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Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site

Subject: History

57730 Main St.
Plaquemine, LA 70764

(877) 987-7158 | General Information
(225) 687-7158 | Reservations
(225) 687-8933 | Fax

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General Public Hours and Admission Rates: Daily, 9:00am – 5:00pm; $2.00 Adults, Free Seniors and Children 12 years old and under

School Tour Hours and Admission Rates: Daily, 9:00am – 5:00pm; Free for Students, Teachers, and Chaperones

  • Student to Chaperone Ratio Requested: 10:1
  • Advance Time Needed to Make Reservations: One week
  • Number of Students per Visit: Up to 60 for Regular Tours; Up to 400 for Special Program days
  • Suggested Length of Time for Visit: One hour
  • Handicapped Accessible: Yes
  • Grade Level Appropriate: K -12th
  • Lunch Facilities: Picnic space is available on-site. Fast food and full service restaurants are in close driving distance.
  • Gift Shop: No
  • Bus parking available

Tell Us About It!

Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site tells the story of the rich commercial and maritime history of Bayou Plaquemine Lock. Its 52 years of service, 1909-1961, were punctuated with diverse events, ranging from the exportation of Louisiana’s great cypress and oil reserves to the provision of secure connection to the gulf’s Intercoastal Waterway. This man-made inland route assured safe maritime transport throughout World War II. Two original structures remain on-site and are listed with the National Register of Historic Places. Bayou Plaquemine Lock, a 260–foot concrete edifice capped with 55-foot steel gates, allowed for regular commerce between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atchafalaya Basin, and the Mississippi River. The Lock House, constructed of cypress timber and white glazed brick, originally sheltered the machinery necessary for operations of the locks.

What Can We See and Do There?

An exhibit of historic images of Plaquemine Lock and displays about the settlement and commerce of the Atchafalaya Basin are presented throughout the Lock House. A working model demonstrates a barge’s passage through Plaquemine Lock highlighting other historic attractions in the surrounding city. The exhibit Louisiana’s Disappearing Coast shows how much of the coastline has been lost, what caused the losses, and what is being done to restore the coastline. Traditional Louisiana water crafts are also housed on-site in an exhibit dedicated to preserving the unique maritime heritage of Southern Louisiana and the Atchafalaya Basin. Other exhibits include Louisiana Waterways, Historic Boats of the Bayou, Music of the River, and Nautical Stargazing. When scheduling this field trip, teachers should inquire about any special programs that may be included with the regular tour. Teachers may also ask site staff to show a 12-minute video which chronicles the construction, operation, and inevitable closure of Plaquemine Lock.

How Do We Get There?

From I-10 west, take LA 1 south/Plaquemine exit. Travel 11 miles south. The site is in downtown Plaquemine, across from the Iberville Museum and the St. John the Evangelist Church.

Bad Weather! Now What Do We Do?

Call to confirm rainy day plans.

What can we visit nearby?

Iberville Museum (225-687-7197); St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church (225-687-3056)

Louisiana State Educational Benchmarks and Standards
  • K-4th grades: G-1A-E1-2; E-1B-E1, 3-4; G-IC-E1-2, 5; G-1D-E1-4; E-1A-E1, 6, 8,; H-1A-E1-3; H-1B-E2; H-1C-E1, 3-4
  • 5th-8th grades: G-1A-M1-3; G-1B-M1-4; G-1C-M1, 6; H-1D-M1-4; E-1A-M2, 9; E-1B-M7; H-1A-M1-6; H-1D-M1, 4-6
  • 9th-12th grades: G-1A-H1-2; G-1B-H1-2, 4; G-1C-H1-2, 4; G-1C-H1-2, 5; E-1A-H8; E-1B-H6; H-1A-H1-6
What Can We Do in Class before Our field Trip?

Teachers may request a copy of Bayou Plaquemine Lock or download it from the National Park Service at www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/ . In class discuss the geography of Louisiana highlighting waterways and major navigational routes. Have students locate Iberville Parish and finger-trace possible water routes out to the Gulf of Mexico. Teachers will receive by mail a packet of information that will include program descriptions upon making field trip reservations.

S-T-R-E-T-C-H-Out Your Field Trip Benefits

Size and scale have new meaning to students after walking through the visitors’ complex at the Plaquemine Lock. Hold class in the school yard or in the gym. Using yardsticks, have students measure out 55 feet and then add 260 feet, the dimensions of the lock edifice and steel gates. This is the total height of the lock. Turn to world maps and have students find other historic lock systems. Ask them to locate the locks on the Tennessee River and the Panama Canal. Teachers can request site staff to visit their classrooms for presentations on Louisiana’s waterways, historic boats of the bayou, and Louisiana’s disappearing coastline.


Louisiana history, geography, transportation; economics


Atchafalaya National Heritage Area

• National Park Service affiliate
• "Passport to Your National Parks" Program
• Member of Alliance of National Heritage Areas
National Park Service Affiliate Louisiana Travel - Pick Your Passion Alliance of National Heritage Areas