The Jean Lafitte National Park and Preserve includes 6 sites which cover 23,000 acres at different locations in Louisiana. The park protects sites which have historic and cultural significance for the Mississippi River Delta region. The Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette; Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux all have significance for the Cajun culture and history. The Cajuns are an ethnic group descended from French-speaking colonials who settled in Louisiana when they came from Acadia (Maritimes), Canada. The Barataria Preserve in Marrero focuses on natural and cultural history and offers trails to follow, canoe tours through the swamps and an educational center. The Lafitte National Park also has a center in The French Quarter of New Orleans which highlights the diverse cultures of the area. The final site in the Lafitte family is the Chalmette battlefield.
The Chalmette Battlefield is part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park Preserve; it was here that the last land battle on US soil took place in 1812. The final battle of the War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans, was fought here between the British and locals including Jean Lafitte and led by Andrew Jackson. The two sides fought pointlessly as they later learnt that the Treaty of Ghent had already been signed weeks earlier to end the war. At the battlefield there is a Visitor Center where you can learn all about the 1812 war and the people who were involved. For example Jean Lafitte was a pirate! This battle also marked the start of Jackson's meteoric rise to fame as a great General. At the center there are authentic uniforms, weapons, books, news papers and items from that period of history. There is also a video presentation with an interactive light display. The Battle of New Orleans, (which was part of the War of 1812) is the main focus of the site; this was independent America's last battle with Britain over the possession of the country. The battle was so significant in US history that for years January 8th (the date of the battle) was celebrated in the same way July 4th is celebrated today.
After seeing the artifacts in the Visitor Center you can take a guided tour around the battlefield itself. The knowledgeable guides will tell you about the movements of the troops and significant events during the battle. The tour culminates with the Chalmette National Cemetery where 15,000 American soldiers from several wars are buried including four soldiers from the War of 1812. A great way of getting to the site is on the paddle-wheeler Creole Queen from New Orleans's French Quarter.
|Hours:||Visitor center and public restrooms open 7 days, 9:00 am to 4:30 pm|
|Address/Map:||6588 Barataria Boulevard, Marrero, LA 70072|
|Website:||Chalmette Battlefield and Jean Lafitte National Park|