Last weekend my little sister, Tallulah Bee, and I joined our humans for a beautiful walk along the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront. (Yes, I know that Tallulah is slightly out of focus in this photo. But I look really good and this blog is still all about me . . . so there.) Lake Pontchartrain isn’t really a lake. It’s an estuary, connected to the Gulf of Mexico through a series of outlets. It has brackish water–part fresh and part salt–because it is fed by several freshwater rivers. It even experiences slight tidal changes. Have I dazzled you with my knowledge? I’m just getting started.
Lake Pontchartrain is a big lake–about 630 square miles–but it’s pretty shallow–only about 12 to 14 feet deep in most places. It’s crossed by a really, really, really long bridge called the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which connects what’s known as the South Shore (where we live) to the New Orleans suburbs on the North Shore. The Causeway is 23.83 miles long, making it the longest continuous bridge over water. And speaking of water, the water in Lake Pontchartrain has faced its share of environmental challenges in the past, but thanks to the efforts of the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation the water quality is improving and swimming is allowed in some locations. Tallulah seemed pretty interested in that swimming option, but my humans managed to hold her back. Good thing, because it was windy and chilly and I would not have been happy about jumping in to retrieve her.
One of the prettiest spots along the lakefront is the Mardi Gras Fountain. Dedicated in 1962, the fountain is surrounded by ceramic tile plaques depicting the crests of New Orleans carnival krewes, the groups that parade during our Mardi Gras season. The fountain was damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005; but, with the help of $1.3 million from FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers, it was refurbished in 2013. Unfortunately, it wasn’t working the day we were there (I have no idea why), but you can click here to watch a beautiful video of the Mardi Gras Fountain in all its splendor.
Even if the fountain had been working, I’m not so sure that I could have completely enjoyed it because of a certain little irritating distraction.
Could someone please do something about that pesky stick-shredding puppy so we can continue with our lakefront tour? Thank you.
Our last stop along the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront offered a lovely view of two buildings that have risen from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The building with the red roof is the New Canal Lighthouse, Louisiana’s only working lighthouse. Dating back to 1838, it was rebuilt by the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation and now houses a museum and education center that covers the history of the lighthouse, the ecology of the Pontchartrain Basin, and information about the coastal issues that face South Louisiana.
The building behind Tallulah’s head is the rebuilt Southern Yacht Club. The Southern Yacht Club traces its history back to 1849, making it the second oldest yacht club in the United States (second to the New York Yacht Club). Its third clubhouse, built in 1949, had modest wind and water damage caused by Hurricane Katrina; but it was destroyed by a fire that burned unchecked in the hours after the storm. The new clubhouse opened in 2009. I have a feeling it’s probably not pet-friendly.
Tallulah and I took one last look at Lake Pontchartrain before calling it a day. We’re happy to have added the lakefront to our list of fun new walking spots, and we cannot wait to visit again.
My little sister, Tallulah Bee, at the Lake Pontchartrain lakefront in New Orleans
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