Lavaca Bay

By: Art Leatherwood

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 2013

Lavaca Bay, a western extension of Matagorda Bay, is located at the mouth of the Lavaca River in northeastern Calhoun County (at 28°40' N, 96°36' W). It provides dredged channels that connect Point Comfort and Port Lavaca to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Garcitas Creek and Venado Creek also empty into Lavaca Bay. La Salle's Texas Settlement, the first French settlement in Texas, was most likely on Garcitas Creek three miles from Lavaca Bay. The name Lavaca ("cow") is a Spanish adaptation of the French name La Salle gave to one of the creeks in the area because of the many buffalo there. Indianola was a major point of entry into south and south central Texas at the mouth of Lavaca Bay southeast of Indian Point until its destruction by the hurricanes of 1875 and 1886.

Kathleen Gilmore, The Keeran Site: The Probable Site of La Salle's Fort St. Louis in Texas (Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1973). Brownson Malsch, Indianola-The Mother of Western Texas (Austin: Shoal Creek, 1977). Robert S. Weddle, "La Salle's Survivors," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 75 (April 1972).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Art Leatherwood, “Lavaca Bay,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 2013