Artist John James Audubon dedicated his life to painting all of the birds in North America. He painted 32 of his famous works in his Birds of America series while residing at Oakley Plantation at St. Francisville, Louisiana, as a tutor to Eliza Pirrie in 1821. It is fitting that a work of art in the form of a bridge crossing the Mississippi River between Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes in south central Louisiana be named after him.
The area on both sides of the river is flat-as-a-pancake delta lands, with fields of sugar cane and soybeans covering thousands of acres, as far as the eye can see. So you can imagine how surprised (and delighted) my husband and I were when way off in the distance we saw the towers of the bridge looming high above the horizon, as shown in the picture below ...
As we got closer, we realized that this wasn't just an ordinary bridge, but an impressive engineering wonder and as close to a work of art as a bridge can be.
The John James Audubon Bridge, completed and opened in 2011, is the second longest cable-stayed span in the Western Hemisphere (after Mexico's Baluarte bridge, although its total length is four times that of the Mexican bridge), and replaces the ferry between the communities of New Roads and St. Francisville. The bridge also serves as the only bridge structure on the Mississippi River between Natchez, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana (approximately 90 river miles).
As a gateway, it is intended to provide highway traffic where centuries of ferry crossings and longer commutes have been the norm.
Naming the new bridge after Audubon is significant to the project because it exemplifies the importance and preservation of the rich natural history of the region.
All of these pictures were taken as we were approaching and crossing the bridge. I wish I could have gotten a side view picture showing both spans. We plan to spend more time in the area sometime, so, hopefully, I'll have a chance to do that one day.
Close up view of the cables ...
I hope you enjoyed seeing the Audubon Bridge up close and personal. My husband and I both love bridges and it was exciting to come across this unique and beautiful bridge quite unexpectedly. I guess you could call it a little bit of southern lagniappe!