by Donald E. Sheppard
Background Louisiana Brief
The Mississippi River Delta - 1743
Mississippi River to Last Island
The 1856 Last Island Hurricane (also known as the Great Storm of 1856 - tracked on map at left) was one of the deadliest tropical cyclones on record in Louisiana. The first known tropical cyclone of the season, it was first observed as minimal hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico near Dry Tortugas on August 9. The storm moved northwestward and strengthened, becoming a Category 2 hurricane about 12 hours later.
The hurricane reached Category 3 strengthened late on August 9. It continued to deepen and became a Category 4 hurricane on the following day. Late on August 10, the hurricane peaked with winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) when the storm made landfall in Last Island, Louisiana. Over 200 people perished in the storm, and the island was left void of vegetation.
Images at left portray Last Island before and after the Great Storm of 1856. Today that broken island is called Isles Dernieres.
DeVaca's Escape Route from Last Island, LouisianaLoiusiana Texas New Mexico & Arizona Mexico Epilogue