Fort Macomb
New Orleans, Louisiana
Visited 5.20.16
Visit the Fort Macomb page here!
Fort Macomb, built in the 1820's to protect New Orleans by preventing seaborne enemies of the United States access to Lake Pontchartrain, is absolutely not open to the public today. The fort was abandoned by the US Army in 1871. An effort was made to commercialize the fort and its surrounding area in the 1980's, but this effort met with public indifference, and Fort Macomb was locked up indefinitely.

Today, Fort Macomb is viewable from the South Shore Marina that operates across a water channel, but the fort is officially inaccessible.


Operating on a semi-pseudo-official tip that there might be a way into this most desirable starfort, I scouted the area on a hot May afternoon, just to see if entrance might be possible...and, amazingly, I suddenly and inexplicably found myself within Fort Macomb.

The condition of this fort is, of course, abysmal. Not that one would expect anything else, as it has received nothing in the way of maintenance for 30 years, plus it sits in a part of the world that is flooded on a weekly basis. Aside from the overgrown vegetation inside and atop the fort, however, it's structurally not in any worse shape than Fort Pike, its sister fort about 10 miles to the north.

Fort Macomb was built simultaneously with Fort Pike, to the exact same plans, only Macomb is a slightly smaller version of the same design. Fort Pike had been open to the public until very recently, so the decision to let Fort Macomb wither on the vine was, while despicable from the starfort enthusiast's point of view, perfectly reasonable from the state of Louisiana's.

While Fort Macomb is officially inaccessible, there's plenty of evidence inside that it enjoys a steady stream of visitors. The muddy floor of the fort's casemates preserves the numerous footprints of recent callers. I'm no expert tracker, but in a fort that is frequently flooded, it doesn't take Daniel Boone to tell you that any visible footprints are recent.

What I did not see at Fort Macomb was trash. In just about every other out-of-the-way fort I have visited, there is always some detritus left by its more sociopathic visitors. Apparently, as Fort Macomb is more difficult to enter (one cannot walk right in: There is some slithering involved), and perhaps further removed from a population of wanderlust-suffering youngsters, those who do take the trouble to make it inside seem to have more respect for their historic surroundings.

Except for brick-bashing, that is. There are several instances of sections of wall separating casemates being breached, and some areas where it appeared that someone had been steadily chipping away, as if to make a small tunnel through brick walls. I'd rather see an occasional empty McDonald's cup than unnecessary holes in the walls, thank you!

Please click on any of the pictures on this page to be taken to its full-sized counterpart, and to read more about my ever-so-slightly illicit visit to Fort Macomb!