New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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The 1930s

Camps between Milneburg and Paris Road were not demolished by the land reclamation of the 1920s. Over 60 of these camps existed until Hurricane George destroyed them in 1998. However, the constuction of the Shushan/Lake Front Airport and Lincoln Beach resulted in the removal of many of these camps during the 1930s.
During the 1930's, 350 camps lined the shoreline from the Lakefront/Shushan Airport to Paris Road.
But hundreds of other camps, west of the airport to West End, had recently been destroyed.

The city was expanding, resulting in many changes and challenges to the lakefront camp area.

In 1930, Abraham Shushan (then president of the N.O. Levee Board) cancelled camp owners permits, giving them 30 days to vacate their camps--many of which were used as homes--to make way for the newly planned airport and the landfill project.
The camp owners formed the Lakeshore Protective Agency which fought a battle all the way the state Supreme Court which ruled in 1931 that the levee board could not begin additional lake work (landfill/seawall) until the airport was completed. The Hayne Blvd. camps were spared and the landfill project was never endetaken.

In 1932, the legendary 'Smoky Mary' (Pontchartrain Railroad/Railway) ceased its route to the lakeshore--no need for it anymore for their were no more camps, resorts, restaurants, dance halls, or amusement parks to visit on the West End, Spanish Fort, or Milneburg area shorelines. They had all been destroyed to make way for the seawall, Lakeshore Drive, and new subdivisions.

In 1934 the Shushan Airport was completed (now called Lakefront Airport) and in 1938 Hayne Boulevard was blacktopped, allowing easier access to the remaining camps. The Little Woods & Lakeshore Improvement Association presented fellow camp owner Mayor Maisti with a plaque, thanking him for the help he had given them in preserving the camps.

According to Helen Bourda, who had lived in camps since 1915, Gov. Huey P. Long visited her families camp/dance hall/pavillion during the 30's. 



Beginning of construction by WPA on the Lakefront Drive between Shushan Airport and Little Woods. Camps which had not been demolished due to this project can be viewed to the right of center