The Lower Mississippi River Water Trail

Atchafalaya Lower

119.7 LBD Bailey’s Basin Seafood Dock

119.9 LBD Lange’s Towing Inc Doc

120.1 RBD Garber Bro’s Dock

120.6 LBD Candy Fleet Dock

102.8 LBD Tesro Petroleum Dock

120.8 LBD Texaco Marine Service Dock

121 Morgan City US Hwy 90 Bridge

There are two US 90 bridges at Morgan City, each one carrying 2-lanes of traffic in opposite directions.  The older bridge is a K-Truss Bridge, of which there six bridges in Louisiana. According to the Historic American Engineering Record the K-truss type of bridge is virtually non-existent outside of the state of Louisiana. The newer bridge is a Cantilevered Warren through Truss Bridge.  Starnge water motions and very turbulent conditions can exist around  all of the pylons.  Keep your distance.  Stay bank left is landing along the downtown Morgan City landing.  Stay towards bank right if intending to make landing at the Berwick Boat Ramp.

121.2 LBD Capt LD Seafood Dock

121.2 RBD Basin Marine Inc Dock

121.3 LBD Central Boat Rentals Dock

121.2 LBD Morgan City Downtown Landing

Paddlers wanting or needing to stop in downtown Morgan City can make landing amongst the shrimp boats and other fishing vessels pulled up here under the sea wall.  But this would not be a good place to leave your vessel for long, and there is no protection here from waves.  If you need a boat ramp, across the river and below the railroad bridge is the Berwick Public Boat Ramp at 121.4 RBD.  Look for the sea wall in between the highway bridges and the RR bridge.  The seawall opens up near the railroad bridge at the foot of Railroad Avenue.  C&J Marine Food Distribution is the first Morgan City business you’ll see when you walk through the seawall.  Whether they will service paddlers or not is not known at time of writing, but worth the inquiry if you need to resupply.  Most likely they would let you fill water bottles at the very least.  Continue on deeper into the downtown to reach the US Post Office and the Morgan City Public Library, bo located on Everett Street which is on block north of Railroad Avenue.  Lawrenece Park graces the center of the city across the street from the library.  If the library is not open, you might find WIFI and one of several cafes dotting the nearby downtown streets, such as Latin Corner, Cafe Jo Jo’s, and the Newtalia Cafe.  Shannon Hardware would be an excellent supply store for any boat repairs or mechanical needs.  Old style hardware store specializing in fishing and oil industry.   The Morgan City Landing is left bank descending at mile 121.2 below the US 90 bridges and above the railroad bridge.

Morgan City

Originally called Tiger Island, Morgan City (and neighboring Berwick) is the last population of any sort on the Atchafalya River.  Paddlers will likely end their expeditions here, the location for meeting your shuttle would either be the Berwick Public Boat Launch or the Intracoastal Waterway Boat Launch.  You could also make landing in downtown Morgan City against the seawall, but only when the river is below flood stage

 

The Morgan City population was 12,404 at the 2010 census.  From its first Attakapas residents to the present day shrimping and oil trade, the river has provided prosperity and opportunity coupled with difficult challenges to many generations. As the tide ebbs and flows along the river, so does Morgan City. The city is a "gumbo" of French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Native and African American heritages blended into a strong belief in faith, tradition and family that define the strength of the city today.   Originally known as Tigre Island because of the spotting of an unknown cat there by a group of U.S. surveyors, the area attracted the attention of Kentucky planter and surgeon Walter Brashear.  Brashear's subsequent subdividing of his sugar cane plantation was the beginning of the first permanent settlement known as the town of Brashear.   Because of Morgan City's strategic marine location, the town of Brashear played a prominent role in the war between the states. Brashear was occupied by Federal troops for over three years. It was in Morgan City that the Union troops planned the destruction of the Avery Island salt mines, the cutting off of Rebel supply lines from Texas, the capture of Texas to restore her to the Union, and the annihilation of all Confederate resistance in southwest Louisiana. The remains of Fort Starr, a Union fort, are still visible.   Following the war, Charles Morgan, a steamship and railroad entrepreneur, successfully dredged the Atchafalaya Bay Channel and made Brashear his base of operations. As a result, Brashear became a bustling trade center for animal fur, cypress timber, and seafood. In 1876, the town was renamed Morgan City in his honor.The late 1800s and early 1900s was an era of growth and development. Many of the historic buildings such as Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, and Pharr Chapel Methodist as well as distinctive homes including Cotton Top, the Norman-Schreier House, and the Turn-of-the-Century House were constructed. Boat building, moss picking, and a shell crushing plant broadened Morgan City's economic base. 

Substituting the jungles of Africa with the swamps of Morgan City, Hollywood made its mark in 1917 with the filming of the first Tarzan movie starring Elmo Lincoln. This would be the first of several films highlighting Morgan City's diverse landscape.   In 1937, Morgan City became known as the "jumbo" shrimp capitol of the world. A community strongly rooted in Catholicism and tradition, a "blessing of the fleet" was held to insure a safe return and a bountiful harvest. Following the blessing, the celebration traveled to Egle's Place for a fais-do-do, a Cajun dance. This was the inception of the Louisiana Shrimp Festival, the state's oldest chartered harvest festival.   A decade later, Morgan City made national headlines when Kerr-McGee Industries drilled the first successful offshore oil well out of sight of land. According to The Times Picayune, it was the most significant discovery to date. The "black gold rush" marked a new era in the city's prosperity. Because of its considerable importance to the economy, "petroleum" was added to the Louisiana Shrimp Festival. The present day Louisiana Shrimp & Petroleum Festival is held every Labor Day weekend in the historic district.   Morgan City's Main Street Program designation was officially recognized in 1997, and combined with the nine-block historic district, it now encompasses a 19- block area.   A type of blackberry deemed the Youngberry was developed by B.M. Young in 1905 in Morgan City, Louisiana, as a hybrid between a variety of blackberries. The Youngberry is a cross between Luther Burbank’s, Phenomenal Berry, and the Austin-Mayes Dewberry, a trailing blackberry. The Youngberry was introduced commercially in 1926 and quickly came to rival Loganberries. The Youngberry had excellent qualities, such as taste and high yields, and it soon replaced the Loganberry of California.

 

The Attakapas Indians called it Atchafalaya or "long river". Stretching over 135 miles, the Atchafalaya river has been the life line affecting the history and tradition of Morgan City.  Just as the Atchafalaya River continually flows, so does Morgan City. Its ebbs have defined its character and have made us a stronger people. A relentless spirit of the people and a strong belief in family, faith, and tradition make Morgan City the place we call home.  (Morgan City Homepage)