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In 1966, Louisiana authorized a state park to be established at the present site of Barataria Preserve. The park was named after LaFitte because of his smuggling operations in the area.
In 1978, Congress created Jean LaFitte National Historic Park and Preserve, combining Chalmette National Historic Park (established in 1938) with the Louisiana state park and authorizing a visitor center in the French Quarter. The park was given the mission of preserving the natural and cultural resources of Louisiana's Mississippi River delta region. LaFitte was associated with the three original sites of the park: he roamed the streets of New Orleans' French Quarter, navigated the swamps of the Barataria Preserve, and helped the Americans win the Battle of New Orleans at Chalmette Battlefield.
Later, the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayatte, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux were added to the park, and stories connect LaFitte with those areas too.
The Legend of Jean LaFitte survives in the history and mystery of south Louisiana, where LaFitte's bayous and backwaters still meander toward the Gulf of Mexico.
20,000 acres of marsh, swamp, and natural levee forest, offers walking and canoe trails, picnic areas, ranger programs, a visitor center, and an environmental education center.
- Keena Graham
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