Lake Pontchartrain – Images of America
Native Americans used Okwata, meaning “wide water,” as a shortcut for inland trade between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. When the Europeans arrived, the original inhabitants showed them the route—the settlement near the river became the city of New Orleans, other lakeshore communities grew, and Lake Pontchartrain continued to be a vital waterway well into the 20th century. Aside from its economic value, Lake Pontchartrain was a cultural mecca: Mark Twain wrote about it and jazz sprang from its shores; locals and visitors traveled out to the amusement parks and opera pavilions, simple fishing villages and swanky yacht clubs, forts and lighthouses; and majestic hotels and camps perched precariously over the water. In Images of America: Lake Pontchartrain, photographs document memories of a time that not even Hurricane Katrina could erase.