New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, July 15, 2024
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The 1800s









The first camps were built during the early 1800's. Many were privately owned and sometimes rented out for parties and dances. Others served as public bath houses, pavilions, road houses, and/or restaurants.
The city of Milneburg, developed by Alexander Milne during the 1830's, near Elysian Fields and the lake created new interest in the lake shore area. Beginning in 1832 the Pontchartrain Railway (Smoky Mary) brought the city folks to the lake to enjoy the camps and resorts.

Spanish Fort, then at the lake and Bayou St. John (before the landfill projects of the 1920's and 30's), was another popular camp/amusement/resort area.

West End, still vibrant today, was the home of the Southern Yacht Club, the New Canal Lighthouse, and a host of hotels, resorts, restaurants, amusment parks, and camps.

All that is left, from this 200 year old history, is the Milneburg Lighthouse, The New Canal Light, The Southern Yacht Club, and handful of restaurants at West End (including the historic 137 year old remains of Brunings), and 6 camps.
The lighthouses have been declared Historic Landmarks. It would seem that Brunings and the camps also deserves this recognition.


We believe that the camps should be designated as Historic Landmarks--as places which have and should continue to nurture our unique culture & history, as places where Jazz was born & bred, as representative of New Orleans architectural style, and as places to be enjoyed by future generations of New Orleanians.

If you have any information (photos, documents, newspaper clippings, etc.) about the history of the New Orleans Lake Pontchartrain camps please contact: