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Locking Around Louisiana

Port Allen and Plaquemine


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2008 Winter Road Trip & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Tuesday 8 January 2008

Since it wasn't far to Shreveport (where we are going next), I decided to go see the Plaquemine Locks, which are a historic landmark. But I was confused by the signs and when we came to one that said
Port Allen Locks/Plaquemine

Port Allen Locks/Plaquemine


(about 0930) and Bob asked if that was it, I said "Yes".
View from the car on the bridge

View from the car on the bridge


Bridge going south from Baton Rouge

Bridge going south from Baton Rouge


So Bob took the exit, but it was really for the Port Allen Locks. We went past
3853330-Port_of_Baton_Rouge_Port_Allen.jpgPort of Baton Rouge Engineers building

Port of Baton Rouge Engineers building


This turned out to be a working lock on the Red River - the one that had replaced the Plaquemine Lock.
Looking down the Red River from the locks

Looking down the Red River from the locks


At the Port Allen locks, barges and tugs are locked down into the canal (no I wasn't talking about a jail or a correctional facility). This saves them fuel and time - they travel approximately an 120 miles shorter distance without having the bends in the river. It is on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway which is an east-west inland waterway shortcut that connects Florida and Texas.
The side of the lock from the road

The side of the lock from the road


The Lock is the largest of its kind. It serves as a man-made break in the levee. The massive free floating lock doors weigh 90-ton doors.
large_3903317-Port_of_Baton_Rouge_Port_Allen.jpg
The sides are 64 feet. The lock was constructed in 1961 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replace the historic Plaquemine Lock. The lock is closed to the public during any world conflict.
Tug coming into the lock

Tug coming into the lock


We were just in time to watch a tug go through with a whole bunch of barges.
78283333903311-Lock_gate_fr..Port_Allen.jpgLock gates parly open and Lock gates closing

Lock gates parly open and Lock gates closing

Aft deck of the tug

Aft deck of the tug

Lock operator on the lock gate

Lock operator on the lock gate

Crew on coal barge tending the line on the bollard

Crew on coal barge tending the line on the bollard

x100_2172.jpgBarges in lock

Barges in lock

Lower gates opening

Lower gates opening


It was a big lock and very interesting. The guy who was running things explained everything because of course we had a lot of questions.
Control panel in the lockhouse

Control panel in the lockhouse

x100_2181.jpgSide of the lock gates and the walkway on top of them

Side of the lock gates and the walkway on top of them


When we left (about 1050) we found that we were locked in as the gate had closed.
Behind the fence - can't get out

Behind the fence - can't get out


It took a couple minutes before someone came to let us out. Then we proceeded on down Louisiana Route 1 to Plaquemine.

large_100_2249.jpglarge_100_2251.jpg
3853342-Historic_Louisiana_Town_Plaquemine.jpgPlaquemine water tower

Plaquemine water tower


This is the parish named for Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville whose statue we saw in Biloxi
483882253854503-Road_bridge_..Plaquemine.jpgDepot Street

Depot Street

100_2192.jpgCity Hall-Iberville Museum

City Hall-Iberville Museum

100_2196.jpgPlaquemine Lock State Historic Site Signs

Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site Signs


large_100_2197.jpg3854526-Land_side_of_the_lockhouse_Plaquemine.jpgLand side of the lockhouse

Land side of the lockhouse


The lock is a Louisiana State Park. Entrance was free for seniors. Bayou Plaquemine is a branch of the Mississippi River. The lock that was built there was an early example of hydraulic engineering which was designed to make the river more navigable- so that boats could travel from the bayous to the river even though the water level in the two was different. The lock took 14 years to build because of engineering problems and bankruptcies. It provided an access route between southwestern Louisiana (and thus Texas) and the Mississippi via the Atchafalaya Basin.

When it was built, Plaquemine Lock was the highest freshwater lift of any lock in the world. In 1961 Plaquemine Lock was closed after 52 years of service.due to the demand for a larger lock - that's when they built the lock at Port Allen The Plaquemine Lock structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

We visited the Gary James Hebert Memorial Lockhouse, which serves as a museum and visitors center. The lockhouse is named for Hebert because he worked to prevent the destruction of the lock by the Corps of Engineers and campaigned to have the area preserved as a historic site. There is an adaptation of the Lockmaster's house included in the displays along with the machinery used to operate the lock. We had a very interesting talk from the ranger that was there. There was a little movie (on the TV/VCR) about it.
"Movie" on the TV

"Movie" on the TV

Side of the lock from inside the lockhouse

Side of the lock from inside the lockhouse

Overhead tank

Overhead tank


They had an Evinrude outboard just like the one we have.
Old outboards

Old outboards

Photo of boats in lock

Photo of boats in lock

large_x100_2209.jpg100_2203.jpgBoat models

Boat models

Diorama of the locks

Diorama of the locks

Steam Power

Steam Power


The lock house was faced with bright shiny white ceramic bricks. This was so that it could be seen at a distance. They changed from coal to oil heat so that the bricks wouldn't get dirty. It is almost like a lighthouse.
3854504-Lock_House_detail_Plaquemine.jpgBright white lockhouse

Bright white lockhouse


The Plaquemine Lock was designed by Colonel George W. Goethals (1858-1928), the assistant to the chief engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. If his name seems familiar, Goethals was chairman and chief engineer of the Isthmian Canal Commission for the design and construction of the Panama Canal.
Lock through the chain link fence

Lock through the chain link fence


7376310-Old_lock_gates_Plaquemine.jpg Detail of the old lock gates

Detail of the old lock gates

Looking down into the lock area

Looking down into the lock area

Old lock gates

Old lock gates

3854525-Lockhouse_Plaquemine.jpgLockhouse

Lockhouse


Road where you can look over the lock

Road where you can look over the lock


large_100_2218.jpglarge_193fc040-abff-11ea-b38c-579448660b82.jpg
It was almost 1300 when we left there and so it was time to find a place to eat. We finally stopped at a place called Bayou Bistro in Brusly.
large_7376332-Restaurant_and_Catering.jpg
This was either a restaurant or a buffet ($8.50 for the buffet lunch).
large_100_2243.jpg
The place was full of stuffed animals - one wall of the dining room had about 8 deer heads,
fea00930-aa09-11ea-991d-0d889ed518be.jpg7376338-Restaurant_and_Catering.jpg
and over the entrance door was a pair of turkeys.
7376333-Restaurant_and_Catering.jpg7376335-Restaurant_and_Catering.jpg7376336-Restaurant_and_Catering.jpg

I had intended to go by one of the National Park sections on the way to Barksdale, but it was too late, and I couldn't find my Golden Age Passport (I found it later).
Shreveport water tower

Shreveport water tower


We got to Barksdale AFB on the east side of Shreveport about 1630,
3854634-Entrance_Bossier_City.jpgEast of Shreveport

East of Shreveport


and were checked in before 1730. Although we had a hard time finding it.
Historic Quarters on Barksdale AFB

Historic Quarters on Barksdale AFB


We followed the directions of the guy at the gate and got right to it, but then I phoned and told the girl we were sitting in front of building 5155, and she didn't know that it was her building. This is another location that is only open to military. They said Bob was a Lt. Col. which is the equivalent of a Navy Commander.
Rooms from the parking lot

Rooms from the parking lot


The Barksdale Inn offers a variety of rooms designed to provide you with a home away from home. Many units feature a coffee maker, microwave oven and refrigerator. All units offer color TV, air conditioning, cribs, housekeeping service and washer/dryer usage.

Main Lobby
For your convenience, the main lobby is open 24 hours a day and serves coffee, cappuccino and hot chocolate at no charge to you. Brochures and area maps are also provided.

Telephone Call Rates
Local Calls - No Charge
Toll-Free Calls - No Hotel Surcharge
Local Information - $1.25 Per Call
Long Distance Information - $1.25 Per Call
Credit Card Calls - Billed at Credit Card Rate (No Hotel Surcharge)
Long Distance Direct Call - $ .60 Per Minute

No Pets and No Smoking is allowed.

They had wi-fi that was free and I just logged on as a guest, We had a bedroom,
Bathroom

Bathroom


3854575-Living_room_Bossier_City.jpgLiving room TV

Living room TV


Full Kitchen

Full Kitchen



The restaurant outside the gate was Mexican and Bob didn't want to do that twice in a row, so we drove around and looked for something else. Eventually we went to the USA Cafe.
3854801-Outside_at_night_Bossier_City.jpgOutside and Inside - the counter

Outside and Inside - the counter


Menu

Menu


I had a
Rib eye mashed potatoes and a salad

Rib eye mashed potatoes and a salad


Bob had
Chopped steak and brown gravy

Chopped steak and brown gravy

.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 03:28 Archived in USA

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Comments

Would be interesting to do simulation drive on the Locks! :)

by hennaonthetrek

You mean a simulation from a boat? I am not aware of anything like that. I have done real boat trips through locks but the Port Allen lock looks like it isn't suitable for recreational boats.

by greatgrandmaR

I meant a "Lock-worker" simulation, for example there are ferrys A, B and C coming and you have to get them to gates (decks?) X,Y Z but a boat simulation could be interesting too :)

Don't know if there are this kind of simulations, in school we had a simulator of paper factory and that was fun assignment to do!

by hennaonthetrek

We didn't have computers when I was in school so I don't know about that.

In big locks like the Panama canal, and to a certain extent like the Port Allen locks, most of the boats locking through are very big boats and there is only room for one per lock. People on the boat handle the lines. The line handlers have the responsibility to keep the boat positioned in the lock. The lines on land are managed by The opening and closing of the gates and filling and emptying of the lock is done by someone in the lock house. It's slow (like filling a big bathtub) and not really very interesting for a simulation. This is an account of doing the Panama Canal. https://grandmapanama.travellerspoint.com/9/

In small river boat locks, there is one boat at a time in the lock, and the people on the boat open and close the gates and work the machinery to let the water in or out of the lock. That's fun to do. https://greatgrandmar.travellerspoint.com/7/

The locks on the Intercoastal waterway have usually one person who direct the boats and takes their lines and puts them over a bollard and then lets the water into or out of the lock. It's a pretty simple operation.

by greatgrandmaR

Very educational way to teach students how, for example paper, factories are run without the danger of losing money or doing damage to the machines by doing sonething in a wrong way or wrong order :)

But I can see how the canal might not be so exciting in simulation than I first thought if everything is happening slowly :)

by hennaonthetrek

Yes, Bob said the trip through the Panama Canal was like watching paint dry. He wasn't interested unless he was operating the lock or the boat

by greatgrandmaR

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