Around Lake Pontchartrain

Pre History
Pre History
1699 Exploration
1701 Fort St. John
1703 Trappers on the Bayou
1718 New Orleans is Founded
1732 Native Americans
1735 Native Americans
1759 Map of the Portage
1763 Spanish Rule
1768 Map of the Water Route
1770 Spanish Fort Postcards
1778 Hurricanes
1779 Spanish Rebuild the Fort
1780 Hurricane
1784 Custom House
1795 Carondelet Canal
1803 Madisonville
1808 U.S. Restores the Fort
1811 Bayou St. John Light
1803 Louisiana Purchase
1814 Madisonville
1815 Steamboat Travel Begins
1816 Bayou St. John a Port
1820's Concert Hall & Garden at Spanish Fort
1823 Spanish Fort on the Bayou
1828 Map
1837 Hurricane Destroys the Bayou St. John
1838 New Canal Light
1830 Pontchartrain Railroad
1868 Submarine Find
1868 receipts for the Jewess and Frances
1831 New Basin Canal
1832 Port Ponchartrain/Milneburg Light
1838 Port Ponchartrain Surveyer
1838 New Canal/West End Light
1839 Milneburg
1839 Milneburg
1839 Pontchartrain Railroad
1840 By 1840, New Orleans had become by far the wealthiest and was ranked as the third most populous
1849 Southern Yach Club
1849 Southern Yacht Club
1850 Louisville & Nashville Railroad
1850 West End, Lakeport, Bucktown
1852 Uncle Tom's Cabin
1858 Harper's Magazine
1859 Bruning's
1859 Corpheous
1860's Hurricanes
1861 Most citizens have access to the Lake
1861Bayou St. John's Port, Lake Port (West End), and Port Pontchartrain (Milneburg Port)
1863 Madisonville
1863 Woodcut Civil War engraving
1863 Civil War Military Map
1865 - Civil War Order
1866 - The Little Blue Train
1868 Map
1870 Milneburg Port declines but Jazz flourishes
1870 The Smoky Mary begins
1870 West End
1870 The Lake House is destroyed in a fire
1871 Land is reclaimed at West End
1873 - Plan plan for the redevelopment of the south shore
1873 Spanish Fort
1874 Mark Twain writes about Spanish Fort in Life on the Mississippi
1874 Mark Twain writes about West End in Life on the Mississippi
1875 Rowles Stereograph Photograph titled 'Protection levee Lake Pontchartrain'
1879 Illustration from The Nathanial Bishop book
1880 Smokey Mary
1880 - Alligators at Spanish Fort
1880 - Casino at Spanish Fort
1880 - Opera House at West End
1880 Fountain West End
1880 Hotel West End
1880 West End Pavillion
1880s - Water Polo at West End
1880s Bird's Eye View- New Basin Canal at West End
1880s Bridge over New Basin Canal at West End
1880s Pavilion at West End
1880s Spanish Fort at Bayou St. John
1883 Point-aux-Herbes
1884 - Concert Hall at Spanish Fort
1888 (Papa) Jack Laine forms his first brass band
1890 - 1920 Buddy Bolden's Band plays
1890 Ferdinand (Jelly Roll) Morton is born
1890's West End Garden Amusement Park
1890s - Spanish Fort Train
1890s Ferris Wheel at West End
1890s view of Bayou St. John
1890's Bucktown
Lake Pontchartrain at West End
1891 Painting-the Lake and Milneburg
1892 Map
1893 Woman Lighthouse keeper at Milneburg shelters storm victims
1894 - La Belle Zoraide by Kate Chopin
1895 Lumber Schooner, New Basin Canal
1896 - The first movie in New Orleans was shown at the Lake
1897 - A Night in Acadie by Kate Chopin
1897 - Athénaïse by Kate Chopin
1899 - The Goodness of St. Rocque by Alice Dunbar
1895 Cape Charles Car and Passenger Ferry
1900's Milneburg Walk
1910 Bayou St. John Sailor Girl
1919 Spanish Fort Ad
1929 Port Pontchartrain/Milneburg Light decommissioned
1940's Dig
1960s Kiddieland
August 2005
1. Bayou St. John
2. Milneburg/Pontchartain Beach
Military Installments
Shushan Airport
3. Hayne Blvd. and Beyond
Lincoln Beach
Chef Pass/Fort McComb
Fort Pike & The Rigolets
"Pointe Aux Herbes"
4. Northshore -- Fontainbleau, etc.
5. Western Shores -- Pass Manchac
The German Coast
6. Engineering Marvels -- Spillway
7. Bucktown
8. west end
General Area

Historic Landmark -- Metairie and Gentilly Ridges

"Sauvage matachez en Guerrier", pen and ink by Alexandre de Batz, New Orleans, 1732 (41-72-10/18). Courtesy of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University.

"Temple des Sauvages, Cabanne de Chef", pen and ink by Alexandre de Batz, New Orleans, 1732 (41-72-10/18). Courtesy of the Peabody Museum, Harvard University

Before the Europeans changed its name, Native American had called it Bayouk Choupic for the mudfish which lined its edges.

Drawing by Alexandre de Batz called Savages of Several Nations 1735 Creator Batz, Alexandre de Subject Art
Batz, Alexandre de
Indigenous peoples
Indian encampments
Description B&W print. Drawing by Alexandre de Batz called "Savages of Several Nations 1735" or "Desseins de Sauvages de Plusieurs nations, N. Orleans, 1735." Some of the readable words on the picture include: Chef, Illinois, Sauvagesse, Atakapas Notes Date unknown. Not clear if the 1735 date means that the picture was created in 1735 or if it depicts a scene from 1735 or both. Type image Format jpeg Identifier see 'reference url' on the navigation bars Source State Library of Louisiana ( Language en Relation Coverage-Spatial New Orleans (La.) Rights Physical rights are retained by the State Library of Louisiana. Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Object File Name hp001174 Full resolution Volume11\hp001174.tif

Illinois with bow From the Louisiana State Museum


  Illinois man holding bow and arrow, New Orleans, 1735 (colored pen and ink by Alexandre de Batz, 1735)

Drawing of several Indian nations at New Orleans, 1735

Drawing of Indians of several nations, New Orleans. (colored pen and ink by Alexandre de Batz, 1735)

The word bayou comes from bayuk, the Chocktaw word for "minor streams".


Histoire de la Louisiane, 3 vols.
Antoine Le Page du Pratz

At the time of the Louisiana Purchase, approximately 5,000 American Indians inhabited the Orleans Territory, soon to become the state of Louisiana. These Houmas, Tunicas, Chitimachas, Attakapas, Opelousas, Biloxis, Apalaches, Alabamas, Coushattas, Pascagoulas, Choctaws, and Caddos had already tragically declined in population since early European contact. But by the middle of the nineteenth century they diminished even further to fewer than 1,500, largely because the Caddo nation and a sizable number of Choctaws were relocated outside the state’s boundaries. By 1910 only about 800 Indians were counted in Louisiana. Undoubtedly undercounted by census takers, the Indian population of Louisiana then consisted mainly of Houmas in Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes, Alabamas and Coushattas in the parish of Calcasieu, the Tunica-Biloxis in Avoyelles and Rapides Parishes, Chitimachas in St. Mary, St. Martin, and St. Landry Parishes, and several Choctaw communities in the parishes of St. Tammany, East Baton Rouge, Rapides, La Salle, and Sabine.



Bayougoula, Mougoulacha, Chitimacha, Oumas, Tangipahoa, Colapissa, and Quinipissalive) lived in the area we now know as the Lake Pontchartrain Basin centuries before others arrived.
The Choctaw Tribe named what we now call Lake Pontchartrain, "Okwa-ta" meaning 'Wide Water".  Some time between March 26th and March 30th, 1699,  French explorer Pierre LeMoyne Sieur d'Iberville entered what his men had named the d'Iberville River (later renamed Bayou Manchac) and proceeded to what d'Iberville named 'Lake Maurapas'  eventually entering the huge lake which d'Iberville named 'Lake Pontchartrain' after the then current French Minister of Marine.
Bayou St. John was named Bayouk Choupic (for the "mud fish" which dwelled along its shores) by Native Americans of the Houma (who viewed the crawfish as a sign of bravery), Bayougoula, and Tangipahoa (also known as "Corn Gatherers" or "Corn Cob People") tribes who preceded all other cultures for centuries.  The bayou was used for transportation and trade.  They discovered that by using this tributary and a natural high ground path (now Bayou Road), they could travel to the Mississippi River.  
When the French arrived, they sought a shorter route to the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico. It was the Biloxi tribe who showed them the route the bayou. Travelling from Biloxi, Mississippi on the gulf they proceeded to Lake Borgne, then Lake Catherine, the Rigolets Pass, Lake Pontchartrain, Bayou St. John, down the road, and to the Mississippi River.
The French built a fort (Fort St. Jean) on the bayou and renamed the waterway Bayou St. Jean. They settled their town (New Orleans) on the crescent of the river at what is now the French Quarter.  New Orleans became an important port city due to the benevolence of Native Americans who shared their knowledge.  It is arguable that New Orleans' very existence is the result of the same.
It was not long before enslaved Africans arrived.  In 1763, the Spanish government took control of the New Orleans area and built their fort on the bayou, calling it Fort St. John (later known as "Spanish Fort").
What follows is a pictorial history of Lake Pontchartrain from 1759 to 2005.

1770 Spanish Fort is Established


1863  Woodcut Civil War engraving

1850s West End & Lakeport development begins

The Lake