Louisiana Travel | Places to Visit: Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site


Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site

The Plaquemine Lock was designed by Colonel George W. Goethals, assistant to the chief engineer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Goethals later gained distinction as chairman and chief engineer of the Isthmian Canal Commission for the design and construction of the Panama Canal.

The Plaquemine Lock had a unique engineering design that utilized a gravity flow principle.  When completed in 1909, the lock had the highest fresh water lift of any lock in the world — 51 feet.  The lock served provided a short-cut from the Mississippi River into Louisiana’s interior.  By 1925, Bayou Plaquemine had become the northern terminus of the Intracoastal Canal system.

In 1961, a larger set of locks began operating at Port Allen due to increased river traffic during and after World War II.  The Plaquemine Lock was closed after 52 years of service.

The Plaquemine Lock structure was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.  The Gary James Hebert Memorial Lockhouse serves as a museum and visitors center.  Facilities also include a stylized adaptation of the lockmaster’s house which provides an open-air pavilion space to display various water craft used when the lock was operational and a 40-foot-tall observation tower where you can view the Mississippi River and the lock complex.

Plaquemine Lock State Historic Site
57730 Main Street
Plaquemine, Louisiana