Barataria Preserve (Unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve)

Named after French pirate Jean Lafitte, who once headquartered his smuggling operation in this area, this massive nature preserve consists of six separate sites and a park headquarters. Located 17 miles south of downtown New Orleans, the preserve is part of a National Historical Park that protects natural and cultural resources in Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta region. The preserve features a watery mix of bottomland hardwood forest, cypress swamp, bayous, and marsh. The preserve has nine miles of walking trails, including handicapped-accessible boardwalk trails, that access all the habitats in the park. 

Birders have documented 226 total species at the preserve, with another 14 expected to be added once properly documented. Well over one-thousand checklists have been submitted and vetted by eBird for this site. 

The waterbird action is the biggest birding draw for this site, with 16 waterfowl species, 17 shorebirds, 13 species of gulls and terns, along with 16 wading bird species–all on an annual (seasonally appropriate) basis. Additional waterbirds of interest include Pied-billed and Horned Grebes, King, Clapper, Sora, and Virginia Rails, American Coot, both Common and Purple Gallinules, Double-crested and Neotropical Cormorants, American White and Brown Pelicans, Anhinga, and Common Loon. 

The woodland/brushland songbird population here is equally as robust -- again, on a seasonally appropriate basis. Eight flycatchers, including Olive-sided, have been recorded here. Depending on the season, nine sparrow species and 30 warbler species have been observed. 

Year-round residents densely populate the forested areas and include Barred Owl, Red-bellied, Downy, Hairy, and Pileated Woodpeckers, White-eyed Vireo, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and Northern Cardinal. 

This site offers a wide array of amenities and outdoor recreational activities. Visitor center films and exhibits explain the wetlands habitats and current environmental challenges that coastal Louisiana faces. Interpretive programs are offered daily. Special programs and nature trail and canoe/kayak tours are available by reservation. 

Drinking Fountains
Gift Shop
Parks & Nature
Visitors Center/Nature Center