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Posts Tagged ‘Plaquemine Parish Courthouse Fire’

Pointe a la Hache, Louisiana

Posted by graywacke on December 25, 2008

Note to first time users:  Please check out “About Landing,” above.


Dan –  Your home state just made the transition from OS-land to PS-land.  That’s right, I landed in . . . LA; 27/27; 5/10; 16; 164.0.  164.0 ties my record Score. 

This is as good as any time for a little Score recap.  I had a record low of 180.5 back on October 25, 2005.  I then embarked on that infamous terrible OSer run that left me without a record low Score until over a year and half later, when, on June 13th, 2007, I had a new low of 179.7. 

Then, in short order (in a little more than a month), I was down to 172.2.  I then embarked on another long OS-dominated run, such that it wasn’t until May 19th 2008 that I once again had a new low Score (171.5).  Since then, it has pretty much been steady-as-she-goes, on down to my current 164.0.

(Less knowledgeable blog readers:  you must read “About Landing” to have a clue about the above discussion.)

So, I landed way down the delta, and didn’t land in a “watershed,” per se.  Here’s a map showing my landing:

 landing in close

And here’s a zoomed-out version, showing my relationship to the closest town, Pointe A La Hache.  

 landing zoomed out

Although I could find nothing official about this on the web, since “hache” is axe in French, I assume the town name means “point of the axe.”  I can’t really find an axe based on current geography, but the Army Corps of Engineers has pretty much had their way with the lower Delta, changing landforms to keep the MM intact.

So, I found a travel blog (Observations from the Urban Prairie) which included a trip past Pointe a la Hache.  It starts with a picture of the ferry crossing.  Put your cursor on the photo, and you will that, ironically, the blogger called this picture:  “wb (west bank)_ferry-landing”.  So his landing is my landing . . .


This is the West Pointe a la Hache side of what constitutes the most downstream crossing of Old Man River. This may be the most desolate river crossing location anywhere. The ferry runs on a thirty minute schedule. Suprisingly, it does carry a brisk trade, even with Plaquemines Parish largely in ruins in this poast-Katrina world.

The ferry is one of two linking Plaquemines’ westbank with its sparsely populated eastbank (who those so blessed happen to know is actually the proverbial land of Oz). These ferries are the only links between the parish’s two halves. 

In transit via ferry:


The river is very wide here. Midwesterners, you ain’t seen nothing till you’ve been South.

The eastbank objective of the ferry is Pointe a la Hache, the parish’s erstwhile seat of government.  Most public functions, however, have been situated in the more northerly locale of Belle Chasse (nearer the bulk of the population, in any case), since December 2002, when the historic courthouse was torched by an arsonist:


I don’t have any idea why the blogger thinks that the East Bank of the River (East Pointe a la Hache) is the Land of Oz.  Anyway, from the New Orleans Time Picyune:

Officials: Louisiana Courthouse Was Burned to Destroy Records

POINTE A LA HACHE, La. (AP) — The torching of the century-old Plaquemines Parish Courthouse was motivated in part by a desire to destroy records of a botched theft of a boat motor, parish officials say they have been told by federal authorities.

A federal indictment returned July 16 in New Orleans alleged the operator of a Gretna motorcycle shop and two others conspired to burn the courthouse in an effort to help customers and friends by destroying evidence in pending criminal cases.

The fire on Jan. 12, 2002, destroyed the courthouse and caused more than $2.5 million in damage.

Are you kidding me?!?  They should throw the book at these bums!!  Take a look at what the courthouse used to look like:


As you know, Plaquemines took a direct hit from Katrina.  Here’s a shot from Pointe a la Hache:


And, just for the heck of it, here’s a funky shot of Pointe a la Hache, showing a Katrina-damaged church bus, and a FEMA trailer in the background:

Pointe a la Hache

One more thing.  Dan, as you may remember, I landed out in the marsh outside of Port Sulphur, just a little further down river from Pointe a la Hache.  That landing was just last August.  From my email to you, here’s a Katrina picture of Port Sulphur:


 The closer you look, the worser it is.




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