Mary B. Kaizer | 4/26/2006 7:46:35 PM
St. Tammany Parish’s history was greatly influenced by the abundant sources of water within the parish. The rivers provided routes to Lake Pontchartrain for early settlers to develop their new industries including timber, boat building, brick molding and farming. These waterways brought St. Tammany’s first settlement to Bayou Bonfouca in 1852.
The parish began to flourish economically and socially as New Orleanians came to l’autre cote du lac (“the other side of the lake”). Daily boat excursions across the lake became popular until 1880 when travelers were able to travel by railroad. Many came to sample the artesian water that had legendary healing powers for the Indians. This same water is now the key ingredient in two thriving parish products – Abita Water and Abita Beer. In 1956 the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was completed. The bridge spans 24 miles making the drive to and from New Orleans a forty-minute commute. Since the creation of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway it is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest bridge. The parish is included in the 13-parish Louisiana Scenic Byway System.
Today St. Tammany is one of the fastest growing parishes in Louisiana. The growth has been attributed to a number of factors: new residents from hurricane-affected areas, proximity to New Orleans, low business costs, availability of labor, excellent schools, low crime rates and a strong medical community. The population now exceeds 270,000 residents. There are 9 towns in St. Tammany Parish: Abita Springs, Bush, Covington, Folsom, Lacombe, Madisonville, Mandeville, Pearl River and Slidell.
Credit: St. Tammany Parish Government, St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission, and the Louisiana Office of Tourism
Credit: Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum for the beautiful background picture of the lighthouse.