The French began to cultivate oranges in Plaquemines Parish a couple of decades after the first European settlement (1712) on the lower Mississippi River. The soil there was world class. The Jesuits are credited with the early success of citrus in the upper parish in an area now called Jesuit Bend.
The first large orange grove was developed by Florentine Buras in 1860. Plaquemines became famous for large orange groves and in the early 1900s the parish was exporting citrus. Today it continues to be the top orange producer in Louisiana. There are approximately 200 growers in the parish and 525 acres of navel oranges, satsumas and other citrus.
In 1947, citrus growers started the Orange Festival, one of several Louisiana harvest festivals gaining popularity at that time. The festival is held annually on the first full weekend in December at Fort Jackson and fair activities include tours of the fort interior.
The history of Fort Jackson is such that after the War of 1812, the president of the United States commissioned the construction of a system of massive brick-and-mortar forts at port cities along the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. There were five forts commissioned to protect New Orleans including Fort Jackson, more surveillance than at any other city. The president contracted highly respected French architects to design what became the next level in the military protection of America. Today, Fort Jackson is on the National Historic Register.