Vermilion Bay at Cypremort Point State Park
What's the Story?
Cypremort is derived from the French words cyprés (cypress) and mort (dead). This point of land at Vermilion Bay may have been created by an old distributary of the Mississippi River during the building of the Maringouin Delta (between 5,000 and 7,500 years ago). The Chitimacha Tribe inhabited this area before European contact, and tribal tradition states that one of their boundary markers—an especially large or great cypress—grew at this site. The Chitimacha had some permanent villages inland, but members also traveled to the coast—especially in the winter—to fish and harvest oysters. During the summer, they typically moved inland, away from the possibility of high water during hurricanes and tropical storms.
To the northwest is Weeks Island, one of five major salt domes located along the Louisiana coastline in the Gulf Coast Salt Dome Basin. Salt rose here from thousands of feet below the surface, creating domes that act as island habitats for birds and other animals. Significant hills are unusual in south Louisiana, so this view is particularly striking.
At the end of LA Hwy. 319 are the open waters of Vermilion Bay and, beyond that, the Gulf of Mexico. This area is especially vulnerable to inundation storm surge from hurricanes and tropical storms between May 1st and November 30th each year. Marsh Island, a barrier island that provides some protection from storm surge, is located in the distance. Its low-lying coastal marshes are home to waterfowl and crustaceans, and a colony of snow geese winters at the Marsh Island Wildlife Refuge. The island’s shores also harbor a series of relict oyster reefs—remnants of the few that were not mined during the 20th century. Today oyster reefs along Louisiana’s coast are protected, and efforts to restore them are helping to rebuild some of this critical ecosystem that defends shorelines and provides habitats for many species of fish and crustaceans.
Between Grand Isle and Cameron, Cypremort Point is the only locality near the Gulf that can be reached by car. A half-mile stretch of a man-made beach provides a fun area for picnics. Visitors can also enjoy the water via activities ranging from fishing and crabbing to water skiing and sailing.
This site’s geology/geomorphology: Holocene deltaic deposits of Teche course of Mississippi River
Site Access: This kiosk is located within a Louisiana State Park. Visit https://www.crt.state.la.us/louisiana-state-parks/parks/cypremort-point-state-park/ for details about hours and entrance fees.
Site GPS Coordinates: 29.734160, -91.854756
Closest Address: Cypremort Point State Park, 306 Beach Lane, Cypremort Point, LA 70538
Driving Directions: From Franklin, head north on US-90 W. Take the LA-83 exit toward Baldwin. and continue on LA-83 for ~5.5 miles. Turn left to stay on LA-83 and continue for ~10 miles. Turn left onto LA-319 and continue for ~5.5 miles, then turn right at Cypremort Point State Park onto Beach Lane.
Trail Site Information
Parks & Refuges