Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Belle Chasse, Louisiana/English Turn Bend/Caernarvon Crevasse/Poydras Crevasse

Marker ID:  6
Location: Mud Island River Park, 125 N Front Street, Memphis, TN
County: Shelby
Coordinates: N 35° 8.968    W 090° 3.507
  35.14946666    -90.05845
Waymark: None


Belle Chasse, Louisiana/English Turn Bend/Caernarvon Crevasse/Poydras Crevasse
Panel #6 Mississippi Riverwalk

A) Belle Chasse, Louisiana
Mile 75.9 AHP

Belle Chasse Plantation was the home of Judah P. Benjamin, often called “the brains of the Confederate government.” He served as Attorney General Secretary of War and Secretary of State for the Confederacy. After the Civil War, he left Belle Chasse, fled to England and never returned.

B) English Turn Bend
Mile 78.0 AHP

Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, with only a small boat and a few men, encountered a British ship, at this bend in 1699. With convincing authority, the 19-year-old explorer informed the ship’s captain that this was a French River and that a large French force was units way to protect the claim. The English captain swallowed the monumental bluff. He quickly turned his vessel around and sailed for the Gulf. His hasty retreat gave this bend its name.

C) Caernarvon Crevasse
Mile 81.3 AHP

During the flood of 1927, the river again threatened to overtop the New Orleans levee. Authorities decided to blast a hole in the levee down the river at Caernarvon, hoping that this outlet would lower the flood’s height at New Orleans. Caernarvon’s residents were understandably upset with this drastic measure, but the citizens of New Orleans promised to reimburse them for their losses. Several days of dynamiting opened a wide gap which grew to become a half-mile break in the levee. As flood waters poured over Caernarvon, the river at New Orleans fell, sparing the city.

D) Poydras Crevasse
Mile 82.1 AHP

A large group of an immigrant from the Canary Islands settled in this area in the late 1770’s. They used oxen to pull their plows and wagons, and the area became known as “Terre aux Boeufs," meaning Land of Oxen. Poydras was virtually wiped out in 1922 by a large crevasse. This break in the Poydras levee caused the river to fall at New Orleans, where the flood stage had threatened to overflow the levees. Thousands of New Orleans residents drove to Poydras to see the disaster that had saved their city.

A photo of this marker can be found on HMDB.org


AHP - Above Head of Passes, this is the distance from the mouth of a river when measured along the course (navigable channel) starting at zero.