S. 311/Mary Landrieu
The Mississippi River is truly an amazing body of water, with its basin touching more than 30 states and its immense sources of commerce, recreation, and cultural wealth. Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, where the Mississippi River empties into the Gulf of Mexico, is a prime example of these traits–and worthy of consideration in our National Park System.
Spanish explorers traveled the banks of the Lower Mississippi River as far back as the 1500s, which led to the creation of 10 fortifications, including Fort St. Philip and Fort Jackson. During the Civil War, Union leaders launched an eight-day assault against the Confederate army, giving the North control of these forts, the River, and the city of New Orleans.
In addition to its rich Civil War history, the natural and cultural attributes of the Lower Mississippi region are unique. The South Louisiana estuary is considered one of North America’s most dynamic ecosystems for migratory birds and wildlife, and includes the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1904. Plaquemines Parish was also a culturally diverse home to Native Americans, Spanish, French and Africans, along with immigrants from China, the Canary Islands, Vietnam, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and beyond.
Update: Passed in the Senate
—Harnett T. Kane, “Bayous of Louisiana”