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Reconstruction Period Research Forum

No Room at the End of the Bridge

I know many have heard the 'news' that evacuees were turned back when trying to leave New Orleans via the Mississippi River Bridge (excuse me, the New Orleans Connection). Included is a link to the news stories about those incidents.

I'm sure Gretna will go down in history for the acts of its 'authorities' during a National Tragedy.

Background:
1. Orleans Parish (city of New Orleans) is land locked, bounded mainly by Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes, and lots of water (lakes, canals, the Mississippi River).

2. Jefferson Parish reaches from Lake Ponchatrain on the north, to the Gulf of Mexico with Grand Isle. It is situated on BOTH sides of the Mississippi River. (East and West Banks)

Communities:
Grand Isle (Oil and Gas)

Some East Bank Communities:
Metairie, Kenner, and the New Orleans Armstrong Airport.

Some West Bank Communities:
Westwego (built on land donated to survivors of the Cheniere Caminada hurricane of 1893)

Kenner (Former home to the Kenner Family plantation owners.)

Harahan (Once home to a Southern University Agricultural Farm.)
And Gretna.

Gretna is the parish seat and, perhaps, the largest community - being incorporated in the early 20th century across the river from New Orleans.

It had its start with mostly German immigrants who, with the Irish and Italians, moved to areas on the West Bank, partially to escape the overcrowding and lack of available/affordable land in the city across the River. By the mid 20th century, many 'white flighters' had settled in Gretna and other areas outside of the city, having to travel across the bridge into New Orleans for work.

Memories:
As most families living 'close to' the city, we made our periodic journeys into New Orleans to visit family, friends and Canal Street. In those days, there weren't many small town shops that had an 'open door' policy! We also went into the city for recreation - visiting the parks, zoo and Lake Ponchatrain.
At one time, there were TWO beach front parks on Lake Ponchatrain, with amusement rides. Ponchatrain Beach (white only) and Lincoln Park. They had closed by the time I made my way to New Orleans for my first year of high school.

I attended a High School in Gretna, a predominately 'white' middle class community [at that time]. I commuted across the [then] Mississippi River Bridge. Sometimes, I used the Canal Street ferry, my favorite. Other times, I crossed the Mississipi via the uptown Jackson Street ferry and connected to bus routes going near my school.

My most vivid memory of Gretna was its lack of 'color'. But then, I was only in my early teens and did not venture outside of the relative safety of the campus area.

--------------------------------

Resources:
¹ Encyclopedia Louisiana™. 18 Sep. 2005 [enlou.com].

Messages In This Thread

No Room at the End of the Bridge
History repeats ?
Re: No Room at the End of the Bridge
Re: No Room at the End of the Bridge

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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