The Wickedest City: Ecological History and Archaeological Potential at La Balise

Author(s): Arlice Marionneaux

Year: 2018

Summary

La Balise was a French outpost in the Southeast Pass of the Mississippi River -- one of the most geologically dynamic landscapes on earth. The fort was built in 1723 to defend the waterway from encroaching armies and to justify relocating Louisiana’s capital from Biloxi to New Orleans. La Balise’s geographical position led it to become the colony’s port of call, and its frontier environment fostered a profusion of cultural and technological adaptations. However, the same environmental conditions that allowed la Balise to thrive would be the outpost’s demise: shifting sediments, violent storms, and intense flooding led to total abandonment of the fort in 1860. Today, la Balise’s ruins lay mostly underwater. As Louisiana’s coastline becomes increasingly threatened, the history and archaeological potential of la Balise are powerful caveats reminding us of humans’ integral relationship with their coastlines and oceans. 

Cite this Record

The Wickedest City: Ecological History and Archaeological Potential at La Balise. Arlice Marionneaux. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441432)

Keywords

Temporal Keywords
18th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 231