Phoenix is a hamlet near Pointe à la Hache in the parish of Plaquemines on the east bank of the Mississippi along Highway 39, about 12 miles and a half (20 kilometers) south of New Orleans.
It is the closest community to Fort La Boulaye, a national historic landmark of the United States since 1960. The fort was built by brothers Le Moyne, Pierre d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste de Bienville, to support the claim of the Mississippi River and its basin by France. The construction of the fort began in 1699 and ended in 1700. It was built of piles driven deep into the earth with a bastion on each of the four corners according to Vauban’s model of fortification. Six cannons protected the fort against possible attacks or incursions by belligerent British or Spanish. Originally the fort was baptized Fort Mississippi but was later renamed Fort La Boulaye after the name of the lieutenant who oversaw its construction.
The greatest trickery of all time
In 1707, the Caddo Nation, hostile to a military presence in the area, forced the fighting men to leave the fort. The French soldiers then joined Biloxi. Only officer Louis Juchereau de Saint-Denis, a friend of the local indigenous people, was allowed to stay and to receive occasional visits from armed troopers. Ultimately, the fort was vacated in the middle of the 18th century. And, over the years, hurricanes and tornadoes destroyed it completely. In the 20th century, archaeologists discovered the French cannons and, as a result, the exact location of Fort La Boulaye.
A few miles north of Fort La Boulaye in a long Mississippi bend before arriving at New Orleans hides another 1699 history secret known as the “English Turn”. The story of what really happened has been revealed by Mr. de Remonville in his writings on the fame of Iberville. According to oral history, however, it is the greatest trickery of all time perpetrated in Louisiana. Here is the chronicle.
On September 6, 1699, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne of Bienville was descending the Mississippi with four companions in two canoes. At the bend of three leagues (nine miles or 14.4 kilometers long) he met the Carolina Galley, an English vessel with dozens of settlers on board who had ascended the river to choose site for a settlement. After politely greeting Captain Lewis Banks, Bienville convinced the British settlers that they were in French territory protected by several strong fortifications and that the Mississippi was much further west. On the strength of these words, and knowing that the area was full of dead-end bayous, the British naturally thought they had not found the Mississippi. In consequence, they turned back.