Saturday, January 25, 2020

Bridge To New Orleans Sought Back in 1911

Thousands of people gathered in Mandeville on August 23, 1911, to push for the building of a bridge across the lake to New Orleans. With great fanfare and political speechmaking, the citizens, the business people and residents both new and old, clamored for the proposed bridge. The Farmer ran a huge article describing the people, politicians, and enthusiasm with which the bridge proposal was being promoted.

The bridge would include a railroad track and presenters hoped it would be started the very next year. It would take another 45 years for the actual causeway bridge to be opened for business in 1956.

Click on the images below to enlarge the 1911 article and make it readable. 

One of the paragraphs from the above.

Excerpts from the above article:

All the cars of the motor line (trolley) were not sufficient to handle the crowds from Covington that crushed in and braved the threatening rain. Abita Springs added her quota to the stream of human beings that poured Into Mandeville from all parts of the-parish.

Nearly every person of prominence from Covington and Abita Springs was present, The Covington Commercial League, hav­ing requested all the members to attend the meeting and to bring with them all who could be induced to attend.

At Mandeville, on the beach, under the broad spreading oaks with rustling branches smiling down into the water of beautiful Pontchar­train, the first pledge of fi­nancial assistance to the great project of bridging the lake was made this afternoon, and the pledge came from the loyal and enthusiastic people of St. Tammany Parish, who agreed to take $500,000 worth of the bridge bonds.

It was a mass meeting, a mass meeting participated in by the lead­ing citizens of both St. Tammany and Orleans parishes, and chief among the active workers in the endeavor to give things a definite shape were Mayor Martin Behrman of New Orleans, and Mayor A. Hartman of Mandeville. 

The executive heads of the two cities which are to be linked by the splendid cause­way show led the right sort of senti­ment, and figuratively had their coats off standing in the breach and lending the willing forces in the march of progress, which everybody present seemed infected with the spirit of advancement, and declared themselves ready to make a sacrifice to insure the bridge.

A pavilion was raised in a clump of giant oaks near the long wharf reaching out to the landing of the lake boats and the pavilion was artistically decorated with a wreath of ferns and flowers, with a liberal' showing of the national colors.

The keynote of all the speeches made at the meeting, which will go down in the history of the parish as marking an epoch in the march of progress, was co-operation. St. Tammany needs New Orleans and New Orleans needs St. Tammany. Mandeville wants to become a component part of the great city across the lake, and with the bridge built would annex itself to New Or­leans, were some of the thoughts ex­pressed.

That Mandeville means business was evident in the extensive prepara­tions for the meeting. A hardwork­ing committee, with Mayor Hartman and Chairman J. L. Lavelle as the directing spirits, was at work, but every man and woman in the beau­tiful little city was helping, and the very atmosphere seemed charged with the "up and doing" spirit.

Over in New Orleans, President W. H. Ker and busy members of the* Mercantile Club, one of the leading organizations of its kind in the South, were laboring hard for the movement, and Mr. Ker sent word that his club would be represented at the meeting by a working delega­tion.When Mandeville was reached, little white badges of delegates were very much in evident on the wharf. The badges were long pieces of ribbon, and bore on their face thee following 'out-and-out statement in big black letters: "The bridge across the lake by all Means, is the sentiment of the town of Mandeville. La., August 23, 1911.

Dr. A. G. Maylie, a former prominent practitioner of New Orleans, but temporally a resident of St. Tammany, was one of the first to greet Mayor Behrman and his committee upon landing, and Mr. Maylie and the Mandeville gentlemen with him led the city guests to the pavilion at the end of the wharf, where Mayor Hartman, District Attorney L. L. Morgan, Harvey E. Ellis, a well‑known banker, and others awaited to welcome them.

The crowd was gathered thick around the pavilion, although it was not yet 12 o'clock, and the meeting had been advertised for 2 o'clock in the afternoon, and Mr. Lavelle mounted the stand and informed the ladies and gentlemen that the pro­gramm would be carried out in full and bade them enjoy themselves viewing the many attractive sights of the breeze-kissed gem of the lake until the hour arrived for the speak­ing.

Automobiles and buggies were waiting, and the gentlemen from the city were taken for a short spin, and finally conveyed to Mugnier's Hotel, where a most delightful dinner was awaiting them. 

Before the dinner had run its final course, Gus Mugnier, the proprietor of the pretty hotel, came to the table, and in a most cordial speech presented Mayor Behrman with a beautiful bouquet. Mr.
Mugnier ex­pressed the patriotism that is sweeping St. Tammany like 'wild fire, and in the course of his remarks said that the bridge was needed, and that the bridge would be built. Mayor Behrman was touched "by the little mark of esteem, and made one of hie usual bright and timely replies to his cordial host.

The Committee to make the meet­ing attractive had engaged the services of William A. Braun, the well-known New Orleans musical di­rector, and Mr. Braun crossed the  lake on the Dolive with a number of his most skilled musicians. Shortly before the hour set for the meeting Conductor Braun went to work with his men of music on the speakers' stand, and the melodious strains, caused the streets leading to the lake to pour their throngs out on the green facing the decorated platform.

Mr.Morgan thanked the New Orleans papers for the support they were giving the bridge project and commended Mayor Behrman for his cooperation.

Mr. Lavelle then read the following resolution, which were adopted with a ring cheer:

In view of the fact that the ma­terial interests of the people of St. Tammany parish are so closely identified with those of the people of New Orleans, and inasmuch as there can be no great or material prosperity in our parish except through the progress of the city of New Orleans, and believing that a bridge or causeway, built across Lake Pontchartrain, from New Or­leans to some point at or near Mandeville, will be conductive to the commercial welfare of the people of New Orleans as well as ourselves and knowing that if there is a muni­cipal ownership of this lead and open the door for commerce into the city that it would induce a number of new lines of railroads to build into the city; 

and believing that this bridge should be built in con­nection with and made a part of a public belt railroad of New Orleans, provided with the proper terminals and equipment; and believing further that the revenues of the pub­lic belt and the bridge and structures could be bonded for a sum sufficient to build said bridge and the neces­sary terminals, thereby giving a new lead and open railroad for our com­merce; 

Therefore, be it resolved by the people of St. Tammany Parish, in mass meeting assembled, that we hereby indorse any practical plans presented by the people of New Or­leans for the building of this bridge, and pledge ourselves to take $500,­000 of 5 per cent of the proposed bridge bonds;

Resolved, further, That we are in hearty sympathy with and indorse the. efforts being made by the general bridge committee in furtherance of this. great project.

A. D. Preston, an attorney of New Orleans, was the next speaker. Mr. Preston spoke of the need of the bridge, and urged municipal ownership for it, and operation in connection with the Public Belt of the me­tropolis across the lake. Mr. Preston had no doubt that the money to finance the great scheme could be found.

0. W. Crawford, of the Louisiana Development League, followed, and in his emphatic way told of the pros­perity that would follow the build­ing of the bridge. He advocated re­claiming land from the lake and sell­ing it to help defray the expenses. It the people of both parishes want the bridge, the bridge will be built.

Mr. Ker, the progressive president of the Mercantile Club of New Or­leans. was received with applause. Mr. Ker thought that public subscription lists should be opened to aid the project. He argued that $250,­000 would be subscribed, and that that would prove a nucleus to work  on. "If we have that amount in the treasury," said Mr. Ker, "we can hope for much more from bond­ing the Public Belt revenues."

Mr. Ker, in conclusion, said that the Mercantile Club favored the bridge and had pledged its earnest and solid support to the project, which would prove the making of both parishes.
W. C. Lovejoy of the New Or­leans Credit Men's Association, sug­gested that everybody fall in behind the committee of fifty appointed tb formulate plans, and hold up the committee's hands.

Mr. Garland suggested the slogan for the movement, "The Bridge Must Be Built!" and urged that it be carried everywhere with the same enthusiasm that the old Romans cried, "Carthage must be destroy­ed!"  

"We are determined to build this bridge," said Mr. Garland, "and when the American people determine on anything they are not generally disappointed." Mr. Garland told of the needs of the bridge and said that if the sum of $1,500,000 was raised the rest needed could be borrowed on the bridge iself. Mr. Garland favored a direct appeal to the people of the parishes most interested, and suggested a legislative appropriation of a few thousand dollars.

Mr. Garland read letters promis­ing support from Governor J. Y. Sanders, Senator Murphy J. Foster, Congressman J. E. Ransdell, Congressman H. Garland Depre, Con­gressman R. C. Wickliffe, Congressman Albert Estopinal, Dr. I. B. Aswell and Congressman R. F. Brous­sard. When Mr. Garland concluded a little girl stepped out from the crowd and handed him a big bunch of flowers.

H. Clay Riggs, one of the hardest workers on the bridge project, was then introduced. Mr. Riggs said that the bridge proposed would be big enough to handle the traffic of the great trunk lines that are knocking at the door of New Orleans. Mr. Riggs thought it would be a good idea to bond the revenues of the Public Belt and the bridge to build great public terminals that the roads could use. 

These would do away with the corporation toll gates that are now running New Orleans and keeping business away from the port. It costs $1,800 less to deposit a shipment of lumber at ship side in Gulfport and Baton Rouge than in New Orleans, and this is due to the corporation toll gates. Private corporations must not get control of the bridge, contended Mr. Riggs, for private corporations hold the people by the throat and brandish an ax over their heads. 

Mr. Riggs gave some interesting figures, and predicted a mass meeting in Mandeville early next year at which the corner­stone of the bridge would be laid, and a mass meeting in New Orleans, in which the work on the southern shore would be started.

Mr. Barclay, of the New Orleans delegation, was the last speaker. He condemned pessimism, and told a succession of rattling good stores fit­ting for the occasion that put the people in such good humor that they were willing to mortgage their homes to help the bridge.

During the afternoon Mayor Behrman visited Rest Awhile and was shown over the well-kept institu­tion, which marks the success of one of the noblest charities ever set on foot in New Orleans and adds an­other crown to the career of the well-known philanthropist, Miss Sophie B. Wright.

Captain Woodward was one of the promoters of a plan to bridge Pontchartrain ten years ago, and as he took sound­ings and kept a log of actual dis­tances, he is considered a valuable man of interest in the present pro­ject.

St. Tammany Farmer Aug. 26, 1911

See also:

Planning to build the Causeway Started Early