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# The Tourist, by this route, once called the Great Jackson Route, after passing through Jackson, Miss. (Vicksburg and Meridian Railroad Junction), crosses the boundary line of Louisiana, about a half mile below Osyka.

OSYKA. (88 miles from New Orleans.) The town of Osyka, named after the sister of Osceola, the celebrated Indian chief, is a village of about one thousand inhabitants, and is the centre of a region of small cotton farms. After passing Osyka, which is 250 feet above the level of the sea, the railroad runs down a hill, as it were, until it reaches the alluvial lands below Pontchatoula, which are only a few feet above the level of the Gulf of Mexico. On the right, three miles below Osyka, hidden among the trees, is Roncal, the former home of the Hon. Charles Gayarre, the historian of Louisiana.

Amite City. (68 miles from New Orleans.) Amite City, the next place of importance, is a thriving town, noted for its manufactory of Gullet's Cotton Gins. The railroad continues on through heavy pine forests, broken here and there with small cotton patches and the land commences to get flat.

Hammond. (52 miles from New Orleans.) A thriving place settled by Western people who are engaged in truck farming. The station will in the future become an important one, as it will be the junction of a railroad to Baton Rouge, 49 miles due West.

Pontchatoula. (47 miles from New Orleans.) This place is a small village or settlement and is surrounded by forests of gigantic pines. Pontchatoula means, in Choctaw, falling hair, and among the Indians of that locality, the custom of cutting off the hair of a girl guilty of frailty still prevails. A few miles below the station, which is forty feet above the sea, the land gradually slopes, the pines commence to disappear, the soil changes from yellow to black, and soon the tourist finds himself riding over alluvial ground.

Pass Manchac. (37 miles from New Orleans.) Manchac (Indian for Pass) is a small station at which the bridge crosses the pass of the same name. This pass, about five miles long, connects Lakes Maurepas and Pontchartrain, two lakes named after celebrated French ministers, From the bridge (on the right side of the train) is seen Lake Maurepas, a beautiful sheet of water about ten miles wide, which serves as a drain for the surrounding country. At the head of the lake Manchac river flows in, taking its rise near the Mississippi river. Manchac river, at one time called Iberville river, was originally one of the outlets of the Mississippi, the waters of which flowed through Lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain and Borgne to the sea, making the territory on which New Orleans stood as an island, called "the Island of Orleans." At the junction of Manchac river and the Mississippi river the Spaniards built a fort, and, in 1814, Jackson fearing that the British might attempt to approach New Orleans from the rear by passing through the lakes and the Manchac river to the Mississippi, dispatched a force to that point, and caused the Manchac river to be closed by a dam.

Crossing the railroad bridge, the boundary line between the Federal and Confederate forces during the Civil War, the tourist will notice {on the left) the traces of a redoubt built by the Federals to command the Pass and the railroad track. The railroad now enters a deep swamp of cypress and palmetto (called by the natives "latanier". The cypress trees are gigantic and are festooned with moss, a parasitic growth of some value. This moss, which is grey and of a velvety softness, is gathered with long poles and taken in skiffs to the cabins. There, it is cured by being rotted in stacks or steeped in water until black, when it is taken out and dried, baled, and sent to market, where it is bought by mattress makers and upholsterers. The palmetto, or latanier, has a fibrous root which the natives cut up and use for scrubbing brushes, and on Palm Sunday, the leaves are used to make crosses and other designs to be blessed by the priests.

Frenier. (23 miles from New Orleans.) This station is a small settlement of farmers, mostly Germans, who raise fine cabbages. The soil is rich, but very wet, and the waters of Lake Pontchartrain, distant a few yards to the left, often overflow it several feet.

Bayou Labranche. This small station is a great resort of hunters from the city. Crossing the bayou the railroad enters a large, trembling prairie, the soil of which is very soft. In laying the railroad track the engineers experienced great difficulty in finding a good foundation. The whole road-bed through this prairie was built on piles and often one blow of the pile-driver would send them out of sight. About five miles to the right is the Bonnet Carre bend of the Mississippi river. In 1874, the Mississippi broke through that bend with great force and sought an outlet to the sea over this prairie and through Lake Pontchartrain. The water rose above the iron of the track and cut off direct communication between New Orleans and the North, necessitating a connection by boat via Manchac. The sediment left by this flood (called a crevasse) is river sand and has elevated the prairie a few inches. Since that time the trestle has been raised above overflow and filled up.

Kenner. (10 miles from New Orleans.) After leaving the trembling prairie, the traveler passes through sugar plantations, the sugar houses of which loom up in the distance with tall chimneys; near these are other large, square, heavy looking chimneys for burning "bagasse" or cane, from which the mill has already extracted the juice. Kenner, the junction of the Mississippi Valley Railroad, is a small town on the left bank of the Mississippi river, which is seen on the right, a few hundred yards distant from the station. By river, Kenner is fifteen miles distant from New Orleans and only ten miles by rail. The railroad track then passes through the lines of fortifications erected by the city of New Orleans during the war, enters the woods, from which it emerges into the swamp in the rear of the city. The track crosses shell roads as white as snow, and draining canals as black as ink; in the distance the traveler (on the left side of the train) catches his first view of the city with its steeples and high buildings. The train enters the Illinois Central Railroad depot on Howard avenue, half mile distant from Canal street. Carriages, cabs, and omnibuses are always in waiting at each train. Cars (fare 5 cents) pass in front of the depot. For carriage rates see local tariff.

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Routes to New Orleans # Historical New Orleans Site Map
NEW ORLEANS GUIDE, With Descriptions of the Routes to New Orleans, Sights of the City Arranged Alphabetically, ans Other Information Useful to Travelers; Also, Outlines of the History of Louisiana, By Hon. James S. Zacharie, Second Vice President of the Louisiana Historical Society, Member of the City Council of New Orleans. F. F. Hansell & Bro., Ltd, New Orleans. 1893, 1902


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New Orleans History
1897-1917


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