Built in 1925, 'Camp-A-Nellas' has also been known as the 'Lakecrest Cottage' and 'Saint John's Cottage'. It is one of 6 Hayne Boulevard camps to survive Hurricane Georges. Although the hurricane caused much damage, most of the original camp remains.
Of architectural interest is its board and batten construction (also known as 'Barge Board' construction). Both interior and exterior walls are composed of 1' x 14' cypress boards which extend throught the floors to the joists below. Walking under the camp one can see the boards attached to the joists. The survival of this camp through many storms is most likely due, not only to its height above the water line, but also to its barge board construction. After Georges most of the flooring in the camp was either gone or displaced. Had the camp been built with the more modern 2 x 4 construction the walls most likely would have been carried away with the floors they would have rested upon.
While repairing the camp after Hurricane Georges much care was taken to restore 'Camp-A-Nella' (as much as possible) to its original construction style--wood flooring and many of the original barge boards were salvaged from the rock levee where they had been carried during the storm.
Camp-A-Nellas has been owned by Vincent and Meredith Campanella since 1980.
September 1998-Immediately after Hurricane Georges.
View from the Lake. Notice 'Zanca's Old Glory' on the left. The Zanca camp was destroyed by Hurricane Georges (see below).
'Camp-A-Nellas' the day after the hurricane. The Zanca family stands in front of what used to be their camp.
Stories From Camp-A-Nella's
I am the teacher who initiated this website, not only because I love the camps but also because I know that generations of people from around our city hold in their hearts rich and culturally important memories of 'The Camps'. I don't want those memories lost forever just as surely as I don't want to see the end of 'The Camps'.
I believe that too much of what made New Orleans such a wonderful place to live is now gone and I know that many of you agree. One of the things (and there are too many to count) that makes New Orleans so unique and culturally rich is that we have the good sense to accept 'the new' (when it fits our needs) while we love and embrace 'the old'.
PLACES have always been important to us. I sometimes think that we're known for greeting friends with 'Where Y'at' instead of 'Hello' because 'Where we ARE' is so special. Each time we lose one of the old and cherished places--places we took for granted because they were always there before--we become less New Orleans and more 'Anywhere, USA'.
Vince Campanella, Mike Azzarello, Cathy Campanella, Meredith
Campanella, Shirley Krass, Meredith Azzarello, & Eddie Krass. Not pictured,
my dear friend, Julie Krass who shot this photo.
Some of my family stories can be found in the 'Top 10 Reasons a Kid would want to Go to a Camp' link. As I wrote this section memories came back to me that I thought I had forgotten and I realized that this was really a love letter to 'The Camps' where I had grown up, surrounded warmly by family and friends and the great Lake Pontchartrain. I intend to add more--I have many stories because my family has been 'Going to the Camp' for 5 generations.
I invite you to add your family stories.
In August of 1945 my uncle Jake Knower was finally coming home from the War. He had been captured by the Germans and spent two years in Stalag 17. When my family found out that Jake was on his way home, Mr. August (a family friend) offered his camp to us so that we could all gather together to celebrate Uncle Jake's homecoming. The camp was at Hayne Boulevard and Gannon Road.
During our week at the camp, my cousin Richard and I were out swimming in the lake when my grandmother, Augusta 'Gussie' Boesch Knower, started 'waving the towel'--which was her signal for us to come back inside the camp. We didn't want to go in and Richard said 'Turn around and pretend you don't see her' but she was waving pretty seriously so we went on into the camp. The adults were all hugging and kissing and Uncle Jake was especially happy because the news had just come over the radio that the War was over.
Richard and I spent the rest of the day running out to passing trains full of soldiers, yelling 'The War is Over! The War is Over!'
Meredith Knower Campanella