NPSHistory.com

Copyright, Randall D. Payne
JEAN LAFITTE NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK and PRESERVE, Louisiana



National Park Service History Electronic Library & Archive

The NPS History Electronic Library & Archive is a portal to electronic publications covering the history of the National Park Service (NPS) and the cultural and natural history of the national parks, monuments, and historic sites of the U.S. National Park System. The information contained in this Website is historical in scope and is not meant as an aid for travel planning; please refer to the official NATIONAL PARK SERVICE Website for current/additional information. While we are not affiliated with the National Park Service, we gratefully acknowledge the contributions by park employees and advocates, which has enabled us to create this free digital repository.


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New eLibrary Additions

Below is an incomplete archive (only 7,253 issues) of NPS Morning Reports (some are only the Blackberry/Summary Editions) along with a complete collection of Coalition (Weekly) Reports (courtesy The Coalition to Protect America's National Parks). Please see the provisions/limitations section toward the bottom of the following Web page regarding this archive of Reports. In addition, the Incidents section of these Reports has been duplicated and are listed chronologically by park unit. Our thanks to Bill Halainen (the long-time editor) for providing us with these copies and the Coalition for granting us permission to continue to post their most current editions.

NPS Morning Reports / Coalition Reports (Field Incident Reports, National Park Service courtesy Bill Halainen, 1986-1988; NPS Morning Reports, National Park Service courtesy Bill Halainen, 1989-2015; Coalition Reports courtesy The Coalition to Protect America's National Parks, 2017-2022)



Featured Publication

book cover
cover only

Requiem for America's Best Idea: National Parks in the Era of Climate Change
(Michael J. Youchim, 2022)


Historic Resource Study: Chalmette Unit, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (Jerome A. Greene, September 1985)

Archeological Assessment: Barataria Unit, Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve Southwest Cultural Resources Center Professional Papers No. 10 (John Stuart Speaker, Joanna Chase, Carol Poplin, Herschel Franks and R. Christopher Goodwin, December 12, 1986)

Archaeological Investigations of Six Spanish Colonial Period Sites, Barataria Unit, Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve, Louisiana Southwest Cultural Resources Center Professional Papers No. 25 (Jill-Karen Yakubik w/Herschel A. Franks and Marco J. Giardino, 1989)

Archeological Survey on 65 Acres of Land Adjacent to Bayou de Familles, Barataria Unit, Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve, Louisiana Southwest Cultural Resources Center Professional Papers No. 26 (Herschel A. Franks and Jill-Karen Yakubik w/Marco J. Giardino, 1990)

Terre Haute de Barataria: An Historic Upland on an Old River Distributary Overtaken by Forest in the Barataria Unit of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve Monograph XI (©Betsy Swanson, 1991)


2020: A Year in Review — Preserving and Interpreting World War II Japanese American Confinement Sites (Winter 2021)

Personal Justice Denied: Report of the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians, Part 1 (December 1982)

Historic Resource Study: Kay Moor New River Gorge National River, West Virginia (Sharon A. Brown, July 1990)

Location Study: Davis Tavern Site, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Kentucky-Tennessee-Virginia (Ricardo Torres-Reyes, December 2, 1969)

Historic Structure Report, Historical Data Section: The Delaware Aqueduct, Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, New York-Pennsylvania (Harlan D. Unrau, September 1983)

Demography of Grizzly Bears in Relation to Hunting and Mining Development in Northwestern Alaska Scientific Monograph NPS/NRARO/NRSM-93/23 (Warren B. Ballard, Lee Anne Ayres, Daniel J. Reed, Steven G. Fancy, Kathryn E. Roney, 1993)

National Park Service Geologic Type Section Inventory, Pacific Island Inventory & Monitoring Network NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/PACN/NRR-2022-2371 (Tim C. Henderson, Vincent L. Santucci, Tim Connors and Justin S. Tweet, April 2022)

National Park Service Geologic Type Section Inventory, Central Alaska Inventory & Monitoring Network NPS Natural Resource Report NPS/CAKN/NRR-2022/2369 (Tim C. Henderson, Vincent L. Santucci, Tim Connors and Justin S. Tweet, April 2022)

Shoreline Change at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida and Mississippi: 2018-2021 Data Summary NPS Natural Resource Data Series NPS/GULN/NRDS-2022/1348 (Jeff Bracewell, March 2022)

Women's History in the Pacific West (University of California Davis, April 2022)

Glaciers of the Olympic Mountains, Washington—The Past and Future 100 Years (Andrew G. Fountain, Christina Gray,, Bryce Glenn, Brian Menounos, Justin Pflug and Jon L. Riedel, extract from Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, March 8, 2022)

Vegetation Community Monitoring Trends in Restored Tallgrass Prairie at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, Missouri: 2008-2020 NPS Natural Resource Data Series NPS/HTLN/NRDS—2022/2368 (Sherry A. Leis, March 2022)

Length-based risk analysis of management options for the southern Florida USA multispecies coral reef fish fishery (Jerald S. Ault, Steven G. Smith, Matthew W. Johnson, Laura Jay W. Grove, James A. Bohnsack, Gerard T. DiNardo, Caroline McLaughlin, Nelson M. Ehrhardt, Vanessa McDonough, Michael P. Seki, Steven L. Miller, Jiangang Luo, Jeremiah Blondeau, Michael P. Crosby, Glenn Simpson, Mark E. Monaco, Clayton G. Pollock, Michael W. Feeley, Alejandro Acosta, extract from Fisheries Research, Vol. 249, February 9, 2022)

Exclusionary effects of campsite allocation through reservations in U.S. national parks: Evidence from mobile device location data (William L. Rice, Jaclyn R. Rushing, Jennifer M. Thomsen and Peter Whitney, extract from Journal of Park and Recreation Administration, 2022)

National Park System: What Do the Different Park Titles Signify? Congressional Research Service R41816 (Laura B. Comay, February 20, 2013)

Training Methods 5th Edition (Dave Dahlen and Connie Backlund, 1991)

Ethnographic Overview & Assessment, Piscataway Park (Julia A. King, Travis Hanson and Scott M. Strickland, 2021)

Traditional Use and User Groups Study, Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve Draft (Douglas Deur, July 2007)

Resource Brief: Historic Storms in Denali (December 2021) (January 2022)

Native Place Names Mapping in Denali National Park and Preserve Draft Final Report (James Kari, August 1999, revised December 1999)

The Lost History of Yellowstone (Richard Grant, Smithsonian Magazine, January 2021)


Of Various Magnificence: The Architectural History of the San Antonio Missions in the Colonial Period and the Nineteenth Century (James E. Ivey, Center for Cultural Sustainability, University of Texas at San Antonio, undated)

Mission Espada North Gate: Documentation, Condition Assessment, and Treatment Plan (Center for Cultural Sustainability, The University of Texas at San Antonio, November 2019)

Historic Structure Report: Mission Concepción Convento (Center for Cultural Sustainability, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 2019)

Historic Structure Report: Mission San José Convento (Center for Cultural Sustainability, The University of Texas at San Antonio, 2019)

Economic Impact of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Parks (Center for Cultural Sustainability, The University of Texas at San Antonio, March 2011)


Featured Publication

book cover
cover only

Crafting Preservation Criteria: The National Register of Historic Places and American Historic Preservation
(John H. Sprinkle, Jr., 2014)


Recording Historic Structures & Sites for the Historic American Engineering Record (Richard K. Anderson, Jr., ed., 1994)

Historic American Buildings Survey / Historic American Engineering Record: An Annotated Bibliography (James C. Massey, Nancy B. Schwartz and Shirley Maxwell, comp., 1992)

New Perspectives on Haberdeventure Plantation in Charles County, Maryland, 1770-1787: A Historic Resource Study of Thomas Stone National Historic Site, Port Tobacco, Maryland (Amy Speckart, February 2022)

Cultural Landscape Report for Johnstown Flood National Memorial (Jennifer G. Hanna, Emelyn Najera, Kelsey Little and H. Eliot Foulds, 2021)

Cultural Landscape Report: King Family Home, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park (WLA Studio, August January 2022)

Cultural Landscape Report: Allenbrook, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (WLA Studio, September 2001)

Cultural Landscape Report: Island Ford Lodge, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (WLA Studio, October 2001)

Historic Resource Context Study Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park in Frederick, Shenandoah, and Warren Counties, Virginia (David W. Lewes and William H. Moore, William and Mary Center for Archaeological Research, December 20, 2013)

Research and Documentation of the Agricultural Landscape and Agricultural Economy: Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park (Brian Katen, Mlntai Kim and Christine Calorusso, January 2020)

Historic Structures Report: Old Housing Historic District, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (Center for Cultural Sustainability, The University of Texas at San Antonio, c2016)

Historic Structure Report: Utah Parks Company Service Station, Bryce Canyon National Park (Preservation Studies Program, The University of Arizona, November 2005)

Best Practices in Stone Building Preservation Management (Center for Cultural Sustainability, The University of Texas at San Antonio, December 2021)

Architectural/Historic Survey of Route 66 in Missouri Summary Report (Maura Johnson, June 1993)

Historic Resources Survey, Route 66 through Texas: Historic Context Final Draft (Monica Penick and Gregory Smith, March 2005)

Cyclical Maintenance for Historic Buildings (J. Henry Chambers, 1976)

Keeping it Clean: Removing Exterior Dirt, Paint, Stains and Graffiti from Historic Masonry Buildings (Anne E. Grimmer, 1988)

Caring for the Past: Landscapes, Battlefields,, Landmarks, Federal Preservation Historic Preservation Publications (1997)

Caring for the Past: Mapping & Information Services for Cultural Resources (1997)

Caring for the Past: Preserving, Rehabilitating and Restoring Historic Buildings Historic Preservation Publications (1996-1997)

Landscape Culture: A newsletter for NPS cultural landscape stewards (Spring 2022)

Damaged and Threatened National Historic Landmarks 1995 (c1996)

America's Historic Landmarks at Risk: The Secretary of the Interior's Report to the 105th Congress on Threatened National Historic Landmarks (c1997)

National Historic Landmarks at the Millennium: A Report to Congress and the American People 2000-2001 (c2001)

List of National Historic Landmarks by State: National Historic Landmarks Survey (July 2001)


NPS Reading List

Historic Building Interiors: An Annotated Bibliography (Anne Grimmer, comp., 1989)

Historic Concrete: An Annotated Bibliography (Adrienne Beaudet Cowden, comp., 1993)

Historic Masonry Deterioration and Repair Techniques: An Annotated Bibliography (Catherine Carosino, John Carr, Millan Galland, Janel Houten, Molly Lambert and Ana Sanchez, comp., 1993)

Maintaining Historic Buildings: An Annotated Bibliography (Kaye Ellen Simonson, comp., 1990)

Making Educated Decisions: A Landscape Preservation Bibliography (Charles A. Birnbaum, Cheryl Wagner and Jean S. Jones, comp., 1994)

Making Educated Decisions 2: A Landscape Preservation Bibliography (Charles A. Birnbaum and Heather L. Barrett, eds., 2000)

Painting Historic Buildings: Materials and Techniques: An Annotated Bibliography (Marianne Bevil, Meredith Fiske and Anne-Leslie Owens, comp., 1993)

Pioneers of American Landscape Design (Charles A. Birnbaum and Lisa E. Crowder, eds., 1993)

Pioneers of American Landscape Design II: An Annotated Bibliography (Charles A. Birnbaum and Julie K. Fix, eds., 1995)

Preserving Historic Landscapes: An Annotated Bibliography (Lauren Meier and Betsy Chittenden, comp., 1990)

Preserving Historic Lighthouses: An Annotated Bibliography (Camille M. Martone, Lauren McCroskey and Sharon C. Park, comp., 1989)

Preserving Wood Features in Historic Buildings: An Annotated Bibliography (Erica C. Avrami, comp., 1993)

Twentieth-Century Building Materials: 1900-1950: An Annotated Bibliography (George M. Bleeman III, Ann Girard, Karin Link, Donald Peting, Anne Seaton, Jonathan Smith, Lisa Teresi-Burcham and Richa Wilson, comp., 1993)


Francis Marion National Forest: Cultural Resources Overview (David G. Anderson and Patricia A. Logan, April 1981)

For the Trees: An Illustrated History of the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests, 1908-1978 (Sharon M.W. Bass, 1981)

The Work of the Civilian Conservation Corps: Pioneering Conservation in Louisiana U.S Forest Service General Technical Report SRS-154 (James P. Barnett and Anna C. Burns, May 2016)

Campfire Safety (August 1960)



Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
(Harpers Ferry Center)


     NPS REFLECTIONS

Chenier Grand Coquilles in Barataria Preserve, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. (Courtney A. Schupp photo)

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

      Brief Description of the Park

In creating Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in 1978, Congress recognized the Mississippi Delta region as an area of national significance, in terms of its natural, cultural, and historical resources. At the mouth of the Mississippi River and the gateway to the interior of the North American continent, the region has long been a focus of economic, political, and cultural activities. The region contains the largest and most productive estuarine and wetland system on the continent, and the wetlands of the Delta are among the most extensive and productive in the United States.

In 1939, Chalmette National Historical Park, the first unit of the national park system in Louisiana, was established on the east bank of the Mississippi River below New Orleans to preserve a portion of the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. In 1966, Louisiana proposed a state park named for Jean Lafitte, a French pirate and privateer, to be established at the present site of the Barataria Preserve. Although advocates of the state park concept emphasized wetlands preservation and recreational needs in the Jefferson and Orleans Parish areas, no funds for land acquisition or lease of property for such a park was authorized by the state. Eventually, the supporters of expansion of Chalmette National Historical Park and state park proponents found a champion in Senator J. Bennett Johnston, and their efforts culminated in the establishment of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve in 1978. The enabling legislation was amended in 1988 by Public Law 100-250 to authorize the establishment of folklife centers in the Acadian region. This expanded the park into six geographically separate units in south Louisiana that are managed as three administrative units: the Crescent City Unit (including the French Quarter site in New Orleans, and in neighboring Chalmette, Louisiana, the Chalmette Battlefield and Chalmette National Cemetery), the Barataria Preserve Unit, and the Acadian Unit (the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, Louisiana, the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux, Louisiana). The historical figure Jean Lafitte was associated with the three original sites of the park: he roamed the streets of New Orleans’ French Quarter, he navigated the swamps of the Barataria Preserve for smuggling contraband and slaves, and he helped the Americans win the Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette Battlefield.

Laid out in 1722 on the bank of the Mississippi River as the colony’s principal settlement, the French Quarter is the cultural heart of present day New Orleans. It is a historic/cultural area of local, regional, state, national, and international significance and tourist interest, and it is listed as the Vieux Carré National Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places. The French Quarter unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve houses the Laura C. Hudson Visitor Center and the park headquarters.


Chalmette Unit. (Larry E. James/National Register of Historic Places photo)

The Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery is located in Chalmette, Louisiana, approximately six miles southeast of downtown New Orleans in a highly industrialized corridor along the east bank of the Mississippi River. The battlefield preserves a portion of the former agricultural landscape on which the January 8, 1815, Battle of New Orleans was fought. Non-battle-related features such as the Malus-Beauregard House (c. 1833) or the trace of the Fazendeville community (c. 1867–1964) emphasize the multiple layers of Chalmette’s history. These features hold historical, cultural, and ethnographic significance in their own right. The land acquisition of the Fazendeville community was instrumental in the expansion of the battlefield as we know it today. The Chalmette National Cemetery holds graves of American veterans from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War.

Barataria Preserve is located in southeastern Louisiana approximately 15 miles from downtown New Orleans in the upper freshwater zone of the Barataria Basin. The 20,000-acre preserve houses numerous facilities including the Barataria Visitor Center, the Environmental Education Center, and numerous hiking and canoeing trails. The visitor center exhibits exceptional examples of natural and cultural resources reflective of the Mississippi River Delta.

The Acadian units interpret the Acadian culture of the Mississippi Delta region at each of the park’s three cultural centers. Located in contrasting ecological and economic zones, the three centers demonstrate the variation of cultural and economic outputs that have evolved in relationship to the natural environment. The Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette presents the history of the Acadian (Cajun) people who settled southeast Louisiana, and it offers a museum, bayou boat tours, music, and cultural folklife programs. The Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux offers a museum, jam sessions with local musicians, French Cajun language instruction workshops, and history walks that focus on the story of Louisiana’s bayou country. The Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice focuses on prairie lifeways of Cajun culture told through museum exhibits, music, dancing, craft demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, and the Saturday night "Rendez-vous-Des Cajuns” where traditional and contemporary Cajun and Creole Zydeco music in the Grand Ole Opry style is played at the historic Liberty Theater.


Swamp in Barataria Preserve, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. (Urbatsch photo)

      Park Significance

Significance statements express why a park’s resources and values are important enough to merit designation as a unit of the national park system. These statements are linked to the purpose of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, and are supported by data, research, and consensus. Statements of significance describe the distinctive nature of the park and why an area is important within a global, national, regional, and systemwide context. They focus on the most important resources and values that will assist in park planning and management.

The following significance statements have been identified for Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. (Please note that the sequence of the statements does not reflect the level of significance.)

  1. The park’s Acadian cultural centers trace the transformation of Canada’s Acadians to Louisiana’s Cajuns, descendants of Acadian exiles, as they adapted to their new home’s physical and cultural environments.

  2. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve connects people to places to experience the living legacy of south Louisiana’s blend of diaspora cultures from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Together with the indigenous American Indian cultures that have thrived in this dynamic natural environment, their stories and lifeway are shared with park visitors.

  3. Chalmette Battlefield commemorates the 1815 Battle of New Orleans and those soldiers who died during this last major engagement of the War of 1812. The American victory shaped new ideas of American identity, encouraged American expansionism, began an era of national pride, and had broad and lasting consequences on the American Indian population and homelands.

  4. The Chalmette National Cemetery is a commemorative site established as a Civil War cemetery in 1864. It is the final resting place for more than 15,000 interments from every major U.S. conflict between the American Revolution and Vietnam.

  5. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve tells the story of New Orleans, a cultural crossroads for more than 300 years. A colonial French African population and culture helped shape the city by preserving the city’s Creole culture, which produced distinctive architecture, food, music, legal framework, and customs.

  6. The Barataria Preserve provides a glimpse of the Mississippi River Delta’s natural world, and its interactions with humans from pre-European contact to the present, a "cumulatively man-altered landscape” that has changed over time. The river’s creation of the land over thousands of years, the wide biodiversity of plants and wildlife, ecosystems from bottomland hardwood forest to deepwater swamp to one of the world’s largest expanses of rare, floating freshwater peat marsh, and evidence of human occupation, reveal a complex interrelationship between natural and human history in the Mississippi River Delta.


Barataria Preserve Audio Tour Stop 7, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. (NPS photo)

      Fundamental Resources and Values

Fundamental resources and values (FRVs) are those features, systems, processes, experiences, stories, scenes, sounds, smells, or other attributes determined to warrant primary consideration during planning and management processes because they are essential to achieving the purpose of the park and maintaining its significance. Fundamental resources and values are closely related to a park’s legislative purpose and are more specific than significance statements.

Fundamental resources and values help focus planning and management efforts on what is truly significant about the park. One of the most important responsibilities of NPS managers is to ensure the conservation and public enjoyment of those qualities that are essential (fundamental) to achieving the purpose of the park and maintaining its significance. If fundamental resources and values are allowed to deteriorate, the park purpose and/or significance could be jeopardized.

The following fundamental resources and values have been identified for Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve:

  • Cultural Lifeways of the Lower Mississippi River Delta – The park interprets and perpetuates cultural lifeways of Louisiana’s Lower Mississippi River Delta Region. Such lifeways include language, food, music, art, and customs. Traditions such as ceremonial practices and cultural organizations are also highlighted. In accordance with the park’s establishing legislation, traditional uses such as hunting, trapping, and fishing continue to be practiced in the Barataria Preserve as a continuation of the relationship between human communities and the delta landscape.

  • Dynamic Delta Landscape – The Mississippi River Delta, created by the interaction of one of the world’s great rivers with the Gulf of Mexico, has created a dynamic landscape shaped by complex geologic processes and climate influences on both local and continental scales that give rise to diverse and highly productive wetlands. This low gradient landscape is experiencing rapid change including the highest rate of relative sea level rise and land loss in North America, providing a living laboratory for understanding consequences of climate change and human engineering, impacts of hydrologic modifications, and opportunities for adaptation.

  • Barataria Cultural Landscape – The fertile estuaries of the Lower Mississippi River Delta have provided a rich matrix for human beings throughout its short geologic existence, and the cultural landscape at the Barataria Preserve includes a nearly complete chronology of human habitation in the area as exemplified by prehistoric shell midden complexes; legacies of colonial, plantation, and 20th century agriculture; and the physical imprints of land uses including navigation, logging, hunting, trapping, fishing, and oil and gas exploration, development, and transportation, some of which continue today.

  • Barataria Wetlands Ecosystems – The Barataria Preserve protects representative samples of a highly productive delta landscape including a significant remnant bottomland hardwood forest, deepwater swamps, and the eastern edge of one of the largest expanses of rare, floating freshwater peat marsh in the world. As part of a large coastal wetland ecosystem, these wetlands provide habitat for diverse and abundant plants and animals. Among other services, they help support one of the most productive seafood harvests in the United States, and they buffer major concentrations of development from the effects of climate change and storm events.

  • Chalmette National Cemetery – The Chalmette National Cemetery is a contemplative landscape that commemorates the military service of more than 10 generations of Americans. It includes more than 15,000 interments spanning the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War. The cemetery is also a noteworthy final resting place for approximately 700 United States Colored Troops and 100 Buffalo Soldiers. Cultural landscape features include post-and-panel brick walls, an iron entrance gate, the Superintendent’s Lodge complex, the Grand Army of the Republic Monument, the gridded organization of grave markers, and relic allées of trees that line the main drive. The cemetery was closed to further interments in 1945 except for exceptional cases, such as the Vietnam burials.

  • Chalmette Battlefield – The Chalmette Battlefield contains archeological and landscape elements of the most significant land battle of the War of 1812. Landscape elements include the battlefield, trees, levees, rampart, and the Rodriguez Canal. The battlefield also contains commemorative memorials, including the historic Chalmette Monument and Spotts Marker, as well as the proposed site of the "Passage to Unity” commemorative work that recognizes fallen British soldiers.

  • Museum Collections and Archives – The park museum collection supports research and scholarship on a wide variety of topics: natural history specimens with associated field records; archeological objects systematically recovered from within the park’s boundaries with associated field records; historic objects; tools and equipment; furnishings and household items related to the Barataria Preserve and the Acadian Culture; and various military implements and materials related to the Battle of New Orleans. The archives consist primarily of resource management and administrative documentation.

  • Cultural Connections – Community collaborations are needed to carry out the park’s mission related to its diverse cultures and the tangible and intangible expressions of the culture and heritage of living communities. Working with a broad range of formal and informal organizations, the park facilitates connections to present and past cultures of Louisiana’s Lower Mississippi River Delta Region. These collaborations increase crosscultural appreciation for the cultural traditions of others.


Malus Beauregard House. (NPS photo)

      Other Important Resources and Values

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve contains other resources and values that are not fundamental to the purpose of the park and may be unrelated to its significance, but are important to consider in planning processes. These are referred to as "other important resources and values” (OIRV). These resources and values have been selected because they are important in the operation and management of the park and warrant special consideration in park planning.

Other important resources and values for the park include but are not limited to the following:

  • El Camino Real de Barataria (the royal road of Barataria) – The Spanish named it "El Camino Real de Barataria,” for it was owned by their king. It now exists only as a remnant of the public road built by the Spanish colonial government (1763–1803). It was known in French as "Le Chemin de Barataria” and in English as "Barataria Road.” Some of the Isleños settled in houses along this road located in the Pecan Grove area of the Barataria Preserve. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Malus-Beauregard House (c. 1833) – This historic building is an excellent example of French-Louisiana architecture and was built after the Battle of New Orleans, c. 1833. It is a summer home that was built on Chalmette Battlefield and never associated with a plantation. It served as a country residence for a succession of people in the 19th century, and is named for René Beauregard, its last owner, the son of the Civil War Confederate General, P. G. T. Beauregard.

  • Fazendeville (1867–1964) – Fazendeville is the site of an African American community once located on the Chalmette Battlefield site. Referred to as "the Village” by many of its residents, Fazendeville now constitutes only their memories of a once thriving and vibrant community during its almost 100-year existence as a river settlement.


Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery. (NPS photo)

      Interpretive Themes

Interpretive themes are often described as the key stories or concepts that visitors should understand after visiting a park—they define the most important ideas or concepts communicated to visitors about a park unit. Themes are derived from, and should reflect, park purpose, significance, resources, and values. The set of interpretive themes is complete when it provides the structure necessary for park staff to develop opportunities for visitors to explore and relate to all park significance statements and fundamental and other important resources and values.

Interpretive themes are an organizational tool that reveal and clarify meaning, concepts, contexts, and values represented by park resources. Sound themes are accurate and reflect current scholarship and science. They encourage exploration of the context in which events or natural processes occurred and the effects of those events and processes. Interpretive themes go beyond a mere description of the event or process to foster multiple opportunities to experience and consider the park and its resources. These themes help explain why a park story is relevant to people who may otherwise be unaware of connections they have to an event, time, or place associated with the park.

The following interpretive themes have been identified for Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve:

  • For centuries, the transformative currents of the Mississippi River have altered southeast Louisiana’s landscape and influenced the peoples who have made the delta their home, providing land for communities, plentiful food sources, and acting as conduit for cultural exchange.

  • The War of 1812 and the American victory at the Battle of New Orleans fueled national pride, catapulted Andrew Jackson into national prominence and the presidency, and led to a watershed moment in the shaping of the national identity of the United States.

  • The Battle of New Orleans drew together people of different races, ethnicities, religions, social classes, and cultures to win the last major battle of the War of 1812, and this cultural interchange continues to play a vital role in the identity of southern Louisiana today.

  • Southeast Louisiana’s natural history is shaped by the unending conversation between the Mississippi River, the Gulf of Mexico, and the consequences of human activities.

  • Cajun culture began with the Acadian exile from Canada and resettlement in Louisiana, and it survived due to complex interactions with other cultures and a fertile and dynamic landscape.

  • Creoles in Louisiana—those who are "native-born,” descended from the colonial settlers in Louisiana, especially those of French, Spanish, and African descent, as well as American Indian ancestry—have had a major impact on Louisiana’s culture, particularly in shaping the distinct cuisine, music, and language found across the state.

  • South Louisiana’s culture is best experienced personally—through dances, live music, the smell and taste of traditional foods, the unique Cajun language, the oral story traditions, family stories—all of which animate and give deeper meaning to everyday life.

  • From the colonial Code Noir and Governor Alejandro Conde de O’Reilly’s ban of the American Indian slave trade, to the 1896 Supreme Court ruling codifying "separate but equal” practices, to the 1960 integration of its public schools, to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has played a critical role in the social and legal civil rights struggle of Americans.

  • The park’s six sites reflect a broad range of the Gulf Coast’s human and natural history: the beauty of the Louisiana wetlands, centuries of human activity interacting with natural forces, the consequences of climate change and rising sea levels, the problems of invasive species and wetlands loss, and the opportunity to learn from the past and take action for the future.

           Text from Foundation Document, April 2015


Marsh Overlook Trail, Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. (NPS photo)


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