New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Monday, October 21, 2019
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Bali Hai' at the Beach


Photo Source: http://www.wyes.org/pages/lost_restaurants.htm#top
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Remember the Polynesian restaurant, Bali Ha'i, at the main entrance to Pontchartrain Beach? Does anyone recall if the food was at all appetizing? My memory wants to tell me that there were several tasty dishes on the menu, but my memory "ain't what it used to be"! The atmosphere was great and at certain times you were brought from the parking lot to the Bali Ha'i entrance in a jeep decorated with palm fronds and tropical flowers.

Errol Laborde told me once that he and Peggy Scott Laborde had their wedding reception at Bali Ha'i.
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I always wanted to go to the Bali H'ai, but my parents wouldn't take me, saying I was too young. I never did get there, so in my mind it is the most glamorous and exotic restaurant ever to grace New Orleans, with a menu full of delicious tropical drinks and tasty island tidbits. No reality could have lived up to what I imagined going on in there. I did find a Bali H'ai "tiki glass" in a French Quarter junque shoppe a few years ago, and promptly snatched it up as a memento of my feverish childhood fantasies.
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I remember that the Bali Ha'i was a special place to go on a date . Prom kids went there, people went there to propose, for anniversaries, birthdays. I recall we dressed to go to the Bali Ha'i, at least wearing a jacket if not a tie. They served all of the exotic drinks with names like "fog cutter", "typhoon" and, of course the "tiki bowl" with all the straws to accomodate everyone at the table. Dang if I can remember even one thing that was on the menu! Anyone got a Bali Ha'i menu out there? Maybe I didn't eat? Maybe I just sipped on that Tiki Bowl all night?
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In 1959 "THE BEACH BEACH-COMER" AT PONTCHARTRAIN BEACH was the restaurant. THE "BEACH-COMER EXISTED FOR ONLY ONE YEAR (I'M TOLD) BEFORE BEING RE-NAMED "THE BALI-HAI.