East Cote Blanche Bay at Burns Point Park
What's the Story?
East Cote Blanche Bay is part of a remnant delta complex that was once the channel of the Mississippi River 5,000 to 7,500 years ago. This bay, along with West Cote Blanche Bay, Atchafalaya Bay, Marsh Island and a few offshore shoals (natural submerged ridges, banks or bars) are all that remain of the relict Maringouin Delta. East Cote Blanche is now an estuarine bay and receives a portion of its water from the Atchafalaya River. While deltas east of here are adding land, East Cote Blanche has been retreating due to erosion, subsidence and land loss—issues that are affecting most of coastal Louisiana. Oil industry infrastructure is visible from the shoreline, marking this area’s importance to Louisiana’s economy but also serving as a reminder of another factor that has led to wetland loss.
Rich bays and marshes like East Cote Blanche Bay are important for Louisiana’s coastal fisheries and the state’s seafood industry. They provide important breeding grounds and nursery habitats for juvenile fish and crustaceans to grow rapidly and survive. Where these animals thrive, there are shorebirds and wading birds, all which provide critical links in the food chain. East Cote Blanche Bay is heavily used by both commercial and recreational fishermen.
Salt domes, the highest points of land along the coast, are located on the perimeter of the bay. They are part of the Gulf Coast Salt Dome Basin—situated primarily along Texas and Louisiana—and provided vital high ground where animals congregated in prehistoric times and American Indians established villages. Large stands of mature live oak trees thrive on these domes, which still serve as a habitat for many species of wildlife, including the Louisiana black bear. Migratory birds also use this coastline as a refuge after a long trip across the Gulf of Mexico.
Cote Blanche (“White Coast” in French) is one of the five primary “islands” or domes that make up the Five Island Trend (the others are Jefferson, Avery, Weeks and Belle Isle). These islands rise an average of 150 to 200 feet above the surrounding swamps, which were once heavily logged.
East Cote Blanche Bay provides access for sports fishermen and recreational boaters to Marsh Island, a wildlife refuge and popular recreational fishing and shrimping destination about 20 miles from the Louisiana coast. Although the island was 76,664 acres when originally deeded, it has since eroded to about 70,000 acres today.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene natural levee deposits of Teche delta lobe of the Mississippi River adjacent to Holocene deltaic deposits of same
Site GPS Coordinates: 29.574484, -91.538143
Closest Address: Burns Point Lane, Franklin, LA 70538
Driving Directions: From Lafayette, take I-10 East toward Baton Rouge. Exit 103A to merge onto US 167 S/NW Evangeline Thruway toward US 90/Morgan City. Continue onto US 90 E/Hwy 90 E. Take LA 317 exit toward Centerville/Burns Point. Turn right onto State Route 317. Turn right onto Burns Point Lane and proceed to the site, which will be on the right.
Trail Site Information