Plaquemines Parish Highpoint Trip Report

Date: February 28, 2005
Author: Bill Jacobs

The Plaquemines Parish highpoint resides within the Mississippi River levee system and is currently surrounded by water up to its highest contour. There appears to be no easy way to reach it and it will likely remain an elusive virgin until the Mighty Mississippi recedes.

From the intersection of US 90 and State Route 23 in Gretna, go southeast on SR 23 to the Mississippi River. Where SR 23 makes a right turn to parallel the River, turn left onto Main Street, also shown as SR 996 in DeLorme. The streets here are difficult to find but generally you will be looking for the main road that parallels the River, heading in a northeasterly direction.

Follow this road along the banks of the River to the entrance of the Tulane University Research Laboratory. The gate was open but there were signs restricting entry. However, there were also signs to the Coast Guard Communication Stations on whose property is the highpoint. I would assume passage through the Tulane University Research grounds is permissible without tracking down someone for approval as long as your destination is the Coast Guard Station.

The entrance to the Coast Guard facility is blocked by a gate with a speaker box. They allowed me in and I met the officer-in-charge at their administration building. He was most helpful and it turned out we had both spent time on Attu Island, Alaska (which has the easternmost U.S. Fire Station) - he one year, me two hours on three different occasions. Future visitors are welcome but he requests contact be made in advance: 504 393-6100.

Continue down the road that leads to the administrative building, several 100 yards to a dirt road leading up to the levee. Once on the levee turn left (southeast) - the River at this point is ironically flowing downstream in a northwesterly direction.

The 15 foot contour comes into view about half a mile further on the river side of the levee. It's approximately 0.4 mile long. The eastern segment, showing a disturbance of some kind on the topo, is underwater. The distance from the levee to the now-island is at its closest point only about 75 feet. I thought it might be possible with wading boots to walk through the brackish channel but an examination of the topo indicates there should be a depth of a least five feet. The officer-in-charge had the same impression. He said the River would probably remain at this height for a few years.

For the immediate future this highpoint appears only available for conquest to anyone who can haul in a small water craft, has the ability to walk on water, or slugs down a few Bourbon Street Hurricanes to steel up his courage for swimming across.

Nothing is more exasperating to a highpointer than standing on a levee, ABOVE the highpoint of the county, and looking DOWN at the virgin without being able to figure a way to get across the last 100 feet.