FISHING, FUN, & FESTIVALS AROUND VENICE, LOUISIANA
Why has Venice, La., earned the nickname “The end of the world”? Because Venice, which is south of New Orleans, is the last community in Louis iana that can be accessed by an automobile! It is literally the end of the Great River Road.
Venice is 75 miles south of New Orleans and across the Mississippi River on the west bank. The highway to Venice (Hwy. LA-23N) ends at the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In 2019, its resident population was 202, the median age was 38, and the median household income was $52,054.
Venice LA is a fishing community and the economy of Venice is based on the fishing industry. Although inshore fishing is popular in much of Louisiana, Venice is known for the finest offshore fishing charters in the world.
Venice is located in Plaquemines Parish, a long, thin parish (county) that includes land on either side of the Mississippi River. The parish stretches from the Gulf of Mexico to Orleans Parish.
It is only one of two parishes that have kept the same boundaries since they were established in 1807. The population is just over 22,000 as of 2019.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN AND AROUND VENICE, LA
Take an Offshore Fishing Charter!
You simply cannot visit Venice without taking an offshore fishing charter. In Venice LA, fishing boats are more common than automobiles. Although catching Yellowfin Tuna draws people from all over the world, there are many trophy fish that can be caught in the Gulf of Mexico. The offshore fishing season runs year-round, but the catch is seasonal. Contact Captain Troy to see what is biting. when to go and to book your next Venice fishing charter.
Although the entire state is known for the famous Louisiana fishing, Venice LA is considered the top of the top, the cream of the crop and the cherry on top for inshore and offshore fishing, proven by the fishing rodeos held annually.
Go Duck Hunting!
Did you know that Venice offers some of the best duck hunting in the world? You’ll just need a hunting license and a guide.
- Teal season: September 14-29
- Big Ducks: November 16-December 8
- Closed: December 9-20
- Big Ducks: December 21-January 26
Visit Historic Places!
Fort Jackson, near Buras, is a historic masonry fort located some 40 miles upriver from the mouth of the Mississippi River. It is a star-shaped pentagon and is surrounded by a moat. Constructed between 1822 and 1832, it served as a coastal defense of New Orleans.
It was also a battle site during the American Civil War. The fort is a National Historic Landmark.
Fort Jackson also hosts the annual Orange Festival in December. (Dates for the Orange Festival for 2019 are December 6–8.) Fort Jackson is about 14 miles north of Venice.
The fort was constructed as a coastal defense of New Orleans between 1822 and 1832. It also served as a battle site during the American Civil War.
Find Fruits, Vegan Food, and Seafood!The produce in most markets is usually local and is both organic and regular. Farmer’s markets are located in Venice and the surrounding areas of Plaquemines Parish. The actual growers often come to the market. They can help you choose the best selection for even a vegan main course.
In addition, citrus fruits grow abundantly. Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and satsumas are all grown commercially. The Plaquemines Parish Orange Festival is usually the first full weekend of December in the nearby town of Buras.
While Venice is known for world-class fishing and boating, people in the area enjoy many activities. Tourists who vacation in the state find the outdoor opportunities stunning in this region because of how close everything is to the water.
Many species of fish migrate or live in the waters off the coast of the Venice area. The Gulf of Mexico sees a broad migration of species including king mackerel, groupers, mullet, blackfin tuna, Spanish mackerel, menhaden, red snapper, dolphinfish like Mahi Mahi, and yellowfin tuna. Offshore fishing charters are available by reservation.
Deep Sea Diving
Visitors and residents enjoy many guided tours along the shores of Louisiana. Venice gives people the opportunity to see unique fish like red snapper if they don’t mind a little boat trip to get away from the coast and into the Gulf’s deeper waters. Yellowfin tuna and Mahi Mahi are popular species to fish for in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
When you are vacationing in a popular coastal area, going for a boat cruise is an amazing way to see life from a different perspective. Many people do not get the chance to see the world from a sea where turquoise and deep blue waters surround the boat as far as the eye can see. Guests to the area can sunbathe, take photos, or grill on the deck as the sun beats down on the ship and waves lap against the boat.
Many people like to use the boats to kite fish above the crystal clear waters near Venice. From the air, fishers can reach fish that are not easy to catch when casting a rod from the boat. This activity is popular when fishing close to the coast where the cruise and charter boats cannot travel because of the shallow water levels.
If you have visited New Orleans and already experienced the ghost tours, walking tours and bike tours, next on your list should be checking out Venice. Nothing beats a day on all-terrain vehicles where you can explore the entire coast of Venice. This one-mile strip of land affords plenty of space to play tag and get an excellent view of the area. Riders must follow state laws and travel on the shoulders of the road when using ATV’s and UTV’s in LA. All-terrain vehicle operators may travel on the sides of the road only between 30 minutes following sun up and 30 minutes before sunset.
The Audubon Society recommends visitors coming to Venice to look for birds go to the Cypress Cove Marina near the Coast Guard station. Another excellent option, though it may seem unlikely, is near the landfill. The best day to visit the area is on Sundays when the business is not in operation.
Near the Venice Marina, a wide area of marshland often lets birders find Lesser Black-backed gulls and other seagulls. Sometimes, visitors can see these birds crossing the road in large groups. The best time to visit for bird watching for nature’s fish finders is in the winter months.
Near the Empire area, many open land areas and fields offer excellent sighting opportunities for hawks and swallows. Other birds you may find in the area are:
- White-winged doves
- Groove-billed anise
- Black-bellied whistling ducks
- Chuck-Wills Widow (northern Venice and Empire bridge areas)
- Several owls like horned and barn
- Vermilion Flycatchers
People who love to hunt wildlife like ducks will enjoy the wide variety of species to find at the farthest point south in Venice. With the large group of marshes present, the ducks are plentiful. From blue- and green-winged teals to mallards and pintails, wildlife is diverse and engaging to pursue. Hunters can also find redhead, canvasback, gadwall, and widgeon ducks in the area.
A beautiful way to explore this area of Louisiana is by small watercraft like kayaks. Boaters can take their time wafting down the Mississippi River and seeing the area from the water’s edge. This avenue gives tourists the chance to explore Venice from a different vantage point. For the adventurous, kayak fishing is a great experience.
When you want to cool off with a dip in the water, the nearby city of Buras has a beautiful beach called Scofield Beach. Visitors can spend the day splashing in the warm waters or soaking up the sun’s rays.
Traversing the waters of the Gulf of Mexico gives tourists the chance to experience an amazing look into the habitats of tropical fish, coral, and reef sponges. A 500-mile expanse of water includes thousands of reef platforms that run from Venice LA to Texas and Mexico. Species like triggerfish and orange-spotted tessellated blennies along with blue tangs and cocoa damselfish offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see unique water species in their homes.
If you want to see more aggressive wildlife, then diving near the oil rigs gives visitors a good chance to view barracudas and jacks. You might also spot an octopus or two hanging out in the shadowy areas of the rig’s cornices. Spiny lobsters are also prevalent in these places.
When diving near offshore platforms near Venice, there may only be 40 to 60 feet of visible space, so extreme caution is important. The water clarity is even less when diving at 100-foot depths, leaving you with under 40 feet of visibility. Summer diving is the best recommendation because the water temperatures are in the 80s. If you want to dive in the winter, the water is only going to be in the 60-degree range.
Experts suggest people diving near the platforms wear gloves and protective gear that covers the body because of how sharp the barnacles are on these structures. The best time to navigate the water is between the middle of July to September when the current motion tends to be lowest.
Do you want to experience Louisiana in an elaborate fashion? Taking a helicopter tour is a splendid way to see the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, and the edge of the southernmost point in Louisiana. Riders can spot migrating fish and birds as well as viewing the various land types and habitats in an uncommon manner.
Any time of year is an excellent time to visit the community. Its highs never drop below the sixties in the coldest months. Since the area is surrounded on three sides with water, there is always humidity and rainfall. Most months, the community receives at least four inches of rain. It rains an average of just over 100 days per year with thousands of hours of sunlight for the rest of the time. The area does not see snowfall.
Who Lives in Venice LA?
Married couples make up almost half of the population in Venice. Nearly 60% of the people living in the area have a high school diploma. Almost a quarter of the individuals in Venice hold a Bachelor’s Degree. This figure is double the number for the state of Louisiana as a whole. Because Venice is a long strip of land, most people commute by vehicle or pair up to carpool.
Homes in Venice
Every house in the town uses electricity for power. Modern beach houses, condos, and stilt homes are the primary house types in the area. Because the homes are so close to the water, using stilts offers a way to protect them from high tides and ocean swells. Commercial properties near the marina also come up for sale once in a while.
In 2017, the median price for a house in the area was almost $84,000. This number dropped about $5,000 from 2016 to 2017 making housing more affordable for people looking to relocate to the area. The downfall is that this also means there was less equity in local properties. Almost 65 percent of the people living in Venice own their home which is a slightly higher number than the national average.
In 2017, the median income for the just over 100 households was a little over $52,000. This number is higher than the previous year by as much as $4,000. The biggest portion of households earns an average of $75,000 to about the $100,000 range. This number is well above the national average.
Best Places to Eat in Venice
Changes is a quaint little restaurant offering all the fresh clams, shrimp, lobster, and freshly caught fish a person could want. The Bayou Club gets rave reviews on the Web for great service. This festive bar offers video poker, and everyone loves Teresa, who is the bartender.
Cypress Grill has a nice little party deck outside the bar and restaurant. It sits right on the water and affords guests a lovely sunset view each evening. From stew to oysters, this Cajun restaurant offers a variety of dishes using the fresh catch of the day.
The Den Lounge is a fun place to grab a cold one and play a game of pool or two with friends. This bustling bar has several televisions and hosts festive Mardi Gras celebrations each year.
History of Venice
Plaquemines” is a French Creole word derived from the Atakapa Native American word, “piakimin,” which means “persimmon,” a local fruit. The French chose to build their river fortification in a spot surrounded by numerous native persimmon trees. It was designated as Plaquemines. Eventually, the name was applied to the entire parish, as well as to a nearby bayou.
By 1699, the French had built and lived in a crudely constructed fort that was the oldest European settlement in the parish. They called the site La Balize, which means “seamark” in French. A seamark is a tall, high-visibility wooden marker that served as a guide or a warning to mariners. A surviving map from about 1720 shows the island and fort, and the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville sailed past what is now present-day Venice, La., on March 3, 1699. Twelve miles upriver, he christened “Pointe du Mardis Gras” and “Bayou Mardi Gras.” We can only imagine that he felt homesick for the huge carnival celebrations happening in France that day.
Before the advent of levees, the Mississippi River changed daily. Ship captains could expect sandbars, mudflats, and currents to change the navigable parts of the river on a daily basis. The ship captains hired local Frenchmen to guide them up the river.
Before long, the profession of “River Pilot” was born. This skill is still crucial, and many generations of river pilots have since worked the river.
Although La Balize was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, it was abandoned completely after being destroyed by a September 1860 hurricane. After this disaster, the river pilots moved upriver and built Pilottown, which reached the peak of its population in the 1800s.
Today, river pilots usually live with their families in more populated areas, but some stay at Pilottown temporarily for work. Pilottown is accessible only by boat or helicopter.
Fort Jackson is a notable historic site. The fort was constructed in 1822 after recommendations made by General Andrew Jackson. He was considered a hero of the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. The fort was named in his honor.
The fort continued to show its immense strategic value due to its location at the mouth of the Mississippi River. In 1861, Fort Jackson was used by the Confederates to defend New Orleans during the U.S. Civil War. The fort was also used as a training base by the U.S. Army during World War I.
This map denotes Plaquemines Parish in red:
Fort St. Philip
Nearby Fort St. Philip was built by the Spanish in the late 18th century when Spain was at war with France. The fort was also constructed as coastal protection for the New Orleans area. General Andrew Jackson strengthened Fort St. Philip in 1815, and it withstood a 9-day bombardment by the British.
The fort was also used by the Confederates during the Civil War as part of the river defenses. It had 45 guns, and the partially completed ironclad, CSS Louisiana, served as a floating battery. She was set afire by the British and sank near the fort.
Disasters & Resilience
Two violent hurricanes almost destroyed Venice: Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Fourteen years later, homes, fishing camps, infrastructure, and businesses have been restored and rebuilt. Venetians are exceptionally resilient.
A shattering offshore environmental disaster occurred in the Gulf of Mexico off Venice in 2010. Oil and debris from the British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon explosion began to wash ashore in the community. BP promised the state $360 million to build six sand berms to keep the oil at bay.
Recovery and restoration continues, and residents have reclaimed their waters from devastation. Residents played integral roles in the response and recovery. Both workers and volunteers rescued birds; built earthen berms; and deployed absorbents, dispersants, and containment solutions.
Schools Serving the Venice Community
The Plaquemines Parish School District instructs students living in and near the area. This district has seven schools that serve just over 4,000 students. Several of the schools are rated a 7 out of 10 or higher on the Great Schools website. Belle Chase Primary School gets the top rating with a score of 10 out of 10 with over 1,000 students attending the venue.
Boothville-Venice Elementary School
This school serves students from preschool to sixth grade. Students at this school usually earn above average scores on state tests. Most of the children at this school excel in English test scores.
Phoenix High School
This high school boasts a 95 percent graduation rate. The primary focus is college readiness. Nearly all of the students take the ACT before applying for college. Children can attend this school from kindergarten to graduation.
South Plaquemines High School
This school has just over 400 students in attendance. Great Schools gives it a higher rating than most Louisiana schools. It rates a 7 out of 10 for test scores and college readiness. This facility serves students from grades seven to twelve.
About Commercial Fishing in Venice
Although Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill caused many problems for commercial fishing businesses in Louisiana, the industry is seeing a comeback. Venice is a top port for deep-sea fishing. Most of the seafood in the U.S. mainland comes from Louisiana. While the oysters are smaller in this area, the oyster catch is a significant moneymaker for commercial fishing operations. Other common shellfish catches include crawfish, shrimp, and crabs.
Oil rig service
The oil rig industry in Louisiana has seen an influx of workers infiltrate the state and cities like Venice since the early 1920s. These workers were the ones who built and worked on the oil and natural gas rigs. Today, there are over 4,000 of these platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
Besides money coming in from working on the rigs, people providing transportation for rig workers and equipment are big business in Louisiana. People use the marinas in Venice to set sail to the rigs. Currently, little is known about the economic growth or impact in the area because few studies on the subject are available, but the U.S. Government is working to define the numbers with new research and studies.