The Freeport Sulphur Mine near Garden Island Bay
Freeport’s sulphur facility sits along Dennis Pass — right in the middle of some great fishing habitat.
Dear Capt. Paul:
What are the coordinates of where the Freeport sulphur facility used to be on Garden Island Bay? What is the name of the pass they were on: Southwest or South pass?
I worked there in 1966-68; just curious. I can’t find it on any map. I am just looking back on the past memories, you know, as you get older!.
I remember driving from to Venice from Thibodaux in my 1958 Ford to catch a crew boat for 7 a.m. on Mondays. I worked there Monday to Thursday, four days on and three days off. It was a great area.
Capt. Paul’s response:
Ah, memories! I know exactly what you mean. They are surely the treasures of the mind.
I have some info for you about the Freeport operation in that area. I hope this helps.
According to A History of the Louisiana Sulphur Industry by Donia Byrnes, “The Freeport mine site at Garden Island Bay near the mouth of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines Parish was a semi-marine operation. Drilling rigs were mounted on barges, and they worked in the canals that were constantly being cut to reach the mine sites.
“Garden Island Bay had to be built to withstand hurricane winds and high water. In addition to the forests of piles on which the power plant rests, its foundation is a steel-and-concrete mat topped by 16-foot-high concrete cells, which support the main floor on which the equipment is installed.
“Because Garden Island Bay is 20 miles beyond the end of the nearest road, all construction materials had to be transported by water. Since there was a lack of firm ground for storage, sulphur ore was towed, still molten, in specially designed insulated barges to vat sites about 70 miles away in Port Sulphur. This mine site was completed in 1953, and cost $14 million to design and build. It is the third-largest sulphur mine in the United States, and is still in operation.”
I found the site between South Pass and Pass a Loutre. It is mostly in the Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area. Dennis Pass, Johnson Pass, Loomis Pass and Cardo Pass wind their way through most of the oil, gas and sulphur platforms in the area.
By the way, this is some of the best bass fishing in that area. If you get there again, try the areas around the small well platforms and along the shoreline by the reeds.
There was/is a large freshwater reservoir impoundment between Cardo and Dennis passes beginning where Cardo Pass branches off from Dennis Pass. This water was used as superheated steam and pumped into the underground Sulphur deposits to melt the minerals, which were then pumped to the surface.
The main equipment and some of the people facilities for this operation were located on Dennis Pass just across from the impoundment at or about 29° 05.525’N latitude ~ 089°11.586’W longitude.
The center of the large reservoir is at or about 29° 05.180’N ~ 89°12.300’W.
The Pass a Loutre WMA headquarters is near the junction of Dennis and Johnson passes. It is at or about 29° 07.117N ~ 089°12.399’W.
Unless otherwise specified, all positions are stated as Degrees, minutes and thousandths of minutes (DDD,MM.mmm) and were determined using WGS 84 Datum. All bearings and courses are stated in Magnetic degrees.
Hope this helps in keeping those memories going.
— Capt. Paul
A response back from ABStandSavage
Capt. Paul, I just got off Maptech online, and you were absolutely 100 percent correct, like you didn’t know that already. I found exactly where I used to work back like in 1966-68. It showed the water tower and all the people buildings where I slept and all the other buildings too.
It was real cool actually seeing it on a map. I actually worked in Port Sulphur for a couple years but was transferred to the Garden Island Bay site.
I got some goose bumps while looking at the map. Guess that comes with age and memories. Thanks so much.
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