Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Streets of Mandeville

 On August 29, 1954, New Orleans newspaper columnist Pie Dufour wrote an interesting overview of how the Town of Mandeville got its street names. A copy of Dufour's "A La Mode" column was recently found in the papers of the late Bertha Neff, one time parish archivist.

 Here is the text of that column:

Streets of Mandeville -  

By Pie Dufour August 29, 1954 (Times Picayune/New Orleans States Item)

It isn't every town that preserves its history, in part, in the names of its streets. New Orleans, of course, does and John Chase has pointed this out delightfully in his "Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children and Other Streets of New Orleans."

And last week-end I discovered—why .it took this long, I don't know—that picturesque and charming old Mandeville has done the same thing.

To begin with, Mandeville's very name summons up the memory of one of Louisiana's most fabulous families, Marigny de Mandeville, and the most fabulous Marigny of all the Mandevilles, Bernard Philippe de Marigny.

It was Bernard Marigny who laid out the little town on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 1832. Marigny named the place after one of the names of his illustrious family which was established in Louisiana shortly after 1709 by Francois -Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville.

From the names of Mandeville streets today—the town covers an area about a dozen blocks along the lake and about 10 blocks back to US Highway 190—I assume that Bernard Marigny did the naming of them. himself. For mostly, they bear the names of distinguished men of Marigny's day.

Appropriately enough, the street fronting the lake, with its charming old houses and many oaks, is named Lake street. Moving back from the lake we first cross Claiborne (the signs sometime misspell it, omitting the "i") street which was named for Gov. William C. C. Claiborne.

After that come three presidential streets, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, all of whom played a part in making Louisiana American. After that comes Livingston, named for Edward Livingston, the noted lawyer and an intimate friend of Marigny's. Then comes Villere street, named for Gen. Jacques Villere, head of the Louisiana militia at the Battle of New Orleans and our second governor.

Streets of Mandeville

The next street floors me. Its name is Montgomery. .I doubt if Marigny named that one and I have no idea whom it honors.

And then, finally, we reach the highway, which bears the name Florida street, because, as you know, that area was in West Florida at the time of the Louisiana Purchase.

Now let us look. at the streets running at right angles to, and back from, Lake Pontchartrain. Facing the lake, the first street on one's right is Carondelet, named for the same Spanish governor, Baron Hector de Carondelet, that our street is.

Next comes Wilkinson, named for Gen. James Wilkinson, commander-in-chief of the United States Army, on whose staff Bernard Marigny served around 1803. Lafayette street is next and it is understandable why Marigny picked it. In 1825, when Lafayette visited New Orleans, Marigny was the "official greeter" for the city.

The next two streets, Coffee and Carroll, are named for a couple of generals who fought with Jackson in defense of New Orleans. Brig Gen. John Coffee and Maj. Gen. William Carroll. Still another distinguished defender of New Orleans, Brig. Gen. John Adair of the Kentucky volunteers, is remembered by Adair street, although the signs on some corners spell it "Adear."

Jean Lafitte, the pirate, is remembered by Lafitte street and Nicholas Girod, mayor of New Orleans at the time of the battle has a street, too, although it  is spelled most of the time "Gerard."

The widest street in town is named for Marigny himself, but the origin of the next two streets eludes me—LaMarque and Foy. The last street in town is named for Marigny's long-time friend, Andrew Jackson.

Marigny was on Jackson's staff at Chalmette, and he was an ardent Jacksonian Democrat despite his aristocratic 'origins and great, and as yet undissipated, fortune. Jackson street in Mandeville today is, however, hardly more than a bumpy gravel road through the Woods.

I cannot think of many towns that have resisted change so admirably as has Mandeville. It is pretty much the same as it was 50 years ago when the Camellia ferried holiday folks across the lake from New Orleans. My hope for Mandeville is that it keeps on not changing.


End of Pie Dufour column

The New Camilia Steamboat 

Ella Paine, center, president of the St. Tammany Historical Society, greets Pie Dufour at a 1977 meeting in Mandeville.  Ron Barthet stands at right.