Port Allen Old Ferry Landing
—Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail —
At one time, all east-west traffic now traveling U.S. Route 190 crossed the Mississippi River via ferry to this site. The ferry was first used by horses and wagons, later by cars and trucks, and always by pedestrians.
The Mississippi River is one of the longest rivers in North America, flowing 2,340 miles from Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico below New Orleans. Its floodplain encompasses more than 30 million acres. The lower Mississippi is bound by high bluffs and man-made levees adjacent to oxbow lakes, swamps and marshes. Cities developed here because of the river’s promise as a major commercial corridor. Though the river has more than 250 tributaries, most connections in Louisiana are distributaries. They spread the Mississippi’s water and silt across broad areas, enriching the agricultural land on both sides of the river.
The Mississippi has shifted course many times in geologic history. Its current basin was shaped by the Laurentide Ice Sheet, which ended with the last ice age about 11,700 years ago. The river’s present-day course dates to approximately 800 to 1,000 years ago, when it shifted from the Lafourche Delta. Its watershed measures 1.85 million square miles (41 percent of the U. S.), encompassing 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
The Mississippi River’s average flow is 470,000 cubic
During the Mississippi River Flood of 2011, an extensive rain event in the Ohio River’s basin sent near record amounts of water past this landing. During that flood the river stage or height at Baton Rouge reached 45 feet. This stage was just a few feet short of the highest ever recorded—47.26 feet during the Flood of 1927.
Before the construction of the U.S. 190 bridge, residents of Baton Rouge and Port Allen crossed the river at the Old Ferry Landing. The first ferries crossed the river here in 1820 at what was then San Michel. Once the parish seat, this small town was consumed by the Mississippi River over the next century. It was replaced by Port Allen to the west.
With construction in 1968 of the Horace Wilkinson Bridge (also called the Interstate 10 bridge), the ferry was no longer needed and ceased operation in 1968. Today, ships navigating the river here are most likely going to and from the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, located at the convergence of the Mississippi and the Gulf
Visit Atchafalaya.org for more information about this site.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene natural levee deposits of Mississippi River
Erected by State of Louisiana and National Park Service.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Atchafalaya Water Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 30° 27.169′ N, 91° 12.131′ W. Marker is in Port Allen, Louisiana, in West Baton Rouge Parish. Marker is at the intersection of Court Street (State Highway 987-4) and South River Road (State Road 987-5) when traveling east on Court Street. Touch for map. Located on top of Mississippi River levee in the Old Ferry Landing Park. Marker is in this post office area: Port Allen LA 70767, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Mississippi River Old Ferry Landing (a few steps from this marker); Louisiana Purchase - West Baton Rouge Early History (within shouting distance of this marker); Gear from Cinclare Mill (approx. 0.6 miles away); Third Parish Courthouse (approx. 0.6 miles away); Port Allen Prisoner-Of-War Sub-Camp No. 7 (approx. 0.6 miles away); West Baton Rouge Parish Bicentennial (approx. 0.7 miles away); a different marker also named The Mississippi River (approx. ¾ mile away); Zachary Taylor Home Site (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Allen.
Categories. • Environment • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on December 22, 2017. This page originally submitted on December 22, 2017, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 62 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 22, 2017.