• New Orleans Suburban Resorts

    In addition to Audubon, the City, the Athletic Park and the numerous pretty squares that stud the residence section of the city, and which are favorite haunts of the people at all seasons of the year, New Orleans is especially well supplied with open air resorts. In front is the river, the levee running along which is always a great promenade of an evening, particularly during the summer season, while the ferries that ply between the city proper and Algiers are thronged till far into the evening with fathers and mothers taking the children for an airing, or young folks enjoying the freshening breezes, the music that floats over the water and the glorious sunsets on the Mississippi. Back of the city are the lakeside resorts, West End, Spanish Fort and Milneburg, where the salt breezes blow, giving strength and vigor with every passing breath. And so it will be seen that this is another most charming feature of this delightful old city, the fresh water in front, the salt water in the rear; all combine, together with proximity to the gulf, to make New Orleans an ideal place during the summer season. While the thermometer is registering over 100 in the shade in Northern cities, here in New Orleans a pleasant temperature is maintained. We have always a delightful breeze on the warmest day, and we do not have to go very far to get to the lakeside, to enjoy a salt water bath or a pleasant boat sail.

  • The most popular of the lake resorts is

  • West End,

    so called from its position on Lake Pontchartrain. The lake itself is a body of brackish water, about twenty miles in diameter, being nearly round in shape, and at no place very deep. It affords yachtsmen a splendid opportunity for small yachts. The series of regattas which are held in the summer are among the pleasant features of life in New Orleans. Lake Pontchartrain communicates with Lakes Maurepas and Borgne, and, through the latter, with the Mississippi Sound.

  • West End is beautifully laid out. The large music plaza on the other side of the bridge is built on pilings over the water, and forms what is perhaps the largest work of the kind in existence. There is a splendid music stand, and during the summer months thousands congregate here to enjoy the music that is always furnished by the finest orchestra that can be obtained. The gardens are beautiful. The pretty winding paths and intricate puzzles are the delight of the younger folks. The most beautiful tropical flowers are always seen blooming luxuriantly in the open air. The crest of the levee beyond the plaza has been utilized for this garden, which terminates at the Parish line. The beautiful sward beyond extends into the Parish of Jefferson. The various restaurants at West End are famous for their excellent cuisine. West End is reached by means of the electric cars, which start from Canal and Carondelet Streets. The train runs out Canal Street to the Half-Way House, makes en abrupt turn and follows the course of the New Basin Canal to the resort.

GARDEN AT WEST END.

Another way is by carriage drive out Canal Street to the Half- Way House, and thence out along the beautiful Shell Road.

The New Basin Canal was built to enable schooners and other small craft to. reach the heart of the city. The canal, which is State property, terminates at the New Basin, alongside the Illinois Central Railroad Depot, on South Rampart and Howard Avenue. On the railroad side of the canal are the clubhouses of the St. John's Rowing Club and the West End Rowing Club, while, leading out from the plaza is a long wharf, at the end of which is the home of the Southern Yacht Club, under whose auspices many celebrated races have taken place.

Spanish Fort

is a small village with pleasure gardens, situated at the mouth of the Bayou St. John. The fort was erected by the Spaniards during the days of the Spanish domination in Louisiana, and was called by them "Fort St. John." It was armed and garrisoned as long as the Spaniards ruled in Louisiana, but after the cession of the colony to the United States the Americans found that the fort was too far inland to be of any great service, and it was abandoned. The ancient fortifications, built of small bricks, are fairly well preserved. The embrasures were filled up and the ramparts leveled to give space for seats when the place became a pleasure resort. Behind the fort are four cypress trees, standing near the gate leading into the gardens. Tradition says that these trees mark the grave of a young Spanish officer who was killed in a duel on this spot. It was at this fort that General Jackson first landed, when he hastened from the Indian War in Tennessee, in 1814, to take command in New Orleans. General Jackson came across Lake Pontchartrain in a schooner, and, riding from the Fort to Bayou Bridge, rested there before making his entry into the city the following day. During the Civil War the fort was again garrisoned; and the old guns still to be seen there, some of which date from colonial times, were mounted and used in two or three encounters which took place under these walls. The foundations of some of the old houses which formerly stood within the walls may still be seen. The old torpedo boat, which may be seen near the bayou* was fished up out of that stream a few years ago. The torpedo boat was an abortive experiment made during the Civil War in the line of submarine navigation. A fine restaurant which was built on one side of the fort was burned some years ago and has not been replaced. The resort is closed at 9 o'clock at night. It is reached by a train from a depot at the corner of Canal and North Basin Streets. On the right are the St. Louis Cemetery and the Basin, into which the Bayou St. John discharges. The bayou is navigable for schooners, and connects with Carondelet Canal, one of the waterways leading into the heart of the city. At Hagan Avenue the train passes one of the city's draining machines, by means of which rain waters are moved through canals and expedited in their course to Lake Pontchartrain. At Metairie Ridge the upper end of City Park is passed, affording an excellent view of the old duelling ground. Thence the road follows the course of the Orleans Drainage Canal to the Fort. The last of the lakeside resorts is the

Old Lake, or Milneburg.

It is reached by the Pontchartrain Railroad, which starts at the depot, corner of Elysian Fields and Chartres Streets.- The Old Lake was once the most fashionable of the lake resorts, and stood alone in its glory, for over half a century. The resort was exceedingly primitive at first, but was gradually built up. At the time that the Pontchartrain Railroad, which, as has already been noted, was the second railroad ever built in the United States, began its operations, all the freight cars on the railroads were unloaded just as wagons are; but the Superintendent of the Pontchartrain invented the simple platform, which may now be seen everywhere. The road runs in a straight line for four miles along what is the shortest distance between the river and the lake. Milneburg is a very old town. It is named in honor of Alexander Milne, a philanthropic Scotch citizen of New Orleans in the old days. It became a famous resort, and was noted for its splendid caterers, the most famous of whom, named Boudro, managed the celebrated restaurant in which a banquet was given to Thackeray while he was in New Orleans. The dining made a great impression upon Thackeray; he made allusion to it in one of his books, paying at the same time a famous tribute to New Orleans cookery. The restaurant remains, but the old caterer is dead, and the glory of Milneburg has departed, it having been superseded in popularity by West End, or the New Lake, as it is often called, in distinction from the old resort.

The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904