Discover the Highest Bridge in Louisiana- A 502-Foot Mammoth

Written by Em Casalena
Updated: August 2, 2023
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Key Points:

  • The highest bridge in Louisiana is the John James Audubon Bridge.
  • It connects Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes over the Mississippi River.
  • This cable-stayed bridge reaches a height of approximately 502 feet, with a 2.2-mile-long span, playing a crucial role in the area’s transportation network.

Natural beauties abound in Louisiana, which is renowned for its diverse landscapes and rich cultural past. Among its numerous attractions, the tallest bridge in Louisiana stands out as an exceptional engineering wonder. This architectural marvel connects communities while providing tourists with an unmatched experience. It spans gorgeous bayous and offers breathtaking vistas. So, what exactly is the highest bridge in Louisiana?

We won’t leave you in suspense. Let’s go out on a journey to learn more about this amazing architectural achievement and admire the beauty of Louisiana’s tallest bridge!

What is the Highest Bridge in Louisiana?

A shot of one of the pillars of the John James Audubon Bridge in Louisiana.
The John James Audubon Bridge is an excellent illustration of contemporary engineering.


The highest bridge in Louisiana is the John James Audubon Bridge. The parishes of Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana are connected by the John James Audubon Bridge, which spans the enormous Mississippi River. This cable-stayed bridge soars beautifully above the river, reaching an astonishing height of around 502 feet from the ground to the top of its towers. The 2.2-mile-long span of the bridge makes it a crucial piece of the area’s transportation network.

An Engineering Marvel

The John James Audubon Bridge is an excellent illustration of contemporary engineering. It perfectly integrates practicality and beauty because of the great attention to detail that went into its construction. Two attractive concrete towers that support the cable-stayed framework, which takes the weight of the highway, are part of the bridge’s modern design. These towers, which stand as imposing sentinels, are proof of human inventiveness.

Scenic Wonders

The John James Audubon Bridge gives a breathtaking view of Louisiana’s natural splendor in addition to its mechanical brilliance. Tourists and locals alike are treated to stunning views of the peaceful Mississippi River and its softly flowing waves as they cross the bridge. A scenic backdrop is provided by the surrounding terrain, which is covered in lush foliage, particularly when the vivid colors of sunset or the delicate beauty of daybreak are present.

Community Connection

The community of Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana are crucially connected by the tallest bridge in Louisiana. Before the bridge was built, locals had to rely on ferries to traverse the Mississippi River, which presented difficulties including limited capacity and unpredictability of the weather. The John James Audubon Bridge has improved transportation effectiveness and stimulated economic growth, transforming the lives of these communities.

A Tourist Hotspot and Recreational Hub

In addition to serving a purpose, the bridge is now a popular tourist destination. This technical marvel attracts visitors from near and far who want to see its splendor for themselves. The pedestrian and cycling lanes on the bridge offer chances for leisurely strolls and recreational pursuits, enabling visitors to fully appreciate the natural beauty around them.

The bridge was built using cutting-edge engineering methods with the cooperation of several construction companies and specialists.

The History of John James Audubon Bridge

It has long been known that a bridge connecting the parishes of Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana over the Mississippi River was necessary. The only way to cross the river in this area before the John James Audubon Bridge was built would be via ferries, which presented problems including constrained capacity and service that depended on the weather.

The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development started the project in the late 1990s, which marked the beginning of the bridge construction process. The ideal site and bridge design were determined through careful planning and engineering research. The Louisiana State Legislature approved a bill in 2001 enabling the bridge’s construction and allocating finances to make it a reality. The lengthy design phase involved careful consideration of the bridge’s safety, use, and visual appeal.

The John James Audubon Bridge’s construction began in 2006, and it took more than four years to accomplish this enormous undertaking. The bridge was built using cutting-edge engineering methods with the cooperation of several construction companies and specialists.

The Grand Opening of the Bridge

The public opening of the John James Audubon Bridge took place on May 5th, 2011. It signaled a key turning point in Louisiana’s transportation system. Since it was built, the John James Audubon Bridge has come to represent connection, both in terms of its role in bringing communities together and in terms of its promotion of tourist and leisure activities. Visitors who want to explore the area’s natural beauty and take in the stunning vistas of the Mississippi River are drawn to the bridge’s pedestrian and cycling trails.

The John James Audubon Bridge connects communities, improves transportation effectiveness, and honors Louisiana’s rich natural history. It serves as a symbol of human creativity today. It still stands as a testament to the state’s dedication to development, preservation, and the celebration of its distinctive past.

What’s in a Name?

The bridge bears John James Audubon’s name and honors the famous naturalist and painter. It serves as a recognition of his achievements and as a symbol of Louisiana’s dedication to protecting the state’s natural heritage. This amazing bridge, which beautifully crosses the gorgeous Mississippi River, bears witness to Audubon’s love of nature and his attempts to preserve the state’s unique environment.

Where is John James Audubon Bridge Located?

The state of Louisiana in the United States is where the John James Audubon Bridge is located. It connects Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana in the state’s southern region over the Mississippi River. The Mississippi River and its beautiful nature environment surround the bridge. Its location offers breathtaking views of the river and the surrounding area, making it a popular spot for both tourists and residents.

Animals That Live in the Waters Beneath John James Audubon Bridge

There is a wide variety of aquatic species in the Mississippi River, which flows underneath the John James Audubon Bridge. 

American Alligators

Classification: Alligator mississippiensis

The ferocious and recognizable reptiles known as American alligators live in the Mississippi River. These apex predators are essential to the ecology of the river. American alligators are renowned for their enormous size and commanding appearance. They may reach lengths of up to 15 feet. However, some rare specimens have been measured even beyond.

Alligators have wide snouts, armored bodies, and powerful tails that are ideal for their semi-aquatic environment. They spend their time in the marshy regions, marshes, and bayous along the river, making use of the water for both habitat and hunting. Fish, turtles, birds, mammals, and occasionally even larger creatures like deer are among the many food items that alligators consume. They are opportunistic predators. 

During the mating season, males produce loud, rumbling bellows to lure females. These reptiles are noted for their distinctive vocalizations. American alligators play a crucial role in the stability and biodiversity of the Mississippi River ecosystem.

American Alligator
The American alligator (pictured) is the largest reptile in North America.

©Steve Byland/


Classification: Siluriformes order

One well-known and abundant animal that lives in the Mississippi River is the catfish. Numerous catfish species, including channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish find a perfect home in the river’s complex environment.

Catfish are well known for their unique barbels, which resemble whiskers and help them find food in murky river waters. They can identify prey including tiny fish, crabs, and insects thanks to their keen senses of taste and smell. Most of the time, these bottom-dwelling fish are busy nocturnal foragers.

The capacity of catfish to adapt to many settings in the Mississippi River is one of its outstanding qualities. Deep channels, peaceful backwaters, and even areas with rapid currents contain them. Fishing lovers flock to the Mississippi River in search of catfish since they are highly desired game fish.


Classification: Acipenseridae family

The Mississippi River is home to the unique and historic fish species known as the sturgeon. The Gulf sturgeon and the shovelnose sturgeon are two of the most well-known sturgeon species that thrive in the river.

Sturgeons are distinguished by their distinctive snouts, elongated bodies, and armored scales. Since they have lived almost unaltered for millions of years, they are regarded as living fossils. These fish that resemble dinosaurs have an unusual method of eating, sucking tiny fish, crabs, and mollusks into their toothless jaws. Sturgeons are unique not just in terms of appearance but also in terms of size. Some of them may reach astounding lengths of over seven feet and weights of over 200 pounds.

Although habitat degradation and exploitation have had an adverse effect on sturgeon numbers, efforts have been undertaken to safeguard and maintain this unique fish in the Mississippi River. The presence of sturgeons emphasizes the historical and biological significance of this magnificent waterway and they play a significant part in the river’s ecosystem.

White sturgeon
Sturgeons (pictured) can become quite large.

©Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons – License

American Paddlefish

Classification: Polyodon spathula

The fascinating American paddlefish, sometimes known as the spoonbill, is found in the Mississippi River. The environment of the river places a special value on this rare kind of fish. The paddlefish can be distinguished from other freshwater fish by its large, paddle-like snout.

Paddlefish are filter feeders, sweeping through the water with their unique snouts to snag tiny creatures like zooplankton. They are of the oldest fish species on Earth. Many regard them as living fossils with a lineage that spans over 125 million years.

Some of these magnificent creatures may grow to be astoundingly large. Some have measured more than six feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds. Longevity is a hallmark of paddlefish, who may live for up to 30 years or more.

American paddlefish are appreciated for their ecological function but also draw interest from scientists, fishermen, and nature lovers because of their distinctive traits and historical significance. The Mississippi River paddlefish population is being managed and conserved in order to protect this amazing and mysterious species for future generations.

River Otters

Classification: Lontra canadensis

The Mississippi River and its environment are home to the fascinating and entertaining river otters. These semi-aquatic animals are highly suited to their aquatic surroundings and are renowned for their vivacious and outgoing personalities.

River otters can traverse and survive in rivers because of their streamlined body, webbed feet, and waterproof fur. They have strong tails that they use to move through the water, making them great swimmers that can stay underwater for long periods of time.

These captivating creatures often exhibit their agility and lively temperament by sliding, diving, and playing in the water. Fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and even small mammals are all part of their diversified diet.

River otters have strong territorial instincts and reside in clans known as rafts. They use a variety of vocalizations to communicate in order to uphold social ties and establish dominance.. Some include chirps, whistles, and growls.

River otters are a good indication of the Mississippi River’s health and the availability of suitable habitat. These animals manage prey numbers and act as a crucial link in the food chain. These fascinating critters really support the local ecology. It is a great experience to see river otters in their natural environment along the Mississippi River, highlighting the diversity and vitality of this well-known waterway.

What Do River Otters Eat?
River otters (pictured) may be cute, but you shouldn’t interact with them.



Classification: Testudines order

Different turtle species inhabit the Mississippi River, each of which contributes in a different way to the ecosystem of the river. These hardy reptiles have adapted to the river’s many ecosystems, which range from the quiet backwaters to the fast currents.

In the Mississippi River, snapping turtle sightings are very easy to spot. They are fearsome scavengers and predators known for their strong builds and teeth. Softshell turtles may also be found in the river, where they make use of the sandy bottoms and bask on logs. Their shells are smooth and leathery. Another animal that may be regularly seen in the Mississippi River is the painted turtle. They are easy to identify thanks to their strikingly colored shells and distinguishing patterns. On rocks or logs, painted turtles may be spotted soaking up the sun’s warmth.

By managing populations of tiny aquatic organisms like insects, fish, and mollusks, turtles support the ecosystem of the Mississippi River. They contribute to the stability of the food chain by acting as prey for bigger predators. These turtles’ presence in the Mississippi River is proof of the river’s richness and capacity to sustain a variety of species. The vast diversity of life that abounds in the river’s waters is enhanced by seeing these reptiles in their natural home.


Classification: Anseriformes order

The Mississippi River is home to a variety of waterfowl species, including ducks, geese, herons, and egrets. In the open water and marshy areas of the river, mallards, wood ducks, and several varieties of teal are frequently spotted. These ducks rely on the river for food, nesting sites, and care for their babies.

The Mississippi River transforms into a gathering place for a wide range of waterfowl species throughout the migratory seasons. Along the river, Canada geese, snow geese, and other heron and egret species rest and refresh before continuing their lengthy migrations.

Waterfowl in the Mississippi River contribute to the biological balance of the river as well as its aesthetic attractiveness. These birds are essential for seed dispersal, insect population management, and nutrient cycling. A fascinating look into the intricate interconnection of the Mississippi River’s ecology and the amazing migration routes used by these migrating birds may be obtained by watching ducks in their natural environment along the river.

The John James Audubon Bridge serves as a gateway to the state’s natural treasures and a symbol of human ingenuity. It is an architectural masterpiece because of its magnificent design, amazing views, and crucial function in tying communities together. Along its length, visitors and residents alike are met not just by technical marvels but also by the Mississippi River’s and its environment’s timeless beauty. The tallest bridge in Louisiana epitomizes the resilient nature of the region and makes a lasting impression on everyone who sees it. Make sure to give it a visit next time you vacation in Louisiana!

Where is the John James Audubon Bridge Located on a Map?

Completed and opened in May 2011, the John James Audubon Bridge serves as a crossing over the Lower Mississippi River, connecting Pointe Coupee and West Feliciana parishes in the south-central region of Louisiana.

Here is the John James Audubon Bridge on a map:

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About the Author

I'm a lover of all things sustainability, from urban farming to not killing houseplants. I love carnivorous plants, indigenous crops, and air-cleansing indoor plants. My area of expertise lies in urban farming and conscious living. A proud Southwest Institute of Healing Arts graduate and certified Urban Farming instructor.

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