Today we helped clean up Fort Macomb. The fort was built in the early 1800s but wasn’t used often and hasn’t been touched in several years. It was our job to turn it into a public attraction and a place of history for the people to visit.
There was an extreme amount of debris and foliage around the fort. The fort consisted of three main levels and some tunnels and lower fortifications. The lower fortifications were covered in mud which we shoveled into wheel barrels and carried out. The first level also had a brick path which hadn’t been exposed in nearly a decade; we cleared the mud off of it.
The upper two levels were dense in foliage and this is where most of our time was spent. There were thorny bushes and burrs and the roots proved a challenge to remove. But with nearly a hundred people working significant progress was made even before we stopped for lunch.
We managed to clear most of the second level by the end of the day. The hardest part was removing the debris from the fort. Everybody was exhausted but it was a lot of fun. We even cleared up some cannon fortifications which were really cool! The job wasn’t quite finished but for trying to restore a fort that hasn’t been touched in a decade we made a ton of progress. It won’t be long until people can visit and see what the fort once looked like!
--Colin Zavislak, ROHS Class of 2015
Nearly a hundred volunteers helped clean Fort Macomb. Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac had severely damaged the area and had submerged it under dirt, weeds, and dry grass. The debris had accumulated throughout the past eight years as no volunteers had helped. National Relief Network (NRN) made a difference to not only the infrastructure of the building but also the lives of people who had originally been looking for organizations and people to help.
Upon our entry, a woman explained the history of the 200 year-old fort. The concern for cleaning the fort has not received as much attention, and therefore, NRN had to split into groups of eight to twelve in order to accomplish as many as tasks as possible, including raking, collecting dirt from caves, restoring staircases, and pulling weeds.
With the laborious duty at hand, we discovered several surprises along the way. A ranger found a garter snake and a baby snake. Some group members also found shells within the walls. Apparently, there are also several species only unique to Louisiana within the area.
The objective is to establish the fort as a public attraction; however, NRN hopes much more after having completed a bulk of clearing it. To preserve the environment, to restore the beauty of the past, to touch the lives of many, and to volunteer for imperative causes are the potential mottos by which NRN abides.
--Lekha Mutyala, FHS Class of 2014