| Grand Terre Island is located about a mile northeast, across Barataria Pass from Grand Isle and 50 miles south of New Orleans. The island is reputed to have been the base of operations for Pirate Jean Lafitte in the early 1800's. The story goes that the pirates were kicked off the island in 1814, when plans were first made to build a coastal defense fort there. However, bureaucracy being what it is, Fort Livingston wasn't built until 1841. The fort was named for Edward Livingston, who was Secretary of State under President Andrew Jackson. It was one of the largest coastal forts in Louisiana and was the only fort on the Gulf of Mexico in the state. Fort Livingston was to be used to control the entrance to Barataria Pass and, thereby, guard New Orleans against naval attacks from the south.
The first Barataria Bay Lighthouse was built near the fort in 1856; the second, adjacent to Fort Livingston, was completed in 1903. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1945.
The fort never saw combat and, in 1866, it was placed in caretaker status. The guns were removed in 1872. It was abandoned after a hurricane heavily damaged it in 1893. In 1923, the U.S. government gave control of the fort and the island to the state of Louisiana. In 1974, what was left of the fort was listed on the National Register of Historical Places. Over the years, the fort has been something of a tourist attraction, although it is accessible only by boat and is closely monitored by the Coast Guard. It's located directly across Barataria Bay from the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Grand Isle.
|An aerial view of the fort's ruins, the lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper's house, 1930's.|
|Barataria Bay lighthouse and keeper's house, probably 1930s. The
lighthouse was deactivated in 1945 and, unfortunately, is no longer standing.
|The top photo is courtesy of Infrogmation at Wikimedia Commons
and the bottom photo is courtesy of Lighthouse Explorer.
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|What remained of Fort Livingston in 2005 - with many thanks to Bruce Seibert for sharing this photo.|