Historic Markers Across Tennessee

Hog Point, Louisiana/Raccourci Cutoff/Caernarvon Crevasse

Marker ID:  21
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


Hog Point, Louisiana/Raccourci Cutoff/Caernarvon Crevasse
Panel #21 Mississippi Riverwalk

A) Hog Point, Louisiana
Mile 298.2 AHP

The channel off Hog Point, in the middle of Raccourci Cutoff, has long been one of the most troublesome stretches on the lower river. Constant dredging is required to keep the channel open. During the U.S. Civil War, Confederate forces erected a gun battery on Hog Point to harass passing Union gunboats. Their shelling set a transport ablaze, but heavy bombardment from gunboats drove the rebels into the Raccourci Island woods.

B) Raccourci Cutoff
Mile 288.4 AHP

When Shreve’s Cutoff upriver failed to solve navigation problems on the lower river, the State of Louisiana engineered another cutoff here in 1848. Called Raccourci Cutoff, it shortened the channel by 19 miles but did little to improve navigation. The abandoned river bend, called Raccourci Old River, became an oxbow lake, curling around the roughly circular Raccourci Island. According to legend, the ghost of an old steamboat haunts the cutoff. On the night the river changed course fog and rain were thick over the water when an old steamer churned into the bend. The boat hit a sandbar, backed off, then hit another. As it kept running aground, the pilot loudly cursed the boat crew and most of all, the treacherous river. He yelled that for all he cared, they could stay in the bend until doomsday. Some say he got his wish and that the old paddlewheeler can still be heard on foggy nights, chugging back and forth on the cutoff, its signal bell ringing and the pilot still cursing.

C) Caernarvon Crevasse
Mile 302.8 AHP

The early French explorer, Iberville, visited the Houmas Indians who lived on this point in 1699, and one of the first Jesuit Indian Mission was established here. The Houmas Indians were driven out several years later by the Tunic Tribe. The river bend opposite the point became known as Tunica Bend. The point was a plantation when the State of Louisiana bought it, established the vast Penal Farm in 1890.

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.