• From New Orleans to Mobile

    "ACROSS THE LAKE"

    SHORT SKETCHES OF THE GULF COAST

    SUMMER RESORTS

    Studding the beautiful stretch of Gulf coast that spans the distance from New Orleans to Mobile lie pretty villages, whose many attractions in the way of fishing, boating and bathing have made them favorite resorts among New Orleans people for over a century. Not only do the elite of the city have their summer residences along this pleasant line, but even the poorest seek to spend a day or two, at least, during the summer season, at some one of the gulf resorts. From May to September, especially, these towns are overflowing with the best people of New Orleans, they are the scene of constant gayety. There are yacht races and regattas, and fishing and hunting and boating parties, the yacht races held at Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian and Biloxi enlisting general interest. The salt bathing is delightful, the drives along the beach of surpassing beauty. In front one sees the ever-changing glory of the white-crested sea; in the rear, magnificent belts of pine lands, that give life and health with every resinous breath.

  • The salubrious climate and balmy winters of these resorts have of late years attracted many Northern visitors and invalids, who spend the winter there. They are finding out that New Orleans itself not only offers peculiar advantages and inducements, both a? a winter and summer resort, but at our very doors are the health-giving land of the pine, and white beaches of the Mexican Gulf, famous hunting-grounds and bits of virgin forests, whose beauty and picturesqueness are unlike those of any other section of the Continent.

  • And so the old city has become the point of departure for many wonderlands, not the least pleasant of which are the pretty resorts

  • "Across the Lake,"

    as the coastline that intervenes between New Orleans and its old French sister. Mobile, was charmingly designated by the old Creole settlers. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad is the only one which reaches these resorts. The passenger station is located at the foot of Canal Street, less than 500 feet from the river. There are usually two morning and two evening trains. During the summer months cheap excursions are a feature, and are patronized by enormous crowds.

  • The run to Mobile is made in about four hours. By taking a morning train the visitor will have ample opportunity to study the scenery around New Orleans. Following the line of the Pontchartrain for a little distance, the train carries the tourist through the

  • "Prairie Tremblante,"

    or Trembling Prairie. This is a swampy expanse lying within the municipal boundaries of the city.

  • It is inhabited by squatters, who eke out an existence by hunting, trapping and fishing. They are mostly of the Austrian, Chinese and Malay races, and live a life peculiar to their clan.

  • Near this prairie, in a spot remote from the railroad, is a large colony of Manilamen. probably the only one in the United ^States. Quaint negro cabins dot the entire line of the railroad, and every now and then is seen a pretty bit of garden greenery, showing the home of some white resident. At Micheaud and Lee Station small settlements hare grown up, but they are still unimportant.

  • Chef Menteur

    U the first noteworthy stopping-place after leaving New Orleans. Chef Menteur signifies "Lying Chief." The French were deceived by the Chief of a tribe of Indians living here. They perpetuated his infamy by bestowing the name "Chef Menteur" upon the place and bayou. The bayou connects Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain, and is a famous place for fishing. Most of the buildings at Chef Menteur are fishing clubs, the members of which reside in New Orleans, but make constant excursions thither to pursue the gentle sport of Sir Izaak Walton. Chef Menteur is 19.4 miles from New Orleans.

  • Lake Catherine, six miles further, is another settlement of fishing clubs and fishermen. The train pauses here a moment, and then speeds on to the

  • Rigolets,

    a thriving little town, with miniature dockyards and several residences of proportion. The Rigolets is a deep channel which connects Lake Borgne and Lake Pontchartrain. Through the car window is seen an apparently illimitable stretch of marshy meadow, and in the distance white sails flash in the sunshine, as though some boat were sailing over dry land. But in reality the boat is pursuing its course silently through one of the many tortuous, narrow, yet deep, waterways which intersect the marshy ground in all directions, and the very existence of which can scarcely be noticed except when almost directly upon the banks. This series of natural canals crossing and recrossing in all directions afford many excellent channels for schooners, luggers and other small craft. The Rigolets mark the boundary line along the coast between Louisiana and Mississippi. The distance from New Orleans to the Rigolets is 30.3 miles. Between the Rigolets and the next point of interest

  • English Lookout

    is a spreading live oak, which is famous as the last tree in Louisiana. English Lookout is so called because in 1814 a post was established here by the Americans to watch the movements of the English fleet moving up the Mississippi Sound on the way to attack New Orleans. Here the train crosses the Mississippi line. Lookout is thirty-six miles from New Orleans. It is also famous as the place where Pearl River, which forms the eastern boundary of Louisiana, empties into the lake. The trip up Pearl River is very picturesque. A small steamer plies between Lookout, Gainesville, Columbia, Logtown and Pearling- - ten, the latter being the site of extensive saw mills. Pearl River rims through a section famous for its splendid timber lands. A trip along Pearl River will repay the fisherman.

  • Gulf View,

    which is the first important stop along the Mississippi Sound, has only recently sprung into existence. Some very handsome hunting and fishing clubs and lodges, owned by private citizens in New Orleans, dot the route. The name "Gulf View" was given to the settlement because it is near this point that the tourist catches the first glimpse of the blue waters of the Mississippi Sound stretching away to the right, as the train speeds on through the dense growth of pine forests.

  • From Gulf View to the beautiful town of

  • "Waveland"

    is comparatively a short distance. Waveland is forty-eight miles from New Orleans. It lies on the banks of the lovely bay that Bienville named for the patron saint of his loyal master, St. Louis. It is just two miles from Bay St. Louis proper, and, indeed, may be said to be the new Bay St. Louis, or a continuation of the old Creole watering place. But Waveland is a distinct town. It is incorporated under the laws of Mississippi, and has its own Mayor. It is populated almost entirely by wealthy people, many of whom have their home in New Orleans and maintain beautiful summer residences here. Among the handsome residences, which are distinctly Southern in architecture, and, therefore, quite different from summer residences in Northern resorts, is the summer home of the late proprietors of the Picayune, Mr. and Mrs. George Nicholson, and now the residence of their sons. The train makes a short stop one mile further, at Nicholson Avenue, and in a few moments

  • Bay St. Louis

    is reached. A settlement was founded by the French at Bay St. Louis shortly after the establishment of the French colony at Biloxi. A similar settlement was also made at Pascagoula. In 1727 Governor Perier made a tour of these settlements, reporting upon their condition to the French Government. The real history of the "Bay," as it is commonly called, began in 1820, when General Shields, the United States Lighthouse Inspector, built two houses at the lower end. One if these original houses still stands, near the Crescent Hotel. The Government considered the site so healthful that for several years it quartered troops there in a barracks, which stood on the beach, between the. sites now occupied by the Crescent Hotel and St. Stanislaus College. For a while the place was called Shieldsboro, but the designation was altered years ago. Bay St. Louis is 51.9 miles from New Orleans. It is situated on a high peninsula, comprising some 20,000 acres. The population is about 3,000. Towards the lower end are the homes of many of the ancient Creole families «>f ante-bellum days. Along the drive towards Waveland, skirting the beautiful beach, are many new and charming homes of a more modern character. In the old town, which was the most aristocratic of the gulf coast watering places before the war, and which still holds its own, stands the Church of Our Lady of the Gulf, erected in 1872 at a cost of $30,000. St. Joseph's Convent, established in 1854, and St. Stanislaus College are interesting educational institutions. The quaint old graveyard is well worth a visit. All along the beach are magnificent live oaks that have defied the ravages of time and tide.

  • Bay St. Louis has several very good hotels and a number of charming private boarding-houses.

  • Leaving the town, the train crosses immediately the broad and beautiful expanse of Bay St. Louis. The track is carried on a trestle-work, much of which 4s encased or sheathed in huge earthenware pipes to protect it from the teredo worm. The scene in crossing the waters is very picturesque. The beautiful tomes nestling amid the trees along the pebbly beach, the fishing smacks and sailing boats, with their white sails flying in the breeze, often as not the glimpse of some^. Italian fisherman singing a gay bacarole or dreamy opera as he throws this net, are pictures that come floating over the waters with every dancing ray of sunlight reflected in the white-crested waves. Just over the way is the beautiful Pass, and nestling on its banks, like a white-robed Queen, is the fair town of

  • Pass Christian.

    It is also situated on a peninsula, and extends along the coast for nearly six miles. On the north are Bayou Portage and Bayou D'Or. The latter has been so named on account of the golden brilliancy of the foliage along the banks in autumn. Bayou Portage follows a devious course, at one point approaching within a mile of the sea. The Indians knew this fact, and in the old days used to save, a journey of nearly twenty miles by hauling their canoes across the marrow neck of land. The town is named in honor of a Swedish sailor named Christian, who discovered the pass, which leads from the Gulf of Mexico into the Mississippi Sound, near Cat Island. Pass Christian is fifty-seven miles from New Orleans. It has a population of about 2,000. The magnificent trees are the admiration of tourists. The Pass has several fine hotels, and is a very popular resort with Northern visitors.

  • From the train window a good view is had of

  • Cat Island,

    which, with Ship Island and Chandeleur Island, was the first land that Iberville and Bienville discovered before entering the Mississippi River. The name '"Cat Island," then bestowed, has been retained to this day. Its origin is peculiar. When the French first landed there they found large numbers of a strange looking animal that somewhat resembled a fox, but was more like a cat. Not mowing what it was, one of the exploring party exclaimed: "Why, this must e kingdom of cats." At once the name "Cat Island" was given to the place, The animal is now known as the raccoon. Cat Island is about eight miles long, and practically arid. It lies about ten miles out from Pass Christian.

About ten miles beyond Pass Christian lies the progressive city of

Gulf port,

the latest of the beautiful Gulf coast resorts, but one which has substantiated the proud 1 toast of having grown more rapidly than any other Southern city.

The marvelous growth of Gulfport has been practically within the last three or four years. Twelve years ago there was only one house on its shores. To-day the town boasts of a population of 4,500 inhabitants; it is regularly and beautifully laid out, with wide well-paved streets; it has its own water-work system, its own electric light plant, many large and handsome residences, and the most magnificent hotel on the seacoast. Its wonderful growth is due to the public spirit and enterprise of Capt. T. J. Jones, who believed in the possibilities of establishing a splendid sea-port, right on the Mississippi Sound, connecting the ocean traffic directly with the great west, with sturdy determination set about making his dream a reality, a few years ago. He built the Gulf and Ship Island Railroad, connecting Gulfport with the Illinois Central Railroad at Jackson, Miss. He caused a harbor to be dredged on the west side of his new town, having a depth of 30 feet of water at the wharf. He dug a channel from the harbor to Ship Island, a distance of twelve miles out in the Gulf, thus practically connecting the coast with the ocean. Steamships and sailing vessels, drawing 22 feet of water, now come directly to the wharves at Gulfport. An immense lumber traffic has been established, and timber is being shipped to all parts of the world. Capt. Jones built the Great Southern Hotel, containing about 400 rooms and magnificently equipped in every way. It is one of the largest hotels in the South, the largest on the Gulf coast, and the equal of the famous Florida East Coast Hotel in system. The electric cars run a mile along the wharf leading to an immense pavilion, and to the beautiful Yacht Club House which is modern and complete in every detail. The city, of Biloxi intends building an electric car line to Gulfport, and Gulfport has secured the franchise to build a similar line to Pass Christian, thus connecting those celebrated seacoast resorts by easy and rapid transit. Capt. Jones has a magnificent five-story office building. Business activities are continually on the alert, and tourists come from all sections, not only to enjoy the delightful sea breezes and the advantages offered by sojourn in this popular resort, but also to study the growth of the place and its great possibilities for the future.

Just beyond Cat Island, and visible from the Biloxi beach, is

Ship Island,

one of the most imposing landmarks in the history of Louisiana, whether a Colony, Territory or State. It is one of the four low islands (Cat. Chandeleur and Round that, stretching ten or twelve miles along the gulf coast, form the Mississippi Sound. Ship Island is only seven miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide. It belongs to the State of Mississippi, but is, in fact, ten miles distant from the nearest point of that State. Ship Island was discovered in 1690 by Bienville. In 1814 it served as a rendezvous for the British fleet that was advancing against New Orleans. It was to its white sands and quiet harbor that they retreated for refuge after the disastrous results of the battle on the plains of Chalmette. In the Civil War it was for a while a safe and convenient place of organization. The history of the island as a place of banishment for those who had incurred the displeasure of General Butler during his occupancy of New Orleans has made its name inseparably connected with the later history of the city. The white beach of the island glistening in the sun forms a convenient landmark for mariners.

The train makes' a short stop at Long Beach, about six miles from the Pass. It is a recent thriving settlement and rapidly becoming known as A resort. Long Beach boasts of a good hotel. A few minutes run brings the tourist to

Mississippi City,

which is a very prosperous town and the County seat of Harrison County. As far back as 1830 a great city was projected here, and elaborate plans were made for its establishment. A great harbor was planned, and the older of the two present good hotels was erected soon after. But the extensive scheme required the aid of the United States Government to materialize. This aid was not forthcoming, and the project languished. Mississippi City has a population of about 1,200. Its hotels are considered very excellent. It is 70.4 miles from New Orleans.

Beauvoir,

the old home of Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy, is a little over four miles' drive from Mississippi City. Carriages may be taken to this historic place of interest at Mississippi City. Mr. Davis and family lived at Beauvoir during the last years of his life. He died in New Orleans. The old mansion has recently been purchased by the Sons of Confederate Veterans of Mississippi as a home for impoverished Confederate veterans.

The Seashore Campgrounds,

which is quite a large settlement, lies between Mississippi City and Biloxi. The grounds are the property of the New Orleans, the Mobile and the Seashore.

District Conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. Every summer two weeks of religious revivals are held here. The revivals attract visitors from all parts of the far South. The grounds are occupied by wooden buildings called "tents," where many people go to spend the summer. Many prominent Methodists have their special 'tents," or summer houses, here. The bathing at this point is unsurpassed.

Very near the Campgrounds lies the town of

Biloxi,

The town was founded by Bienville in 1718. Though the first settlement by the French was made over the bay in the old town of Biloxi, now known as Ocean Springs, this point stands for the first permanent settlement in Louisiana, all Mississippi and the surrounding country having formed a part of the Louisiana Province. In the year mentioned the capital of the entire Province was transferred to this point. Prior to this date a warehouse and a few other buildings had been erected on the site, which was known to the French as Deer Island. Bienville took up his quarters in the old warehouse. In 1723 the capital was transferred to New Orleans. Nothing of interest marked the history of the Biloxi settlement until 1760, when for a brief space of time it was included in the British possessions, the transfer having been effected by treaty between the European Powers. It became a Spanish town by conquest in 1780. After the cession of Louisiana to the United States, Spain contended that the Districts of Feliciana, East Baton Rouge, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Biloxi and Pascagoula were a part of West Florida, and had not been sold with Louisiana. President Madison held that the District of West Florida belonged, by the treaty of 1803, to the United States, and was a part of the Territory of Orleans.

In 1810 the inhabitants of Bayou Sara, which was a part of the West Florida contention, revolted and declared themselves independent of Spain. The Bayou Sarans attacked the Spanish fort at Baton Rouge and captured it, and asked to be annexed to the United States. President Madison told them quietly that the District of Florida already belonged to the United States, and directed Governor Claiborne to take possession of the district. Claiborne marched at the head of his militiamen to St. Francisville and took possession of the entire district in the name of the United States. The people cheerfully submitted to his authority. Subsequently Biloxi and Pascagoula became part of the State of Mississippi. Biloxi is a great resort for New Orleans people. It is seventy-nine miles from New Orleans. It has a population of 4,500. The town is lighted by electricity, possesses large canning and lumber interests and is supplied with abundant artesian well water. The bathing is delightful, the boating and fishing unexcelled. Its hotels, clubs, residences and churches are numerous and handsome.

A long trestle reaches from Biloxi to

Ocean Springs,

the oldest town in all the area of what was known to the French of old Louisiana. This is the settlement founded by Iberville in 1699. He found on this spot an old Indian village called Biloxi, and he located his settlement hero, retaining the name, which sprang from the tribe of Biloxians who inhabited the section. For twenty years this place was the capital of the province. Sauvolle the brother of Iberville, and the first Governor of Louisiana, was killed here by the Indians. The late historian, Gayarre, identified his tomb on the site of the old French fort. When Bienville founded the new town of Biloxi on the other side of the bay, this point became known as Old Biloxi. It retained this name for over a hundred and fifty years. The modern town sprang up about 1854, when several prominent New Orleans gentlemen purchased large properties there, and sought to bring its merits as a watering place into notice. The name "Ocean Springs" was given to the old town, the name being taken from several springs thought to have curative properties which are located on the estate of the late William B. Schmidt, who was one of the leading citizens of New Orleans. The town is very pretty and picturesque. There are some very beautiful homes and several fine hotels. The oldest hotel was established in 1835. The population of Ocean Springs is about 1,400. The town is eighty-three miles, from New Orleans.

Scranton

Is the only other stopping-place that the train makes before crossing into the State of Alabama. The place is really a part of the old town of Pascagoula, which comprised Pascagoula proper, as the old French settlement along the seacoast is called, Scranton, the county seat, and Moss Point, a pretty little town on Dog River, about four miles from Scranton.

Scranton was named in honor of a former official of the railroad which brought the town into existence about thirty years ago. The population is about 2,000. The town possesses many saw mills and ship yards; an admirable harbor afforded by the Pascagoula River has brought the place considerable foreign commerce. Scranton is ninety-nine miles from New Orleans. A mile drive from Scranton to the seashore brings the visitor to the ancient town of

Pascagoula.

The drive leads through wild and picturesque scenery that is very romantic. Pascagoula is an old Indian village, deriving its name from the famous tribe that inhabited this section. Indian mounds of considerable extent, it is said, are still to be seen in the vicinity. Soon after Iberville settled at Old Biloxi or Ocean Springs, the colonists established a branch station here. This was the beginning of the present town. When Louisiana was ceded to Spain all Pascagoula was granted by the King of Spain to Colonel Krebs, a distinguished officer in the Spanish army, in recognition of important services. Here he settled, and along the banks of the bay and river his descendents have lived from generation to generation. When the depredations of the Indians necessitated the settlers banding together for their protection, Colonel Krebs built a strong fort, the walls of which were twelve feet thick, just at the junction of the Pascagoula River and Bay. Years afterwards his descendants built a "beautiful home on the spot, retaining the old historic fort as a part of the residence. A magnificent avenue of live oaks leads up to this old home, which is a point of interest to all visitors.

Hard by the ancient fortress home is heard the famous "mysterious music," which comes up from the mouth of the river. No explanation of this weird melody has ever been adduced, but it is a positive fact that at certain hours strange singing notes emanate from the water. Many strange legends are, of course, connected with it, one of which is that the sounds are the wails of an Indian girl moaning for her lover, who was drowned at this point; she sprang in after him, and, failing to save his life, has never ceased to bemoan his fate. Another is that in a feud that arose between the Biloxi and Pascagoula Indians the former surprised the latter one dark and stormy night. Rather than fall into the hands of the hated enemy the entire tribe, men, women and children, sprang into the waters with the warwhoop still lingering on their lips, and this is the weird echo which from that day to this haunts the spot.

Crossing the Alabama line, the train stops at Grand Bay and St. Elmo, both thriving little towns, located, respectively, 115 and 120.8 miles from New Orleans.

Mobile,

is reached in an hour. This important Southern city, the older French' sister of New Orleans, is 140.5 miles distant from the great metropolis. Mobile was founded by Bienville in 1702, when he built a fort and established a colony near the site of the present city. It derives its name from the tribe of Mobile Indians that inhabited the section. In 1785 Galvez took the first census, and found that it had a population of 746. The number steadily increased, and in 1788 there were 1330 inhabitants. After this period the importance of the place diminished, and in 1803 there were only 803 inhabitants. In 1813 it was surrendered to the Americans by Gayetaud Perez; the population had still further declined to 500. In 1814. Mobile was incorporated as a town, and in 1819 as a city. The rise of the city was remarkable after that. It grew in strength and importance, and became a leading Southern port. Its commerce was very great. The population at present is about 50,000. In 1864 the Federal fleet, under Admiral Farragut, fought a celebrated battle in the bay against the Confederate fleet, under Admiral Buchanan. In March and April, 1865, the city was besieged by the Federals, under General E. S. Canby, and, after a desperate defense by the Confederates, led by General D. H. Maury, was compelled to surrender. Mobile contains many interesting buildings and fine churches and hotels. Nearby is Springhill, with its famous old college. The city has a tine harbor and a constantly increasing commerce, especially with Cuba and Central America.

The Picayune's Guide to New Orleans, 1904

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