Fort Pike
New Orleans, Louisiana
Visited 5.20.2016

Visit the Fort Pike page here!

My pages about starforts I've visited are generally intended as guides for folks who also might wish to visit these forts, but in the case of Fort Pike, it seems unlikely that anyone will get much of a chance to visit in the near future. As the first picture on this page attests, it was technically closed when I visited in 2016, but by the grace of the Starfort gods, I happened to unwittingly stumble my way there on the one day a week that a Louisiana Park Ranger opened up the fort on his own time, out of the vast goodness of his heart.

The Gulf Coast has been the recipient of a number of particularly vicious hurricanes over the past several years, and 200-year-old starforts do not fare well in such situations.
Most of the forts that I've visited on the Gulf Coast have been damaged to one degree or another by recent storms, and some were closed to the public, a sad state in which they will likely remain for a while. The governments of storm-ravaged states have lots of things to repair, and historic sites understandably take a back seat...all of which means that I was amazingly fortunate to even get into not only Fort Pike, but also its smaller sister fort, Fort Macomb, later that same exhausting, exhilarating day.

Fort Pike is both amazingly tidy, and incredibly crumbly...two descriptions that would seem to be at odds with one another.
Though there was an entire biosphere of picturesque moss, mud and various forms of heroic decay all around me at Fort Pike, the grass on its parade ground was cut, there was a complete dearth of any sort of litter, and the restored center room of the citadel's interior was painted a blinding white. Especially compared to the untamed wilderness of Fort Macomb, Fort Pike was particularly well cared-for. Structurally, Macomb seems to be in much better shape than does Pike....but that's difficult to surmise whilst one is illicitly hacking one's way through Macomb's untrimmed interior.
Crumblyness is by no means an unusual state for an American starfort to be in, but Fort Pike's climate (including those storms I can't stop bringing up) has damaged it so thoroughly that there are enormous, sunlight-admitting cracks in two of the fort's three bastions, as well as a number of other impressive cracks throughout the rest of its walls.

Giant metal clamps were holding the fort's northern bastion together at the time of my visit, and all three bastions were supported by stout and difficult-to-navigate-one's-way-through interior timber structures. There was 100% access, however, to all that Fort Pike had to offer.
Please be warned that in this gallery you will be exposed to way more pictures of bricks, arches, firing embrasures, iron, water and starfort wildlife than are healthy. With the remains of two decidedly weird hot shot furnaces, a curiously hairbrained drainage system and oooooh that citadel, there's a lot that's unique about Fort Pike, which was one of the first starforts built in America's Third System of Seacoast Fortification...that is if you don't count Fort Macomb, which is nearly identical in design if not size, but that was built at the same time and just a few miles away from Fort Pike, so it doesn't count. No two American starforts were really alike, except for Forts Pike and Macomb.
I feel it is incumbent upon me to also mention the many and varied starfort critters I experienced at Fort Pike. I've certainly run into the odd spider, snake and/or deer at many a starfort, but Fort Pike had a wider variety of incidental wildlife on display than any other that I have come across.
Fort Pike had no sort of gift shop or really even a Visitor's Center at the time of my visit, just a wee Ranger Station, in which there were a series of photographs of damage done to the fort during Hurricanes Katrina (2005), Gustav (2008) and Isaac (2012): Click here to see those pix. Some starforts can never catch a break!

And while we're on the subject of clicking on things, please click on any of the pix on this page to be brought to its larger counterpart, along with a lot more of my further musings about the visit than any reasonable person would be interested in reading.