Friday, August 10, 2018

A Look at Life In Mandeville in 1902

What was it like to live in Mandeville in 1902, some one hundred and sixteen years ago? Well, we don't have to imagine it, all we need to do is read this rather extensive article that was written about the community in The Daily Picayune of New Orleans, published on Friday, April 4, 1902. It was entitled "Fair Mandeville On The Lake Shore."

Fair Mandeville On the Lake Shore

(An article from the Friday, April 4, 1902, issue of the Daily Picayune, New Orleans)

"Once the home of Nobility, Historic House of Marquis de Mandeville, 
Now a Hotel, No Healthier Spot in Louisiana, Or Elsewhere, 
Many New Orleans People Own Lovely Summer Homes Here."

(Mandeville- April 3)  In all the state of Louisiana, there is not a more beautiful place than Mandeville, "fair Mandeville by the sea," as it is sometimes termed. It has been the home of nobility, aye, and is yet the home of nobility, American men and women, and the earth does not contain nobler. 

To be more explicit, it was the home of the titled nobility, that came to this country and made their homes and helped to make the present location the glorious reality it is. 

The Marquis Mandeville de Marigny formerly owned the town-site of Mandeville and much of the territory adjacent. He sought rest here from the busy cares of the city; he entertained his friends here and blazed the way for other citizens of New Orleans where they might find not only rest, but health. Nor have the people of New Orleans been slow to take possession of this heritage.

Every summer the lakeshore here for miles resounds with glad voices. But it has been a selfish possession. As soon as the swallows began to twitter about their winter homes, and northern visitors begin to invade the city, the Mandeville homes have been closed and the houses in town alone were open, while this treasure land was closed to all visitors from afar.

During the past year there has been a disposition to do away with this painfully exclusive order of things and allow the strangers that are in the city the hospitality of this beautiful land where they may all winter remain immune from the blizzards of their northern homes. 

Railway Lines To Be Built

One or more electric railway lines are to be built across the lake, which is only a distance of twenty two miles, and then the New Orleans and Mississippi Midland will leave the lake at Mandeville. It already has its charter, its right of way and its millions deposited to insure its building. 

By the by, it was a Mandeville woman's suggestion that first caused the railway projectors to consider the proposition that has resulted in this gigantic undertaking. She is a charming woman and has foresight that is not given to many. She has the wisest heads in Mandeville enthused with her plans and one and all will say, "This proposed line will given an air line connection between Chicago and New Orleans." A rule and a map are produced and the listener is convinced-- the line will be direct as "the crow flies."

"But what does this mean to Mandeville?" asks the incredulous. Not so much to Mandeville, as it does to the people of New Orleans and to the people of the north. It will make Mandeville a delightful suburb of the city, where those who prefer to live in the ozone of St. Tammany Parish can do so, and yet do business in the city. Direct communication means only thirty or forty minutes at the longest from the office to the home "by the sea."

The Beauty of Mandeville

The beauty of Mandeville has never been told in story nor song, neither has the artist's brush given it credit.

It is the home of the Choctaws, and many of the braves and the light of their wigwams sleep under the shade of the oaks, where the tall pines sing requiems to their departed souls.

It is the home of the rose. The wilds ones grow and climb at will by the side of the slowly flowing streams, and bend over and dabble in and kiss the crystal waters, where their own reflections are mirrored in the tide. In the gardens, the roses grow to the greatest perfection every month in the year. During this past season, while the flowers were frostbound in other places, at Mandevillle the empress of China was gorgeous in her spring gown, flecked with rose garlands. 

The violets are enough to make one dizzy with their sweetness. The list might be
infinitely continued.

Along the coast the live oaks grow in all their majestic grandeur, and a little further
back, the pines stand as a solid wall. The oaks and other trees near the shore are thickly hung with long, gray moss, that is so much sought after by northern visitors. The magnolia, the holly and the wild crab apple are here in all their beauty and sweetness.

The Guests of Marquis de Marigny

For more than a century many of the people have been living here, but the archives of the state alone can tell the date of the settlement here of the Marquis de Marigny. While here he entertained in a most hospitable manner the nobility of France, who were here officially or for pleasure. 

Louis Phillipe was his special guest and fortunate indeed did the beaux and belles of New Orleans deem themselves who were invited to be members of those famous house parties.

Mugnier's Hotel is a part of the old Marigny mansion, and the room that Louis Phillipe occupied is yet here, with the furniture that it contained. The bedstead that he slept upon is one with towering posts that are carved from the floor to the top, and support a canopy bordered with rich gold and silk fringe. The dresser and the washstand are exquisitely wrought pieces, which have also been decorated by hand. Young people consider it a privilege and an honor to be assigned to this room, and it is usually the last one vacated in the fall and the one first occupied by visitors in the spring.

The Health Resort

As a health resort, St. Tammany parish has no superior in the United States, and Mandeville is the one place par excellence. It is on the lake shore and all summer the gentle gulf breezes are wafted through every room, which is, in itself, a tonic to the tired and the sick. 

Like every part of the parish, it has its resinous pines, and in Mandeville every yard has its flowing artesian well of water that is clear and free from odor or taste. For dyspepsia and all the troubles arising therefrom, this water is unsurpassed.

Charles Dudley Warner
is quoted as saying this of Mandeville and St. Tammany Parish: "I crossed the lake one spring day to the pretty town of Mandeville and then sailed up the Tchefuncta River. The winding Tchefuncta is in character like some of the narrow Florida streams; has the same luxuriant overhanging foliage, and as many shy lounging alligators to the mile, and is prettier by reason of occasional open glades and large moss-draped live oaks and china trees. 

"The parish has come into repute as a health resort and I was told by some New Orleans physicians that they regarded it as almost specific for pulmonary diseases, and instances were given of persons in what was supposed to be advanced stages of lung and bronchial troubles who had been apparently cured by a few months' residence there, and invalids are, I believe, greatly benefited by its healing, soft and piny atmosphere. The region has many attractions for the idle and the invalid.

Every Variety of Life One Craves

"It is in the first place interesting. It has a good deal of variety of scenery and of historical interest; there is excellent fishing and shooting, and if the visitor tires of the monotony of the country he can, by a short ride on a steamer, transfer himself for a day or a week to a large and most hospitable city, to society, the club, the opera, the balls, parties and every variety of life that his taste craves."

Being situated in what is known as the "ozone belt", the air is entirely free from malaria and is charged with the resinous odor of the long leaf pine which makes it so pure, invigorating and healthful that is is a natural sanitarium. Malignant diseases do not have their origin here, and persons who come here suffering from throat and lung troubles are always greatly benefited if not entirely cured by a short stay. 

These facts are attested by many of the leading physicians of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana as well as by many prominent citizens of this and other states. These facts are also substantiated by United States army reports from observations made at the time of the encampment of troops in this locality during the Spanish American war. Never has an infectious disease, either fever or other kind, originated in this section, and when brought in from the outside have never spread.

The Wave Newspaper

Among the many good things about Mandeville is its newspaper, the Wave, which is published every Saturday by the Mandeville Publishing Company. The editor is Louis Rosenthal, one of the best in the state. There is no paper published outside the large cities, that is so widely copied as The Wave.

The city officials are A.C. Bosse, mayor; H.H. Levy, A. Depre, E. Dubourge, James BanĂ¡, aldermen, and A.G. Depre, city clerk. The marshal is J. N. Miller.

The Water Wells

There are in the city limits one hundred and twenty five flowing wells, that send forth from thirty five to forty gallons of water a minute. They are from two hundred to two hundred and fifty feet deep. The water is pronounced by Professor Metz to be first class drinking water.

It is the dream of some enterprising citizens here and in New Orleans to have this water piped to the city when the electric railway line is built. The idea is to have the pipes laid on the roadbed beside the track, where some submarine construction would be arranged.

Public School

There is a public graded school here, of which Miss Emily Williamson is the principal, and Miss Mamie Girod, the assistant. The parochial school is under the direction of the Dominican Sisters. The Negro children are taught by the Sisters of the Holy Family. Miss Katie Bourke and Miss Louise Strain each have a private school and Mrs. L. Gardache has a school for the instruction of French.

The Mandeville Yacht Club

The Mandeville Yacht Club is in charge of the following officials : George Moorman, commodore; W.T. Jay, vice commodore; F.A. Cousin, rear commodore; H. Amable Verret, treasurer; W.J. Castell, secretary; Frank J. Kellar, financial secretary; T.S. Allon, fleet captain; Emile Cousin, official measurer; Dr. R.B. Paine, fleet surgeon; D.R H.A. Gabert, assistant fleet surgeon; and Dr. John J. D'Aquin, assistant fleet surgeon.

The governing committee: T.M. Moorman, Charles G. Coyle, J. Walton Glenny, W.E. Lawrence; George Moorman, H.Amable Verret, W.J. Castell, ex-officio.

The Lodge

There is a lodge of Knights of Pythias here, with the following officers: W.M. Boyle, chancellor; J.L. Phillips, vice chancellor; Lucas Prieto, prelate; Adolph Dubourge, master of work;  F.H. Levy, keeper of records and seal; Dr. R.B. Paine, master of exchequer; F. Ribava, master of finance; J.M. Miller, master of arms; T.L. Smith, inside guard; and J.R. Phillips, outside guard.

Dr. R.B. Paine and L. Prieto will represent the lodge at the meeting of the grand lodge in May.


The churches of the town are the Lady of the Lake (Catholic), Rev. Father Schmidt, pastor, and a Union church, attended by all Protestants. The Rev. R. B. Reed supplies the pulpit regularly, and frequently there are some of the city ministers here over Sunday who preach.

Phone Service

Mandeville has an excellent local and long distance telephone, of which Dr. Paine is the manager. Miss Bertha Toomer is the young lady in charge of the day boards, and without question she is the most obliging little "central." there is in the state.

 The Mandeville Telephone Exchange Building


Among the private enterprises here are these: Mrs. N. Levy & Son, H.H. Levy. This is an old, established firm, having been in operation since 1854, but not as the firm now stands. The son has grown up in the business, and a few years ago was taken into the firm and is now practically the head. Mrs. Levy lost her eyesight nearly three years ago, and now only assists by her wise counsel. Her sight is slowly returning , and her friends hope for a speedy recovery. 

Their store is the largest one in Mandeville, and is filled with a choice assortment of general merchandise. This means much more than it does in some towns, because or the many kinds of customers. There is the plain, everyday farmer, the Indian, the gardener, the inhabitant of the village and the city visitor, and all their wants are to be studied when a stock of goods is ordered. Mr. Levy has shown in the selection of his stock that he understands the wants of ail his customers. 

In dry goods, there is the finest, as well as goods for ordinary use. In the grocery is found everything that is usually found in a well stocked store.

Levy Brothers, belonging to the same family, conduct a meat market, where all kinds or fresh meats are kept. This firm was established in 1852.

The oldest bakery in town is the Mandeville bakery, which is in charge of Charles M. Favaron Jr.

The postmaster in town is John L. Smith, who was mayor for four years prior to his appointment. He has been in the present position five years. His daughter, Miss Addie, assists him in the office. 

Miss Odele Smith is teaching at Lewisburg.

The Lewisburg School

Charles A. David deals in dry goods and boots and shoes. He is a native of Mandeville, and has been in business here for the past six years. During the past year he has built a comfortable residence and store combined. The architectural arrangement is such that a pretty residence is seen from the street with a little rose garden where a fountain splashes in front. The interior arrangement is very complete, and accommodates a nice stock of dry goods and shoes. Mr. David says the business is getting better every year. 

Settoon & Depre are the proprietors of the City Drug Store, a new enterprise that was established here last year. The laboratory is under the supervision of Dr. W. E. Van Zant, pharmacist. In addition to a full line of drugs and medicines, toilet articles and drug sundries are carried.

P.A. Arceneaux is the proprietor or the Casino. He has been in business here for twenty two years, and is a general favorite with all.

Charles Schellnaas is the proprietor of the United States Bakery, which has been in operation here for the past five years. All kinds or bread, pies and cakes are turned out daily. Mr. and Mrs. Scheilhaas came from New Orleans here.

H. Strader is a dealer in fruits, poultry and vegetables; in fact, everything that the market affords. He has been here for twenty years.

E. Esquinance is a liveryman , and keeps buggies, carriages and tallyhos for the use of pleasure parties.

Almost in the city limits is J. T. Davis' saw mill, where Mr. Davis and his sons are kept busy from early morning until night. The mill has been here for nine years, and three years ago was purchased by Mr. Davis The lumber cut is mostly yellow pine, but some cypress is also cut. Just now Mr. Davis is busy on a big schedule of cross arms for the Wood Preserving Works of New Orleans, T.H. Sampson, proprietor. After they have been properly treated they are turned over to the Cumberland Telephone Company. This order calls for 30,000 feet a month, and it will take all the year to complete the contract. 

Mr. Davis also cuts house bills. His planer has a capacity of from 8,000 to 10,000 a day. Mr. Davis also has a grocery store here.

L. Leaumont is the name that the cards bear, but the business is conducted by the widow and daughter. Confections, notions, books and a general variety stock is what is carried.

Mrs. C. Frosch for the past four years has conducted a grocery store. Her health has been failing lately, and the burden of the business fails upon her daughter, Miss Josephine.

J. Band has a large livery stable and vehicles enough to send out a pleasure party of seventy five or 100 people. By special arrangement he sometimes meets visitors at the train or boat, when there is no little jesting about having the honor of being "met by a Band." Mr. Band is one of the progressive citizens of the town and is a member of the city council.

A. Depre & Sons are dealers in staple and fancy groceries, crockery and harware. They have been in the business here for the past twenty years. The firm is composed of A. Depre, who is one of the aldermen; A.G. Depre, the city clerk; and H.H. Depre. They have a large and well assorted stock and enjoy a good trade.

Lucius Prieto,
a native of the parish and the town, is a grayman, and finds abundant employment to keep himself and his teams busy.

The Rosenthal Brothers, two bright young boys, are the agents for the Picayune here. Their father is the editor, and they are inclined to literary pursuits and to newspaper work, even this early. Great things are predicted for these boys by those who know them best.

Jules Manaud has been seventeen years in the livery business here, and takes pleasure in showing strangers the places of interest in and about the town. He also carries picnic parties to their grounds. He also has a nice farm in the suburbs, where he grows quantities of vegetables and fruits.

The estate of Alex Band is capably managed by Morgan & Prieto (Lewis L. Morgan and Ernest Prieto), both young men of sterling worth. Mr. Morgan is a brilliant young attorney, a graduate of Tulane University, of the class of 1899. He is president of the school board. Mr. Prieto is a native of Mandeville, and is a businessman of great ability, progress and energy. The store of which they have charge is one of the largest and best stocked grocery stores in town. All kinds of groceries, provisions and tobacco are carried.

David Smith is an architect and builder, who resides here and finds abundant employment to keep him busy.

T.L. & J.M. Smith keep a meat market and furnish a full line of home-killed meats, such as beef, pork and mutton. They have had their shop for three years here.

Mrs. A. Weightman
deals in real estate in a quiet way. She does not try to speculate, in the sense usually meant, but when she sees a good property going cheap, she buys it, and when a favorable opportunity offers, she sells it. She has a daughter, Miss Maude, in school at Miss Sophie Wright's , New Orleans.

F.J. Kellar is the agent for the East Louisiana Railroad here, and there is not a more efficient man anywhere in the railroad service, nor one that is pleasanter to have dealings with. He came here from New Orleans ten years ago, and could not be spared from here now, summer or winter.

Orchards and Gardens

Almost everyone here has a fine orchard and garden. The mayor has some of almost everything in the fruit line. He has the earliest strawberries, the reddest cherries, the largest pears and pecans, such paper shells are not known anywhere else.

Jackson Park
is a private property where picnics and lawn parties are frequently held. It is filled with great magnolia and oak trees, which are festooned with quantities of the longest moss to be found in this section. It is there the mocking birds hold high carnival, and hold spellbound all who chance to pass that way.

Judge J. Lafayette Phillips
is a farmer and a stock grower. He is famed for growing the finest watermelons in this section.

E. Dessomes has a home here. His cottage sits back a little from the street, and his lawn is brimming over with flowers. He is a graduate of the conservatory of Parish, and is noted for his love of flowers.

H.H. Levy is of a more practical turn of mind, and every minute that can be spared from his store he devotes to his fields, where he grows barrels upon barrels of onions. Of course, onions are a very common place vegetable, but they give a good profit for the money and time invested. There is not a bit of romance about growing an onion, but the market returns are just as enticing, and Mr. Levy has a charming wife and lovely children growing up around him, and good returns are more inviting to him now than beds of pansies or other posies, with all their poetry.

A little way back from the front, on a slightly rolling tract of land, lives John B. Comstock, formerly of New Orleans. He and his wife came here for Mrs. Comstock's health several hears ago, and here have remained. Their cottage is a rose bower, with quantities of violets in front. Their fields are grown in vegetables and sugar cane. Mr. Comstock erected his own sugar refinery last season, and worked up all the cane he could get. The capacity of his sugar house is twenty barrels of syrup a day. He does not allow the juice to sugar, but makes it all into syrup. He expects in time to make a good thing of this, and establish quite a trade in this alone.

Hotels and Boarding Houses: Mugnier's Hotel

What interests strangers most are the hotels and boarding houses. There is only one hotel here, but there are several boarding houses. Mugnier's Hotel is an old established hostelry that is exceedingly popular with all the New Orleans people. The proprietors are A.G. And H. Mugnier. The former looks after the comfort of the guests, and the latter has supervision of the kitchen. 

His son, Michel Mugnier, is a young man with a fine musical education, and is indispensable when there is a house full of guests to be entertained. He plays, he sings, and plays whi: others sing and while they dance. Miss Jennie Mugnier, the sister of the proprietors, is a charming young woman , and looks after the ladies in the hotel.

The main hotel is 150 feet long, two stories high, with broad galleries up and downstairs, with three cottages in the yard. It is situated in a rose garden, where not only roses, but lillies and a tangle of sweet flowering vines grow. The annex has seven cottages. In the hotel, the annex and the cottages at least 200 people can be entertained.

The rooms all have a southern exposure, and in the summer time the cool breeze from the lake floats through the open windows, making the nights cool and delightful. The ebb and flow of the tide and the splash of the fountains soothe the tired ones to slumber. 

The meals served are incomparable. Mr. Mugnier is his own chef and such dishes as he prepares would tempt the daintiest appetite. He has a great, large kitchen, the like of which is seldom, if ever , seen. It is enclosed only on one side, which is almost covered with a glistening array of cooking utensils on nails and on shelves that are bordered with American flags. There are two ranges, an ordinary stool range and a great brick French range, which has a charcoal broiler that carries all the odor and smoke up a chimney. Everything is spotless in its cleanliness and the floor is sprinkled with white sand.

The Mugnier brothers are very enterprising gentlemen. They have been here now eleven years, and have worked wonders here in the way of improving the property. In addition to this, they have built a wharf out into the lake 1,500 feet, which is free to every steamer, sail vessel, or other craft that plies these waters. The cost was many hundreds of dollars, and is now a boon to all ship owners that wish to land. Formerly it cost a boat $3 to land here, and now it does not cost a cent.

Joseph Mugnier is the father of these three brothers and of Miss Jennie Mugnier and is a very entertaining gentleman. He is more than four score years, but does not look to be three score.

In speaking of Mugnier's Hotel, there is one faithful servant that it is a pleasure to have come around. It is Aunt Carrie, an old time "mammy," who comes to see if you want fire on the cool mornings, and to bring you coffee before you are out of bed. She is always solicitous for your comfort and welfare.

Mrs. J.M. Favaron keeps a boarding house during the summer, and serves meals to the excursionists who come on festal days.

Mrs. A.M. Beret is the proprietor of Beret's House, which is open all the year round. F.E. Collet is the manager.  During the winter, when the guests are not so numerous, Mrs. Beret keeps her hands busy fashioning the daintiest laces and embroideries.

One of the interesting places to visit is Pineland Park Hotel, which is on the Tchefuncta River, several miles back from Mandeville. It is pleasant to drive there now, and in the summer when the New Camelia is running it is delightful to make the trip by boat. The hotel is owned now by Bert Adler, who came here from New Orleans. It is situated on an elevation that slants beautifully down to the water's edge. 

Live oaks and magnolias are everywhere. The view of the hotel and its surroundings from the river is beautiful. There are a number of cottages there, and a dining room that would seat 100 people. Mr. Adler is now busy making a half mile training track that is being graded according to the latest turf directions. He has some splendid stables of horses. He has a flowing well that is 965 feet deep, and is pronounced one of the best in the state.

Chinchuba Deaf-Mute Institute

On the way to Pineland park is Chinchuba, where is located the institute for the education of the deaf mutes. The Rev. Father Gabriel is in charge, and is assisted by fourteen sisters. There are fifty two children there, and the way they are taught to be useful and intelligent men and women is simply marvelous, and is a living monument to the faithful sisters who instruct them. 

Not only are they given the knowledge of books, but their hands are taught and trained in trades and industries that will make them capable of fighting successfully in the battle of life. 

A beautiful chapel has lately been erected on the grounds. It is a memorial offering from Mrs. Eloise Rand. She gave $3000 for the erection of the chapel. It is neat and restful on the interior. The altar is an artistic piece of workmanship, which was built by tramp who came to the institute and sought food and shelter. He said that he had been the carpenter for the Vanderbilts for many years.

Near Chinchuba is the summer resting place of Dr. J.J. Castellanos of New Orleans. It is a neat cottage, out in the pines.

A little further on, and only a little way out of Mandeville, are the ruins of the Rev. Father Rouquette's chapel. He was the hermit priest who preached to and baptized all the Indians in this section. It is a tiny little log hut with a rough board altar, over which a little crucifix yet hangs. Partitioned off from the altar and alongside of it is a narrow cell, in which this lonely man of God slept on the bare floor. He had a brother, Dominick Rouquette, who lived in a cottage a little to the east of Mandeville.

There is scarcely a bush or tree in this section that has not some glamor of romance or history thrown about it.

Audubon Was Thought To Be Born Here 

Colonel G.W. Nott, president of the Citizens Bank in New Orleans owns one of the old Marigny plantations, a little way east of Mandeville on the lake shore. It was here that the naturalist Audubon was said to be born. (It was later discovered that Audubon was not born in Mandeville, though for many years, this was the prevailing belief.)

Some point out a long, low cottage and say that that was the very house in which he first saw the light, while others say that it was in a house that is now in ruins. At any event, it was in these very woods that he first learned to love the birds, and on this shore the grateful state of Louisiana should erect a statue to his memory.

Regaining One's Health

There are many delightful people who live here all the time, summer and winter, and others who come over here only occasionally. Among the latter are General and Mrs. L.J. Souer of New Orleans. They have an exquisite home here, where they delight to rest when a holiday allows. General Souer attributes his returning health to the air and the water of Mandeville. He had visited all the famous sea side resorts of the Atlantic coast without finding the relief he found here.

Mrs. Emma Prudhomme
makes her home here all the time in "White Castle of the Lake," an elegant home where one little adopted daughter keeps her company, save when friends come for to visit. Her late husband was one of the finest financiers of the times.

H. Borey, the father of Dr. Borey of New Orleans, has a home here, and a fine orchard and garden. He has a treasured souvenir of the Confederate cause, a large cypress canoe that used to be paddled up and down the bayous of Louisiana carrying medicines to the soldiers. It bears numerous marks of the enemy's bullets.

There are many beautiful homes along the front, among which is that of Dr. and Mrs. Paine. They are charming people, and are given to hospitality, and when strangers come here in the winter and have nowhere to go , their home is opened, and they are made welcome. The doctor enjoys the exclusive practice here, as he is the only resident physician. He has his own drugstore, where he compounds his own prescriptions.

Anyone coming here, summer or winter, need not anticipate a dull time. Colonel Nott says: "Every pleasure is to be found here which could be desired, the lakes and the streams abound in fish of all kinds, redfish, sheepshead, croakers, speckled trout and bass can be caught a few feet from the bathhouse wharves; crabs and shrimp are plentiful., and Lake Pontchartrain, about twenty two miles wide by forty miles long affords splendid sport for those found of yachts and sailboats.

Hunting is also very fine, some bear, deer and turkeys are yet to be found nearby, while in season duck and snipe hunting is as fine as can be had anywhere, and squirrels and quail are to be found."

See also:

Longtime Residents Remember Mandeville

Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville

Old Mandeville Street Scenes

Mandeville Lakefront Seawall - The Early Days

Mandeville's Architectural Studies