Abandoned & in ruins Fort Macomb was built to protect the city of New Orleans

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We can all agree that the first season of True Detective was one of the best tv series in recent years. Shot on 35 mm film across the Louisiana territory, exactly where the story takes place, it gave the season a real authentic feel.

Ruins of Fort Macomb, Louisiana. Photo Credit

But what every tv show needs is a great ending and True Detective truly delivered. To achieve that goal, the filmmakers needed a location who at the same time would contribute to the eerie atmosphere of the plot and would give a proper send-off for the characters.

Fort Macomb tunnels, 2006. Photo Credit

They found what they were looking for in Fort Macomb, an almost 200-year -old citadel on the western shore of Chef Menteur Pass, near the Rigolets. And they weren’t wrong. The crumbling structure of the fort, the decaying dark hallways upped the tension and the scare factor of the scene, sending chills down our spines. The place itself took over the scenery, almost becoming a character, an embodiment of horror. It was the perfect resolution for the series.

Fort Macomb 2016. Photo Credit


Inside the ruins of Fort Macomb. Photo Credit


But in real life, the site is nothing like ike that. It ‘s a 2 century old and abandoned relic of the past, an obsolete historic monument, covered in vines and trees, in a deteriorating condition. Today, Fort Macomb is part of the National Register of Historic Places in the city limits of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Someone definitely has been squatting here. Photo Credit


Built in 1822, after the War of 1812, when British Forces invaded New Orleans, it was part of a seacoast defense plan, with the intention to guard the city and protect the area. Constructed entirely out of brick, this small fort has a curved front that faces the channel and overlaps the two straight walls. And a noticeable bastion turned toward the land.

Fort Macomb ruins, Chef Menteur Pass, east New Orleans Louisiana. Photo Credit


After becoming fully functional, in 1827, the camp carried the name Fort Wood till 1851, when it was renamed Fort Macomb, after Alexander Macomb, second Commanding General of the United States Army during the 1800s, and former Chief of Engineers.

On 28 January 1861, in the wake of the American Civil War, the fort was occupied by a garrison of the Confederate Army. And after a year,  when the Union Army succeeded to regain control of New Orleans, they took back the fort. However, not long after that, in 1867, the army barracks of the fort caught fire and the army abandoned left the fort. Fort Macomb was decommissioned in 1871.

Ruins of Fort Macomb, Louisiana, and a portion of the remaining moat. Note appliance (refrigerator?) atop a wall, deposited there by Hurricane Katrina. Photo Credit

Today the fort lies alone and out of reach to the general public. And even being declared a historic place,and owned by the State of Louisiana, a  reconstruction work has yet to take place. Needless to say, the fort is in desperate need of a structural stabilization, and it’s really a pity that this place isn’t swarming with tourists.

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