Commission for 150th Celebration Of the Battle of New Orleans: Would Also Acquire Balance of Land on Fazendville [sic] Road for Chalmette National Park." Arabi, Louisiana: The St. Bernard Voice, March 3, 1961, front page (subscription required).
  17. ^ "Kennedy Signs Chalmette Bill." Arabi, Louisiana: The St. Bernard Voice, October 12, 1962, front page (subscription required).
  18. ^ "Volunteers needed to help restore Chalmette National Cemetery." New Orleans, Louisiana: WVUE-TV, March 1, 2016.
  19. ^ "Chalmette National Cemetery," in "Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served," National Park Service.
  20. ^ "Freedmen's Bureau," on History.com. New York, New York: A&E Television Networks, October 3, 2018 (retrieved online September 19, 2022).
  21. ^ Memorandum from Captain Charles Barnard to Colonel Charles Folsom, 20 May 1867, in "Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General" (Record Group 92). Washington, D.C.: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.
  22. ^ "Freedmen's Cemetery sign," in Louisiana Sea Grant Digital Images Collection, in Louisiana Digital Library. New Orleans, Louisiana: Louisiana Digital Consortium, retrieved online September 19, 2022.
  23. ^ "Rededicating the Chalmette Monument," in "Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve." Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Inrerior, retrieved online September 20, 2022.
  24. ^ "Fazendeville, the town razed to make way for the Chalmette National Monument." New Orleans, Louisiana: WWNO Public Radio, January 8, 2015.
  25. ^ "Rededicating the Chalmette Monument," in "Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve," National Park Service.
  26. ^ "Historic Resource Study (Chalmette Unit)," in "Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve." Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior," retrieved online September 22, 2022.
  27. ^ Roush, J. Fred. "Chalmette National Historical Park Louisiana (now Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve," in "Historical Handbook Series No. 29." Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, 1954.
  28. ^ "Chalmette National Cemetery," in "Civil War Era National Cemeteries: Honoring Those Who Served," National Park Service.
  29. ^ Golden, Harrison. "'They gave all': Memorial Day visitors honor fallen soldiers at Chalmette National Cemetery." New Orleans, Louisiana: WDSU-TV, May 31, 2021.
  30. ^ "Battle of New Orleans commemoration at Chalmette Battlefield begins Saturday." New Orleans, Louisiana: NOLA.com, January 5, 2022.

External links[edit]