The Old Fort area was the fi rst hardened structure on the Island and was built by the first Europeans to discover it. The French explorers found the Island in November of 1560 and quickly established it as a base of operations that they could use to explore into Louisiana as well as a refitting harbor to repair damage on their vessels from the reefs surrounding the island, and from pirates which were already beginning to raid in the area. The original fort was intended to be defensible against any form of att ack, and for its day, it was state of the art. Construction began in the spring of 1562 but was ended abruptly that Fall after a devastating hurricane smothered the island, wiping it bare of its French inhabitants and of the fledgling fort. Anything not made of stone was completely decimated. The only location spared from the incredible power of the hurricane was the area immediately surrounding Lake Ishekiowa. A year later the French came to reclaim the island and work on the fort immediately began.
It was nearing completion when English buccaneers stormed the island before the cannons were mounted in the turrets and along the walls. The English managed to hold the Fort, and re