|Date||c. 12th century – 1838|
|Venue||Red and Atchafalaya Rivers|
The Great Raft was a gigantic log jam or series of "rafts" that clogged the Red and Atchafalaya Rivers and was unique in North America in terms of its scale.
The Great Raft probably began forming in the 12th century. 160 miles (260 km) in the early 1830s. The raft, at one point, extended for 165 miles (266 km) from Loggy Bayou to Carolina Bluffs. The Great Raft formed part of the mythology of the local Caddo tribe and protected them from competing tribes, as well as intermittently flooding land and making it fertile for agriculture.It grew from its upper end, while decaying or washing out at the lower end. This led to its peak length spanning more than
At the beginning of the 19th century, the raft extended from Campti, Louisiana, to around Shreveport, Louisiana. The raft blocked the mouth of Twelve Mile Bayou, impeding settlement in the area west of Shreveport. There were many smaller logjams on the Red River.
The raft raised the banks of the river, forming bayous and making several lakes, called the Great Raft Lakes and including Caddo and Cross Lakes, along the lower reaches of Red River tributaries.
Steamboat builder and river captain Henry Miller Shreve (1785–1851) began systematically removing the Great Raft, a task that was continued by others until the latter part of the 19th century. For his efforts, the city of Shreveport was named after him.
When Shreve began work, the raft was 8 miles (13 km) directly below to 17 miles (27 km) directly above Shreveport.
Shreve had removed the raft up to the mouth of Twelvemile Bayou in April 1835.Shreve concluded this work in 1838, having removed the last impediment to navigation on the Red River.
Although Shreve had completely removed the raft, another formed farther up the river. The new foot was at the head of the old raft near today's Belcher, Louisiana.This second raft gradually extended until it reached the Arkansas state line, when, in 1873, Lieutenant Eugene Woodruff succeeded in removing it.
The removal of the log jams hastened the capture of the Mississippi River's waters by the Atchafalaya River and forced the US Army Corps of Engineers to build the multibillion-dollar Old River Control Structure.
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. From its traditional source of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest river and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The Sabine River is a river, 360 miles long, in the Southern U.S. states of Texas and Louisiana. From the 32nd parallel north and downstream, it serves as part of the boundary between the two states and empties into Sabine Lake, an estuary of the Gulf of Mexico. Over the first half of the 19th century, the river formed part of the Spanish–American, Mexican–American, and Texan–American international boundaries. The upper reaches of the river flow through the prairie country of northeast Texas. Along much of its lower reaches, it flows through the pine forests along the Texas–Louisiana border, and the bayou country near the Gulf Coast.
Jefferson is a city in Marion County in Northeastern Texas, United States. The population was 2,106 at the 2010 census, and 2,533 as of 2018's census estimates. It is the county seat of Marion County, Texas, and is situated in East Texas.
Shreveport is a city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the most populous city in the Shreveport–Bossier City metropolitan area, and ranks third in population in Louisiana after Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The bulk of Shreveport is in Caddo Parish, of which it is the parish seat. Shreveport extends along the west bank of the Red River into neighboring Bossier Parish. The population of Shreveport was 199,311 at the 2010 U.S. census. The United States Census Bureau's 2019 estimates for the city's population decreased to 187,112.
The Red River, or sometimes the Red River of the South, is a major river in the Southern United States. It was named for its reddish water color from passing through red-bed country in its watershed. It is one of several rivers with that name. Although once a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is now a tributary of the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi that flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico. This confluence is connected to the Mississippi River by the Old River Control Structure.
Henry Miller Shreve was the American inventor and steamboat captain who opened the Mississippi, Ohio, and Red rivers to steamboat navigation. Shreveport, Louisiana, is named in his honor.
The Ark-La-Tex is a socio-economic tri-state region where the Southern U.S. states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas join together. The region contains portions of Northwest Louisiana, Northeast Texas, and South Arkansas as well as the extreme southeastern tip of Oklahoma, in McCurtain County, partly centered upon the Red River, which flows along the Texas–Oklahoma state line into Southwestern Arkansas and Northwest Louisiana.
The Ouachita River is a 605-mile-long (974 km) river that runs south and east through the U.S. states of Arkansas and Louisiana, joining the Tensas River to form the Black River near Jonesville, Louisiana. It is the 25th-longest river in the United States.
Caddo Lake is a 25,400-acre (10,300 ha) lake and bayou (wetland) on the border between Texas and Louisiana, in northern Harrison County and southern Marion County in Texas and western Caddo Parish in Louisiana. The lake is named after the Southeastern culture of Native Americans called Caddoans or Caddo, who lived in the area until their expulsion in the 19th century. It is an internationally protected wetland under the Ramsar Convention and includes one of the largest flooded cypress forests in the United States. Caddo is one of Texas's few non-oxbow natural lakes and is the second-largest in the South; however, it was artificially altered by the addition of a dam in the 1900s.
The Atchafalaya River is a 137-mile-long (220 km) distributary of the Mississippi River and Red River in south central Louisiana in the United States. It flows south, just west of the Mississippi River, and is the fifth largest river in North America, by discharge. The name Atchafalaya comes from Choctaw for 'long river', from hachcha, 'river', and falaya, 'long'.
The Atakapa, are an indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands, who spoke the Atakapa language and historically lived along the Gulf of Mexico. The competing Choctaw people used this term for this people, and European settlers adopted the term from them. The Atakapan people were made up of several bands. They called themselves the Ishak, which translates as "the people." Within the Ishak there were two moieties, and the Ishak identified as "The Sunrise People" or "The Sunset People". Although the people were decimated by infectious disease after European contact and declined as a people, survivors joined other nations. Their descendants still live in the traditional territory of southern Louisiana and Texas. People identifying as Atakapa-Ishak had a gathering in 2006.
The Old River Control Structure is a floodgate system in a branch of the Mississippi River in central Louisiana. It regulates the flow of water from the Mississippi into the Atchafalaya River, thereby preventing the Mississippi River from changing course. Completed in 1963, the complex was built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a side channel of the Mississippi known as "Old River", between the Mississippi's current channel and the Atchafalaya Basin, a former channel of the Mississippi. The Old River Control Structure is a complex containing the original low-sill and overbank structures, as well as the auxiliary structure that was constructed after the low-sill structure was damaged during the Mississippi River Flood of 1973. The complex also contains a navigation lock and the Sidney A. Murray Jr. Hydroelectric Station.
The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp, is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge. The river stretches from near Simmesport in the north through parts of eight parishes to the Morgan City southern area.
Shreveport, Louisiana, was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a development corporation established to start a town at the meeting point of the Red River and the Texas Trail. In this period, a 180-mile (289 km) long natural logjam, the Great Raft, had obstructed passage to shipping. The Red River was cleared and made newly navigable by Captain Henry Miller Shreve of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Shreve used a specially modified riverboat, the Heliopolis, to remove the logjam. The company and the village of Shreve Town were named in Shreve's honor.
Wax Lake was a lake in St. Mary Parish, Louisiana that was converted into an outlet channel, the Wax Lake outlet, to divert water from the Atchafalaya River to the Gulf of Mexico.
Big Cypress Creek is an 86-mile-long (138 km) river in Texas. It is part of the Red River watershed, with its water eventually flowing to the Atchafalaya River through the Atchafalaya Basin and entering the Gulf of Mexico.
Cross Bayou is a 38.0-mile-long (61.2 km) river in Texas and Louisiana. It is a tributary of the Red River, part of the Mississippi River watershed.
Caddo Lake State Park is a state park located in the piney woods ecoregion of eastern Texas and operated as a wildlife management area (WMA), Caddo Lake is the lake that the state park encompasses, and is one of only a handful of natural lakes in Texas. The park consists of 8,253 acres (3,340 ha) west of the lake itself, in Harrison County, near Karnack, Texas. The lake and surrounding area was drilled for petroleum in the 1900s. The lake was created by a gigantic log jam known as the Great Raft.
The Sherburne Complex is a joint land management venture of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that began in 1983. The area consists of 44,000 acres (180 km2), and is managed by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. The complex is located in the Morganza Flood way system of the Atchafalaya Basin about 30 miles (48 km) west of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and actually extends a little south of the I-10 Atchafalaya Basin Bridge at Whiskey Bay, Louisiana. The bridge crosses the Whiskey Bay Pilot Channel. Located on the graveled LA 975, the west boundary is on the east side of the Atchafalaya River with the east boundary being the East Protection Levee. The complex stretches just north of old highway 190, and a short distance to the south of I-10. The nearest town is Krotz Springs to the north off US 190.
The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.