Friday, April 30, 2010


Louisiana WFSI sites should be preserved
By Mike Jones

LOUISIANA HAS a colorful history, and in the War For Southern Independence, 1861-1865, it was one of the main battlegrounds.

There were six major military campaigns fought in Louisiana, including the capture of New Orleans and the Bayou Lafourche campaign in 1862; the Bayou Teche, Port Hudson and Acadiana campaigns in 1863; and the Red River Campaign in 1864. Each involved major battles, minor skirmishes and many casualties.

More than 12,000 Louisianians died in the war and whole sections of the state were laid to waste.

That alone should be enough for the Louisianians to make sure Louisiana battlefields get proper recognition and historical preservation.

Private individuals and organizations interested in battlefield preservation need to shoulder the burden. A sterling example of this avenue is Camp Moore historic site near Tangipahoa. This was a State Commemorative Area shut down due to budget cuts.

A group of interested citizens wanting the save and preserve this important site in Louisiana's history formed an organization, got a long-term lease from the state and raised its own funds. It is now reopened and has a promising future that will boost tourism for the state.

In addition, Burr's Ferry -- which is the site of a Confederate earthworks — is being preserved by the local camp, Anacoco Rangers, of the Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The grounds are receiving upkeep and a nice Confederate flag display has been erected.

Also Niblett's Bluff Park near Vinton, which is another site of well preserved Confederate earthworks, is also being well preserved by the park's board of commissioners. Part of the Pleasant Hill battlefield is being preserved through private sources and is the scene of the state's largest annual reenactment.

While most battlefields in the state have in no way been preserved, the state has established historic sites at Port Hudson, Mansfield, Fort Pike and Winter Quarters State Historic Site. Fort DeRussy is in the process of being preserved. There are many more sites that need to be protected and preserved, including Bayou Lafourche, Bayou Teche, Calcasieu Pass, Buzzard's Prairie, and many more.

Private, state or federal grant money sources can be accessed. Louisiana has a colorful history and many battlefields that are well worth preserving.

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