Louisiana December 05, 2018
Louisiana Has A Lost Island Town That Most People Don’t Know About
Fun fact: Louisiana was once home to a luxury resort island. Few people know this little tidbit of history, but during the 1800s, visitors flocked to this island to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life to enjoy the sandy oasis for a weekend or two. These days, you’d have to travel out to Florida to find the same type of experience, but over 150 years ago, it was just a short boat ride down to the Gulf.
It may be hard to believe, but there was once a luxury resort island off of Louisiana’s Gulf Coast.
Isles Dernière, often referred to as Last Island, was located just south of Cocodrie.
In the early to mid-1800s, the barrier island was a popular place for locals to retreat to for some fun in the sun.
The island was about 25 miles long and known for its crystal clear water, cool sea breezes, and pristine sandy beaches. There were about 100 beach homes, a resort, gambling dens, and more. It was such a popular destination that there was a regular steamer service between mainland and Last Island.
Unfortunately, in 1856, an unnamed hurricane swept through southern Louisiana and destroyed everything on the island.
Later named Last Island Hurricane, the storm killed roughly 200 of the 400 people on the island at the time. The
Star, a ship that provided regular transportation to and from the mainland, was scheduled to pick up passengers for evacuation, but got caught up in the storm and was shipwrecked on the shores, forcing them to wait out the storm on the island. The wrecked vessel became a shelter for those who could make it to the ship, but many vacationers were presumably swept out to sea by the storm surge.
The hurricane demolished every structure on the island, left it completely void of vegetation, and actually split the island in half. The resort was never rebuilt and the destruction was so intense that the former paradise was never again inhabited by humans.
As a result of many more storms over the decades, Isles Dernière has been further fragmented into five smaller islands: East, Whiskey, Trinity, Raccoon, and Wine Islands.
Louisiana’s ever-changing coastline has greatly impacted the history of our state in countless ways, just one of which was the loss of Isles Dernière.
Today, the small islands exist as part of the Terrebonne Barrier Islands Refuge for pelicans, seagulls, and other seabirds and wildlife.
Did you know about Louisiana’s Lost Island? Let us know in the comments below!