The Grand Ecore Visitor Center, a  US Corps of Engineers site, is located just north of Natchitoches on the Red River. The prospective visitor can find out a lot of information by reading my pre-site post on the center.

The exit from Grand Ecore Road (US 84/Highway 6) is obscured by a big sign advertising the shooting range.  The entrance to the center is immediately to the right after turning off Grand Ecore Road. Turning into the drive, the road splits around a large “hill”. Continuing through, the visitor reaches a prominent wooden structure built on a bluff.

Inside the visitor center is a museum focusing on the history of the Grand Ecore and its relationship to Red River and the surrounding area. I will organize my assessment using terms of parliamentary procedure:

Yeas: a.) Museum focuses on the immediate area. b.) museum looks at area in a holistic way- geology, history, anthropology, archaeology, geomorphology, industry, transportation, paleontology (one exhibit and the skull of an extinct water mammal) c.) good use of available technology d.) a very nice building and facility e.)very nice interpretive display panels (the one on archaeology could have been much better, see below). f.) an amazing view of the Red River and g.) friendly staff eager to learn information to fill gaps in their knowledge.

Students climb down from Confedeate earthworks

Students climb down from Confederate earthworks

Nays: a.)  Misinformation about archaeology near the site b.) Lack of information about Civil War ground positions in area (all interpretation focused on the river itself) b.) lack of interpretation/ disinformation regarding multiple Confederate earthworks on the site c .) Staff not knowledgeable about sequence of events in Grand Ecore’s history d.) lack of attribution of photos or other interpretive materials  e.) (my pet peeve)…use of a private contractors design and build the site and to other private contractors manage it. I know this is prevailing practice,  but I yearn for the “good old days” of General Douglas MacArthur’s tenure at the COE… public works that employ public workers… something the FOX News crowd might call “communistic” (!) today.

Photos of Grand Ecore (probably from Cammie Henry Research Center)

Photos of Grand Ecore (probably from Cammie Henry Research Center)

The Yeas have it…. but the bill passes on a slight margin. I vote for it, despite its flaws… besides, it’s one more museum and brings jobs to my legislative district.180px-EngineersCleartheWay

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