Fort Petite Coquilles (1)

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Fort Petite Coquilles (1) (1813-1827) - A War of 1812 Second System Fort established in 1813 near New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. Named Fort Petite Coquilles after the island of Petite Coquilles, or “Little Shells.” Abandoned in 1827. Replaced by Fort Pike (1).

Fort Petite Coquilles original plan left, as built plan right.


Erected by the United States Government on the east end of Lake Pontchartrain. General James Wilkinson ordered the construction of Fort Petite Coquilles, planned and superintended by New Orleans engineer Bartholemy Lafon. The fort was built as a parallelogram with two full bastions at the east end, a half-bastion at the southwest corner, and a semicircular battery extending beyond the north rampart on the lakeside. Lafon’s plan shows it approximately 250 feet wide by 310 feet long and surrounded by a wet moat.

The completed fort contained two troops barracks, an officers' quarters, a magazine, a store, and a kitchen. In June 1816 the fort reported eleven guns mounted of different calibers.

The construction of Fort Petite Coquilles turned out to be a major factor in defeating the British plan to capture New Orleans by blocking a narrow pass into Lake Pontchartrain and forcing the British to their defeat at Chalmette on 8 Jan 1815.

The War Department's Fortification Board in 1817 selected a replacement fort site just three-quarters of a mile east of Fort Petite Coquilles. Construction on the replacement fort began in 1819. The last post return for Fort Petite Coquilles was in November 1827.

A hospital was constructed in the interior of the ruins of Fort Petite Coquilles in the 1840s. The site consisted of the hospital building, a kitchen, and doctor’s quarters. A shell road connected Fort Pike (1) with the hospital.

In 1867, a new hospital with two wings was built on the site. In 1894 the City of New Orleans used the hospital as a quarantine hospital. About 1900 the site of old Fort Petite Coquilles and the hospital sank into the waters of Lake Pontchartrain.

Current Status

The site of the fort is underwater less than a mile west of Fort Pike State Park.

Location: New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana.

Maps & Images

Lat: 30.16499 Long: -89.74863

GPS Locations:

See Also:


  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 346-347.
  • Manuel Cale A., Fort Petite Coquilles, Louisiana: Barring the Door to New Orleans, The Coast Defense Journal, Vol 17, Issue 2, May 2003, pages 85-92.


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