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Profile: Venice Marina

Nearly leveled by Hurricane Katrina, Venice Marina has rebuilt to continue to provide boaters the southernmost marina on the Mississippi.

An aerial of Venice Marina in Venice, Louisiana.

An aerial of Venice Marina in Venice, Louisiana.

Michelle Tallion

“The end of the world” is an apt nickname for Venice, La., located deep in the Mississippi Delta at the very littoral end of the Great River Road south of New Orleans. The end-of-it-all handle fits its namesake marina as well, for where the sweet water of the Mississippi mingles with salt of the Gulf of Mexico some 75 miles south of The Big Easy, Venice Marina serves as a welcome outpost for Loopers and other boaters trading between the mighty river and the Gulf. It’s also at the edge of the cruising envelope for Heartland boaters.

Impacted by both Hurricane Katrina’s high winds and waters and the Deepwater Horizon’s oily offshore explosion, both town and marina continue to rebuild and thrive, welcoming travelers arriving by land and by water with the Delta’s famous hospitality. At Venice Marina, boaters find a full-service facility with 120 wet slips, double-lane launch ramp, cabin rentals and one of the lower Delta’s most popular eateries, Crawgators, on site.

Hard on the west bank of the Mississippi River in Plaquemines (“plack-mins”) Parish, Venice Marina is some 25 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. Boaters access the marina off the Mississippi River at Grand Pass along a stretch of water known as the “Jump Basin” or simply “The Jump,” where Tiger and Grand passes converge a quarter mile west of the river. Boaters headed there stay to the right off Grand, entering Tiger Pass, motor past US Coast Guard Station Venice on the right and around the corner into the marina.

The Jump is the center of Venice’s commercial boating activity, as well as the site of the Coast Guard facility. According to Venice Marina Harbor Master Paul Reeves, the Jump isn’t named because it’s where boats “jump” off the river to reach the two passes, but because it is where the original oil rig workers used a swing rope to “jump” from shore to the crew boats to take them to the oil fields.

What makes the delta around Venice unique is the fact that both freshwater and saltwater converge on the area. The flora is amazingly diverse; Tiger Pass boasts scattered grass stands and canebrakes, while other runs are lined with water hyacinth and elephant ear vegetation. The mixing waters and marshland create nursery grounds for an endless array of aquatic species —and one of the richest commercial and recreational fisheries in the world.

For example, from the South Pass sea buoy, located some 25 miles south of the marina at the mouth of the Mississippi, the 100-fathom curve is only 9 miles out in the Gulf. Along the edge of the continental shelf are found not only the deep water oil production platforms, but the marlin, wahoo, tuna, dolphin and other blue-water gamefish that draw sport fishermen to Venice from all over the world.

Just across the river and a few blocks north of the Jump on the east bank of the Mississippi is the Baptiste Collette Waterway, which runs northeast to two very productive fishing grounds: Breton Sound and the Main Pass Blocks. This is the route that many boaters choose to take to get to the Chandeleur Islands chain, where numerous shallow-water rigs offer fishing for Spanish mackerel, flounder, speckled trout, redfish, tarpon and cobia. The surf of the islands offers excellent fishing for trout, reds and flounder, as well as great day stops for boaters.

Closer to Venice, Tante Phine Pass, the Wagonwheel, Red Pass, Grand Pass, Southwest Pass and the Mississippi River and surrounding marsh teem with speckled trout, redfish and flounder — plus freshwater largemouth bass, especially during low river stages — and alligators.

The town of Venice is located along the west bank of the Mississippi River at 29°16′37″N, 89°21′17″W. It has an area of 1.628 miles, and local industries include commercial and sport fishing and service and transport for offshore petroleum platforms. At the last census, the population numbered 460. At my last visit in May 2012, it represented the hardest-working, most hospitable, content community of individuals you’d ever want to meet — on the land or on the water.

Venice Marina
237 Sports Marina Road
Venice, LA 70091
(504) 534-9357

Paul Reeves, Harbor Master,

Hours: Check in at boat basin year round, 5:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

Fuel: 89-octane, ethanol-free gas and marine-grade diesel.

Slips: 120, any size boat.

Water Depth: 6 feet.

Amenities: Slips include water and 30/50-amp power. Guarded compound parking, cabin rentals camper pads, two launch ramps, fuel, ice, marine supplies, fishing bait and tackle, fishing guides and charter boats.

Transients: $1.50 per foot

Getting There By Water: Access Venice Marina off the Mississippi River west via Grand Pass at the Jump. Stay to the right after one quarter mile entering Tiger Pass, pass the Coast Guard Station on the right and head around the corner 200 yards into the marina.

Getting There By Land: Follow Hwy 23/Grand River Road south out of New Orleans and go 75 miles through Venice to Tide Water Road. Turn right/west to Venice Boat Harbor Drive, then turn left/east onto Sports Marina Road on the right.

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