Lake Fausse Pointe is a reservoir located in Iberia Parish, Louisiana. The lake extends into parts of St. Martin and St. Bernard parishes. Lake Fausse Pointe was constructed to provide drinking water for the residents of south Louisiana. Construction began on December 11, 1961 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers under contract with the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (now known as the Department of Homeland Security). It became operational for public use in 1967. The dam that creates the lake measures 914 feet (285m) high and 2,883 feet (850m) long. Its construction cost was $28 million ($34 million today), which was paid for by the U.S. government, the state of Louisiana, and private donations.
At full capacity, the lake holds 21,600 acre-feet (26,000,000 cubic meters) of water. An acre-foot (1,800,000 m3) is roughly equivalent to 3,300 US gallons (13,000 l; 4.9109l/s) or 1,200impgal (0.7611l) of pure water. Inundated areas outside the park saw significant changes to their ecology as well as to the local economy. Fishing opportunities abound in this diverse environment. Visitors can also enjoy nature trails, picnic sites, boat landings, interpretive panels, an amphitheatre, and museums at both ends of the lake. Campsites range from modern with all amenities to primitive without electricity or running water. There are even two youth group campsites. The visitor center features interactive exhibits about the area and its people, while the museum store sells items made by Native Americans in the region. A Nature Center offers hands-on activities, and there is a special children’s room.
The campground has over 100 drive-up sites, 30 walk-in sites, 10 camper cabins, and 5 rentable cottages. Boat landings along the shoreline accommodate up to 40 privately owned shallow-draft vessels. Interpretive displays at each landing spot highlight different aspects of coastal life during pre-Civil War times. Two historic settlements, Honey Island and Tickfaw, were submerged beneath the waters of Lake Fausse Pointe. Honey Island had a population of 150 to 175 persons in 1858, mostly enslaved African Americans who worked on nearby sugar plantations. They built homes, farmed, fished, and hunted. Tickfaw was home to around 250 inhabitants, many of them free Blacks who worked on the plantation system, but some of whom lived off the plantation too. Their descendants still live in the region.
Saltwater fishing is available year round, freshwater fishing is allowed only during certain months. Ice fishing takes place within the boundaries of the park. Access to Lake Fausse Pointe is easy, especially when the gate is closed. Turn onto LA Hwy. 3676, then take the first exit after passing through the Lee County line. Head toward Leesville, then turn left onto River Road. Drive less than one mile until you reach the bridge where the road forks. Take a look at the map; you will see we are almost back where we started. But, instead of turning back, take a right onto Highway 3112. This route leads across the highway to the entrance of the park. We will come back later to visit that part of our trip. To get to the opposite side of the lake, return to the fork in Highways 3766 and 3676. Instead of taking a left onto River Road, take a right onto Caney Creek Road. Then make your first right onto Scenic Highway, which becomes Lakeshore Boulevard. Go another half mile and make a sharp left onto Bayou Teche Parkway.
After three miles of driving, you will arrive at the new entrance to the park. On weekends, visitors may enter the park via Gate 67. Located inside the park, it allows access to the beach for those with passes allowing unlimited daytime parking. Boats may not enter the Intracoastal Waterway. However, boats may travel on the bayous surrounding the park. No gasoline motors are permitted. Electric motors only. Maximum horsepower allowed is 15. Boats must display current registration from any state or a launch permit from the Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Division. The beach opens daily at 6:30a.m., and closes at s p.m. Oct – May, 8 p.m. Jun – Sep.
Amenities include restrooms, showers, vending machines, playground equipment, and a basketball court. Picnic tables are scattered throughout the park, and covered pavilions may be rented. A concession stand near the beach sells food and beverages. The park contains four separate boat launches. Lake Fausse Pointe has several landings designated for specific purposes. Interpretive displays at each landing spot highlight different aspects of coastal life during pre-Civil War times. Two historic settlements, Honey Island and Tickfaw, were inundated by the creation of the lake.
The original settlers were former slaves who arrived in the area following the American Revolutionary War. Many of these individuals stayed at the plantation called La Louisiane. Located on what is now the site of the park, La Louisiane was a large plantation owned by Antoine de la Mothe du Pont, a prominent French nobleman who served as ambassador to Spain from 1780 to 1783 and again from 1787 to 1793. During his second term as ambassador, he resided at Courtille, a country estate in France given to him by King Louis XVI. Following the king’s death, Queen Marie Antoinette attempted to flee Paris for Varennes, her family’s ancestral village in the Vendee region. She stopped at the chateau d’Antilly, the former residence of Cardinal Doudet, the archbishop of Paris, who had died just five years previously.
With the help of Abbé Sieyès, a noted lawyer and politician, she managed to escape the Royal Tuileries Palace and hide out at Chantilly. She would remain at Chantilly, never returning to the palace, until her execution in 1794. Shortly thereafter, on July 14, 1795, George Washington visited Versailles to negotiate purchasing supplies for the army. While there, he met briefly with Marie Antoinette, who expressed regret that she could not leave Paris due to poor health. Her wish was granted, and soon afterwards she departed for Toulon, aboard the USS Philadelphia, bound for America. She landed in Baltimore on October 26, 1795. Three days later, she traveled north to Valley Falls, Virginia, the destination of her son, Prince Edward Henry, Duke of Kent, who was married to Martha Custis, daughter of Robert E. Lee. From here, she proceeded to Williamsburg, Virginia, arriving on November 7. Five days later, she and her husband returned to England, leaving behind their infant son, born the previous March.
- wildlife viewing
- limited motorized boating
Lake Fausse Pointe provides excellent habitat for both fresh and saltwater fish such as:
- largemouth bass
Shellfish such as: