Dramatization of the Discovery of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin

The students imagine how it feels to be a late 16th-century explorer on a voyage of discovery in the New World--an expedition during which the French name Lake Pontchartrain.



  1. Assign students to cooperative groups.

  2. Give each group a copy of the Handout: Discovering the Lake Pontchartrain Basin

  3. Explain to the students that they are to write and act out a short skit depicting the scene described in the handout.

  4. The students may make costumes and props, select background music, and create environmental sounds to go with their skits.

  5. The students may act out their skits for the class or the whole school.


  1. Write and illustrate a letter to a friend or relative at home in France telling about the journey, explaining how it felt to be part of this expedition.

  2. Write and illustrate a personal journal entry about the trip, with thoughts and feelings experienced during the journey.

  3. Examine a present-day map or old maps of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin and the Mississippi River. Trace the route of the journey from the river along Bayou Manchac and the Amite River into Lake Maurepas, through Pass Manchac, and into Lake Pontchartrain. Locate the Rigolets to see how the party exited Lake Pontchartrain. Draw your own interpretation of the journey's route.


A map by D'Anville is printed in a number of local history books and available for Xerox copying at the Louisiana Collection at Tulane University Howard Tilton Library as well as at other area libraries. It shows Bayou Manchac as Riviere d'Iberville as well as by the Indian name of Akankia.

Go back

[an error occurred while processing this directive]