|For those not familiar with the area, the image above shows the Metro area of New Orleans on the
south shore of the lake at the bottom of the picture; the Causeway stretches across the middle
of the lake; and just a smidgeon of the town of Mandeville on the north shore can be seen. To
the right of the image, the Lake Pontchartrain Twin Spans cross the "neck" of the lake, from
eastern New Orleans on the south shore to Slidell, in St. Tammany Parish, on the north
shore. The Mississippi River snakes its way through the heart of Metro New Orleans.
| The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the longest highway bridge over water in the world at
just under 24 miles, links Metro-New Orleans on the south shore of the lake (from Metairie in
Jefferson Parish) with the town of Mandeville in St. Tammany Parish, on the north shore. The
first span of the Causeway opened in 1956 and it was considered a remarkable feat of
engineering at the time. During construction, pieces of the bridge were loaded on barges
and towed to the spaces they were needed on the lake. The bridges are supported by 9,500
pilings, over 50 inches in diameter. They were the largest pilings ever driven at the time of
the first bridge's construction.
A second span was added in 1969, to make traffic on each span one way, making the
Causeway much safer. Depending on the source, between 30,000-40,000 cars use the
Causeway daily--most are commuters from homes on the north shore driving to Metro-
New Orleans jobs.
Lake Pontchartrain is the largest inland estuary in the United States, comprised of over 600
square miles. It was named for France's Minister of Finance, who served under King Louis
XIV, for whom Louisiana was named.
|The opening of the Causeway in 1956. That's the water tower that's on what is now
Veterans and Causeway Boulevards visible at the top of the photo. Metairie, a suburb
of New Orleans, has changed considerably since this photo was taken. (See photo
below.) Many thanks to Robert Gonzalez for sharing this photo.
|An ad from the 1950's.
|A current photo of the entrance to the Causeway in Metairie. No more quiet country living
in Jefferson Parish - and very little quiet country living on the northshore anymore either.
|The Causeway under construction, 1956.
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|The current-day Causeway bridges stretch into the horizon. Midway, neither shore
can be seen. In inclement weather, cars are led across the spans in convoys.