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Fort Macomb is a 19th-century fortress in Louisiana, on the western shore of Chef Menteur Pass.[1] The fort is adjacent to the Venetian Isles community, now legally within the city limits of New Orleans, Louisiana, although some miles distant from the city when first built and still a considerable distance from the main developed portion of the city.


Ruins of Fort Macomb, Louisiana

Chef Menteur Pass is a water route from the Gulf of Mexico to Lake Pontchartrain and the lakeshore of New Orleans. (The other route is the Rigolets; both straits connect Pontchartrain to the Gulf via Lake Borgne.) An earlier fort at the site was called Fort Chef Menteur. The current brick fort was built in 1822, and renamed Fort Wood in 1827, with its current name being given in 1851. The fort was occupied by a Confederate States of America garrison starting on 28 January 1861 early in the American Civil War, and retaken by the Union the following year.

In 1867 the barracks caught fire, after which the fort was largely abandoned. It was decommissioned in 1871.

The fort and its land are now owned by the State of Louisiana. While some efforts were made to open it to limited tourism in the late 20th century, the decaying condition of the fort was judged too hazardous for public visits. The similar but better preserved Fort Pike some 10 miles (16 km) away at the Rigolets has been the regional example of a coastal fort open to visitors.

A portion of the fort's old moat has been turned into a canal as part of a small marina. Unfortunately, the wakes from incoming and outgoing boats is wearing away the outer wall of the fort and accelerating the structural damage.


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