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The Tourist approaching New Orleans by this route, after leaving the city of Mobile, passes through a region of pine woods, the soil of which is poor and sandy. Approaching the Gulf of Mexico, towards which the railroad makes a direct line, the Gulf is soon reached. The track is ahnost level and very fast time is made. The distance from Mobile to New Orleans is 141 miles and a special train once made the run in two hours and forty-seven minutes.

SCRANTON. (101 miles from New Orleans.) The first place of importance is Seranton, a small town in the State of Mississippi, situated near the mouth of East Pascagoula river, which flows into the Gulf of Mexico. This place is noted as one of the principal ports for shipping lumber and shingles. The mills are situated on the river, a few miles above the town, and large quantities of yellow pine lumber are shipped to all parts of the world. The river divides itself into two branches, the East and West Pascagoula, and each empties into the Gulf a few miles distant. The railroad crosses both branches by a long bridge and from the train {left side) the big ships can be seen riding at anchor in the Gulf outside the bar, waiting for cargoes of lumber. After crossing the bridge. West Pascagoula is reached, at which point are located the railroad company's works, where all timber used in the construction of bridges is made durable and proof against worms by steeping it in a preparation of creosote.

Ocean Springs. (85 miles from, New Orleans.) The next important point is Ocean Springs, a Summer resort on the Bay of Biloxi (pronounced Be-lux-ee). An hotel and several excellent boarding houses make this place a pleasant Summer resort. On a small point above the bridge and on the left side of the bay the French landed in 1699 and made their first settlement, which was called Biloxi, after the tribe of Indians who inhabited the country. The colonists had a hard life, and it was with great difficulty that they managed to exist. The site was badly chosen and the aspect of the surrounding country very uninviting. The ships, which brought their supplies from France, for the land yielded almost nothing, were obliged, on account of their heavy draught, to anchor off Ship Island, about twenty miles distant. The equinoctial storms, which annually visited these waters with great violence, often drove the vessels from their anchorage to be wrecked on the innumerable sand bars along this coast. When these storms ceased, the English cruisers would sometimes suddenly make their appearance and engage the ships in battle. Behind the Fort was a deep unexplored pine forest, inhabited by hostile savages who were ready, like vultures, to sweep down on this small band of adventurers the instant they became too weak to offer resistance. Once, after several months of patient and anxious watching of the horizon, the white sails of the ships from France made the hearts of the colonists glad once more and told them they had not been forgotten and left to die on a barren shore. Alas! this brave handful of colonists little suspected on seeing the ships that a new colonist, in the form of a strange and dreadful disease, was brought which would almost annihilate their band. These ships, on their way from France, had stopped at some ports in the West India Islands and the crews had there contracted yellow fever, which they now were to plant on the soil of the new colony for ages to come. Soon after the arrival of these ships, the disease broke out among the colonists. The first victim was Sauvolle, the Governor, who died and was buried in the Fort under the shadow of the white banner of France, which he had unfurled there himself. The seat of government was moved to New Orleans in 1718, and it remained there for many years.

Crossing the bridge. Deer and Horn Islands are seen on the left, low sand spits, the latter deriving its name from its resemblance to the shape of a powder horn. At night, the red light of the lighthouse on Horn Island is visible for miles. In the distance, some twenty miles to the South, is Ship Island or Ile aux Vaisseaux, as named by the French, from its being the anchorage of their ships (vaisseaux). These islands of the Gulf are very low and sandy, and forming a chain or breakwater along the coast, the water between them and the mainland being called the Mississippi Sound. Ship Island is about eight miles long and its greatest width is about a half mile. On the West end is a fixed white light and near it is the Fort, built by Gen. Butler during the late Civil War, when this island was made the rendezvous of the expedition against New Orleans. This place was used as a penal settlement during the War, when the mere nod of the Commanding General was the signal to send there any citizen of New Orleans, male or female, for the slightest offense or on the least suspicion. The National Board of Health has established a Quarantine Post on this island, where invalids may be taken care of and infected ships fumigated. The island is reached from Biloxi by sail boats.

Biloxi. (80 miles from New Orleans.) After crossing the bridge, the next station is Biloxi (pronounced (Be-lux-ee), a popular watering place situated on the Sound. Hotel: Montross House. This place is celebrated for its bathing, fishing and fine oysters. Good sail boats and skiffs may be hired at reasonable rates. The hotels front the beach and are within a short walking distance of the station. Conveyances meet all trains. One mile beyond Biloxi are the Methodist Camp-Meeting grounds (Camp Ground Station), situated on the sea-shore, where camp-meetings are held every Summer.

Beauvoir, a small station, is a few miles beyond. Near this place is the Marine Villa of the late Hon. Jefferson Davis, the ex-president of the Southern Confederacy. From Biloxi to the Bay St. Louis (pronounced Saint Lou-ee), the track is laid through a flat sandy pine region at the distance of about a half mile from the sea, the blue waves of which are visible at intervals through the openings in the woods. The houses along the coast front on the beach and beautiful lawns of velvety Bermuda grass, ornamented with the orange, lemon, banana, pomegranate, white and red oleander and other tropical trees, slope towards the water. The houses, surrounded by large and cool verandahs, have many openings to admit all the breeze. Hammocks are usually swung on the verandahs or under the wide spreading live-oaks. In the rear of these paradisical retreats are generally vegetable gardens and vineyards, the latter producing a greenish thick skinned grape, called "Scuppernong," from which an excellent wine is made. At different points along the sea-coast, which is generally called by the inhabitants, the "Lake Coast (from the fact that the Sound resembles a lake), are way stations at which the express does not stop.

Mississippi City. (72 miles from New Orleans.) This station is but a city on paper, its only buildings being a court-house, a jail and a few residences. A break in the forest enables the traveler to see Cat Island, ten miles distant, a low sandy island with a conical sand hill on its East end, forty feet high, which has been thrown up by the winds of the Gulf. This island is inhabited and is used as a cattle farm. On the West end is a light-house, with a revolving white light. The island was named by the French, from the fact that on landing there they found a great number of coons, which they mistook for a species of cat.

GuLPPORT. (69 miles from New Orleans.) Hotel, Great Southern. The junction of the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad, which extends to Jackson, Miss., a distance of 160 miles through a pine country. Deep water has been obtained and the town promises to become a big port in the future.

Pass Christian. (59 miles from New Orleans.) The next important station is Pass Christian (pronounced Christy-Ann) a well settled place with handsome villas, the Summer retreat of the wealthy American familes of New Orleans. Hotels: Mexican Gulf Hotel, on the Beach; terms moderate— first-class hotel. Omnibus from station — charges for conveyances reasonable. Sail boats and skiffs to be had at reasonable rates. Fishing off the islands and banks at certain tides is excellent. Oysters abundant. In Winter deer and wild ducks abound. Shell road on the beach is six miles long. A cool Summer retreat and in Winter much resorted to by invalids from the North and West. The bracing salt air of the Gulf and the odor of the fragrant pine forests are considered highly beneficial to persons with weak lungs, and the clear atmosphere renders it a pleasant Winter resort. Stores, physicians, and also churches of all denominations.

Bay St. Louis. (Bridge.) Two miles beyond Pass Christian, the Bay St. Louis (pronounced Saint Lou-ee), a shallow bay about five feet deep is reached. It is here crossed by a wooden railroad bridge, nearly one mile long, with an iron draw bridge over the channel for the passage of schooners which carry lumber and charcoal from Wolf river and other places on the bay to New Orleans. Great difficulty was experienced in building the bridges of this road, as the waters of the Gulf are infested with the Teredo, a species of barnacle, which fastens itself to wood under the water and bores into it until it becomes honey-combed. The noise made by the Teredo boring can be heard distinctly by lying down on the wharf, or in the bottom of a boat. Sheathing the piles with copper was tried with some success, but finally it was determined to try the experiment of soaking the piles in creosote and large works for the purpose were erected at West Paseagoula. A second danger now presented itself. The wood, so prepared, turned out to be very inflammable and great care has to be exercised to protect the bridges. In 1879, the Bay of St. Louis bridge caught fire from the spark of a locomotive, and, owing to a high wind prevailing, the structure was soon destroyed, the creosoted piles burning like torches of fat pine. Great vigilance is necessary and as soon as a train passes over the bridge, night or day, it is the duty of a watchman to follow it and to carefully examine all parts of the structure. In crossing this bridge a fine view of the Gulf of Mexico is obtained from the cars and a delightful soft breeze from the South usually prevails. In the distance (on the left), when the weather is clear, Cat Island is seen, fifteen miles off. At night its revolving white light is visible and near by is Pass Marian's (pronounced Mary-ann) light on Merritt's shell bank, distant eight miles. This light, formerly on a light-ship, now a wreck near the bridge, is built on iron screw piles driven into the hard shell bank. On approaching the shore (on left side) the traveler's attention is attracted to the numerous little bath houses and wharves. The bathing along this coast is what is called still water bathing, as there is no surf except during storms. The upper parts of the bath houses are fitted up as dressing-rooms, and stair-cases in the floors give access to the water below. The usual hour for bathing is noon, the waters being tepid. Owing to the extreme heat of the sun, bathers rarely venture from beneath the bath houses unless for a swim. Near the channel the space below some bath houses is enclosed with small piles, driven close together, to prevent sharks (which abound in these waters), from entering. The railroad rack crosses the main shell drive (on the left), affording a good idea of the watering places of this coast with their little Summer houses, baths and wharves.

Bay St. Louis. (53 miles from New Orleans.) The town of Bay St. Louis, sometimes called Shieldsboro, after a gallant officer of the U. S. Navy, who, in 1814, captured several British boats off Chandeleur islands, is a settlement extending about twelve miles along this coast. It is the usual Summer resort of the Creole families of New Orleans, who possess elegant residences here. Hotels: Pickwick, Clifton, small but comfortable. Omnibuses from the station to all points up and down the bay. Conveyance charges very reasonable. Residences (furnished) can be hired from $200.00 upwards for the season, according to their size and accommodations. Season May 1st to October 1st. Several stores and churches. Male and female academies under the direction of religious orders of the Catholic Church. Sail boats and skiffs can be hired at very reasonable rates. Shell road twelve miles long. As at Pass Christian, many strangers winter at this point.

Look Out Station. (36 miles from New Orleans.) After leaving Bay St. Louis the road continues on through a piney woods region with its red, yellowish barren soil, until, at Look Out Station, it reaches the rich, alluvial bottom lands of Pearl River. During the war of 1814, the British fleet was anchored off this place and established a signal station here, hence the name given to it of "English Look Out." Pearl River forms the Eastern boundary of Louisiana, and the river, above this station, divides itself into the East and West Pearl. West Pearl flows into the Rigolets and East Pearl flows by this station and empties into Lake Borgne, one mile distant. This lake, an arm of the Gulf, derived its name (pronounced Born) from the French word "borgne" meaning incompletes or deformed, as it is not entirely surrounded by land, but has one side open to the sea. The East Pearl is crossed by a bridge, the centre of which is the Louisiana boundary line, and, after a short run through the swamp, the Rigolets are reached. At various points in these marshes are elegant club houses used for shooting and fishing parties during the Winter and Summer.

Rigolets. (32 miles from New Orleans.) The Rigolets (pronounced by the natives, Rigo-leese) is a deep and wide stream connecting lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne. It is crossed by a fine iron bridge (recently built at a great cost), in the centre of which is a draw to let vessels pass. On the left, as you cross. Lake Borgne is seen. On the right, is the mouth of the West Pearl, in the distance Fort Pike, a large casemated work, now abandoned, and beyond is Lake Pontchartrain. The railroad continues on through a dense swamp in which alligators and wild fowls abound. Alongside of the track, in the ditches, the noise of the passing train often causes the alligator to swim away in haste. Alligators love to bask in the sun and the traveler is liable to mistake one of them one of them for an old log, so close is the resemblance. Lake Catherine, an open sheet of water on the right, is passed and also several bayous, great resorts for hunters and fishermen from the city.

Chef Menteur. (21 miles from New Orleans.) The next bridge is that over Chef Menteur {pronounced Sheff Mon-tur), a narrow, but deep stream connecting Lakes Pontchartrain and Borgne, and named from the circumstance, that, in former times, the Choctaw Indians expelled from their tribe one of their chiefs, who was a great liar. This chief took up his abode on a point near the head of the Pass, and to this day, this point and Pass have continued to be known as Chef Menteur (or lying chief.) On the right of the track a few yards distant is Fort McComb, a small abandoned work which commands the stream. The railroad now crosses a vast trembling prairie and finally reaches firm land at Michaud's, a small station surrounded by large cypress trees, covered with gray Spanish moss, a parasitical growth. This moss, which is gray and of a velvety softness, is gathered with long poles and cured by drying in stacks, or in water. When it turns black, it is hung up to dry and becomes crisp. It is then ready for the market, and is bought by upholsterers and mattress makers to take the place of hair stuffing. The route, continuing on through small fields of sugar cane and vegetable gardens, crosses the North Eastern Railroad track and finally enters the city of New Orleans in the rear by Elysian Fields street, meeting a small railroad line that runs to Lake Pontchartrain. At the head of Elysian Fields street, the Mississippi river is reached and a stop is made at the Southern Pacific depot. Continuing on up the river bank, the U. S. Mint is passed on the right. Two squares further the French Market is passed. On the right, Jackson Square, with the old Cathedral. Continuing still further, on the left, the landing place of the New York steamers is passed, then the Sugar Landing, the Cotton Landing, and after passing through a street of sheds, built for storing sugar, the train halts at the head of Canal street, the principal avenue of the city. Street cars in front of stations; fare 5 cents. Omnibuses and carriages meet all trains. (See hack 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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