Bayou St. John:
Flowing Through the Heart of the City
Above and below, Bayou St. John, 1905
Postcard, "Evening on Bayou St. John," 1903
Boats docked on Bayou St. John at
Spanish Fort Amusement Park;
photo taken between 1890-1915.
Boats on Bayou St. John docked
at Spanish Fort, 1934.
1915 postcard, "Spanish Fort and
Bayou St. John by Moonlight"
Bayou St. John lighthouse was erected in 1811 and deactivated in 1878.
Only two houses built in the 1700's remain along Bayou St. John
today.  The Pitot home, above, was constructed in 1799.  The one below,
sometimes referred to as the "Spanish Custom House," was built in 1784.
The well-traveled Civil War era submarine, on
the banks of Bayou St. John:  
In 1878, a dredge
crew working in Lake Pontchartrain, at the
mouth of Bayou St. John, recovered a Civil War
era submarine and placed it on the banks of the
Bayou. There it remained until 1895, when it was
put on display at Spanish Fort, then a
resort/amusement area.  Eventually, it was
removed and left abandoned and neglected, until,
in 1908, it was moved to Camp Nicholls
Confederate Home on Bayou St. John.  In 1942,
it was acquired by the Louisiana State Museum
and taken to Jackson Square.  A few years later,
it was moved across the street to the lower
Pontalba Building and, after that, in 1957, moved
to the Presbytere.  In 1999, it made its final
move (so far) to the Louisiana State Museum
French explorer, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, and his brother, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville,
first entered Bayou St. John from Lake Pontchartrain in 1699, and the rest, as they say, is history.  The
Mississippi River is closely identified with the story of the city's settlement, but there's no way to
exaggerate the importance of Bayou St. John, along with its portage trail, to the development of the
area.  The Bayou connected Lake Pontchartrain (and its access to the Gulf of Mexico) with the
Mississippi River.  Native Americans had used the waterway, which they called "Bayouk Choupic," since
pre-Columbian times.  In fact, Bienville chose the location of "Nouvelle Orleans" because of the site's
proximity to the Bayou, as well as, the sharp crescent in the River there, which he believed would help
protect the settlement from storms. The construction of dwellings at the site on the Mississippi River
began in 1718, but concessions had already been granted along Bayou St. John as early as 1708, and it
wasn't long before all of the land along the length of the Bayou held dwellings ranging from small huts
to substantial homes.  Today, Bayou St. John is a recreational waterway, much appreciated for its beauty
and its atmosphere, as it flows peacefully through the heart of the city.   
Modern day view of Bayou St. John; the
Superdome can be seen in the background.
Bayou St. John, New Orleans