The history of the Turtle Cove facility on Manchac Pass tells the story of the entire region.
Edward G. Schlieder of New Orleans built the main Turtle Cove lodge in 1908, where he later stayed while hunting and fishing. As he aged, Schlieder spent more time at the lodge until his death on May 12,1948.
In 1951, the Turtle Cove Club, a private hunting and fishing club, was formed and began leasing the Schlieder Lodge as their headquarters. In 1975, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) purchased the surrounding 5,261 acres from the Schlieder Foundation to function as a laboratory and teaching facility. Although Wildlife and Fisheries agents used the facility during duck-hunting season, during the rest of the year, the facility was mostly vacant and fell into disrepair.
Southeastern Louisiana University assumed control of the facility and of the ten surrounding acres in 1981,signing a99-year lease from LDWF. After raising capital funds to repair the facility and finding more ways to fund staff, the first full-time director, Dr. Robert Hastings, was hired in July, 1984. Robert Moreau later assumed this position in 2001 when Dr. Hastings retired.
Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita in 2005 destroyed the bulkheads and boardwalks behind Turtle Cove, and inflicted heavy damage on both the main Turtle Cove Lodge (Guest House) and the Caretaker’s House, which was eventually torn down. Seven years later, in 2012, and after a $5.5 million FEMA-funded restoration, Turtle Cove is back stronger than ever in terms of its actual facilities on Pass Manchac. We have a new bulkhead ($3.1 mill) built for projected sea level rise over the next 30 years, a new 6 ft wide boardwalk with a self-guided tour ($550,000), a totally renovated Lodge (new ground level floor, and full external replacement and raised 4 ft—-$800,000) and now finally, the last piece, a brand new Caretaker’s Cabin ($450,000).