Danger Shelter Opportunity: The Coastal Fortifications of 19th Century Louisiana

These photographs seek to establish a contemporary record of the nineteenth-century masonry fortifications of the Third System whose continued existence in southeastern Louisiana is in peril. Designed and implemented in the years following the invasion of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812 by Napoleon Bonaparte’s chief engineer, Louisiana’s coastal forts represent the pinnacle of European, pre-modern-warfare military architecture. With their obsolescence secured by advances in technology in the mid to late nineteenth century, each was abandoned or decommissioned following the American Civil War. These historic constructed spaces which are each uniquely adapted to the land they occupy have never been formally or comprehensively photographed, though they have existed in varying states of ruin and decay for well over a century. Continued hurricane damage, neglect, lack of funding and public disinterest contribute to their forthcoming non-existence. The series Danger Shelter Opportunity endeavors to preserve the physical appearance of these places and the nature of their entropy through photography.