To Fort Pike ... and Beyond!

by William Mclaughlin April. 11, 2014 1699 views

We had such a good time in Louisiana visiting our friends Robert and Kathy, but even the best of times has to come to an end, and we needed to move on to our next destination. We drove east on I-12, then across a corner of Lake Pontchartrain on I-10, then south on 11 and east again on 90. (Those of you who like maps are welcome to follow along and see where that took us!) :) This is part of the Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge.

On Highway 90 we saw a couple of these flood wall barriers. It's really, really flat down there, and we weren't quite sure which side the water was supposed to stay on, but it was interesting to see part of the flood control system of that area!

Highway 90 goes across a very narrow peninsula, just barely wide enough to carry the road and a row of houses on either side. This is looking south toward the Gulf.

One of the places that's been on our list for a while is Fort Pike. This is an overview of the fort from a nearby bridge. It's basically triangular in shape, with a bow front. The waterway is known as The Rigolets. During Hurricane Katrina, the entire fort was submerged.

Fort Pike is surrounded by a moat, which makes for great photo ops!

This is the back corner of the fort, looking out toward the Rigolets.

We weren't sure if we would be able to tour Fort Pike. It wasn't in great shape before Katrina, and although it withstood the storm, the fort sustained even more damage. It was closed for repair, reopened, closed after Hurricane Gustav, reopened, closed after Hurricane Issac, and has now been opened again. We were lucky to see it! The crack you see is only one of several just like it.

The front corner of the fort nearest the bridge has a ramp to accommodate wheeled vehicles.

The other corners have stairs.

This is the curved front wall. We engaged in quite a bit of speculation as to the wavy pattern of bricks on the top. It most likely didn't start out that way!

The building in the center of the fort is the citadel … the last line of defense in case the outer walls were breached. We didn't realize how fortunate we were to see a fort from this time period with its citadel still mostly intact. (Tune in to our next blog for more on this subject.)

Another shot of the citadel.

Inside the fort walls are arches connecting most of the casemates.

The view from the top was great. You can see the parking lot from here! We had looked at the map pretty carefully before we left. Most of the time we don't stop to sightsee when we're driving the motorhome. However, it was a little farther than we wanted to backtrack in the car, so we made a plan, hoped it worked, and went ahead. We were pretty sure we'd have to unhitch the car in order to turn around. We did, but there weren't many cars in the parking lot, so it was an easy job. We hooked back up and got lined up to go before we took our tour.

We talked to an informative park employee while we were there, and he told us the post-Katrina building codes call for a minimum of 18 foot columns under any new construction. This entire area was wiped clean in 2005.

We left Fort Pike and headed across the bridge. A short drive brought us to Mississippi. Bill had been in 49 states, and Mississippi was his 50th!

There were a lot of lovely homes along the Gulf Coast, all restored after the recent hurricanes. There were a lot of vacant lots, too.

Highway 90 takes you right along the beach, and we saw a couple of people parasailing.

Biloxi, Mississippi has beautiful beaches! Neither of us had ever seen anything quite like this!
While in Biloxi, we camped at Keesler Air Force and endured two days of heavy rain leaving us with no more pictures of the area than this:-(

The Biloxi lighthouse sits in the median of Highway 90.

And this is the Pascagoula light.

Driving along the shore we noticed there's still a bit of de-construction and cleanup going on. This must have been a casino/hotel at one time.

Tara was amazed by all the Waffle House restaurants. They're a chain, but not on the West Coast!

We left rainy Mississippi and drove east into Alabama.

Our destination for the next few days was Dauphin Island, Alabama. You reach the island via a causeway.

Here's the view from the top!

We had a great day, and arrived at Dauphin Island safe and sound.

We're already working on the next blog entry. With luck and a good internet connection, we'll post the second part of this section of our trip tomorrow or the next day.

Stay tuned!

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