Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site

Historical


Bayou Plaquemine served as a vital waterway from the Mississippi River to the interior of Louisiana during the 1800s and into the mid 1900s. Because of its importance both as a major transportation route and a force for economic prosperity, Congress authorized the construction of a lock here in the late 1800s. Construction began in 1895 and was completed in 1909.

In 1925, Bayou Plaquemine became the northern terminus of the Intracoastal Canal system. Increased river traffic during and after World War II put a severe strain on the lock's capacity. In 1961, the Port of Greater Baton Rouge opened in Port Allen and the Plaquemine Lock was closed after 52 years of service.

It is historically significant for a number of reasons:
  • It was designed by Col. George W. Goethals, who was later the chief engineer of the design and construction of the Panama Canal.
  • When it was completed, it had the highest freshwater lift of any lock in the world at 51 feet; and featured a unique engineering design that utilized a gravity flow principle.
  • The lock house is quite a unique structure in itself, with a Dutch-influenced style that features gleaming white tile and massive circular windows.
  • The lock house has been re-named the Gary J. Hebert Memorial Lock house in honor of the late Plaquemine publisher and editor who fought a four-year battle in the 1970's to save the structure and a portion of Bayou Plaquemine. At that time, city and state officials wanted to demolish the building and fill in the bayou to make way for a four-lane highway. He was responsible for having the area put on the National Register of Historic Places, protecting it from demolition.
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Site Today

 
Now a state historic site, it includes:
  • Museum
  • Visitors' center
  • Open air pavilion with a display of various water craft used when the lock was operational

Location

 
57730 Main Street
Plaquemine, LA 70764
Phone: 225-687-7158 
Alternate: 877-987-7158.

Hours of Operation

 
Thursday, Friday and Saturday
9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Admission

 
There is no charge for admission to this historic location!