Named for the explorer and soldier General Zebulon Montgomery Pike (1779-1813) whose name is also attached to Pike's Peak in the Rocky Mountains, Fort Pike was built in the 1820s. It was the first of the “Third System” fortifications, a group of brick-and-masonry structures built between 1816 and 1867, designed to withstand attack from land or sea. While the United States survived the War of 1812, President James Monroe ordered the placement of an extensive coastal defense system to prevent a foreign invasion from occurring again. Forts Pike and Macomb (also called Fort Wood) were two of six new masonry forts built in coastal Louisiana to protect New Orleans from a seaborne invasion. The park surrounding the historic site includes a picnic area and boat ramp providing easy access to Lake Catherine. Because this is open water, adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, winds can make the going difficult. Paddlers can enjoy the swells, but use caution. It’s a good idea to stay fairly close to the shore. Located at 27100 Chef Menteur Highway, New Orleans, get to Fort Pike by from U.S. 90, approximately 23 miles east of downtown New Orleans. It is also accessible from I-10 via Highway 11 South, and turning left on U.S. 90. For more information see http://www.crt.state.la.us/parks/iFortpike.aspx or call 504-255-9171 or 888-662-5703.