Saturday, February 26, 2022

Pleasure Bay Boat Service Resumes After WWI

 In October of 1921, after more than three years without passenger boat service between New Orleans and points in St. Tammany Parish, the old Lake Pontchartrain route was re-established. For many years the boat service established long ago on the lake prospered and meant prosperity to the "little towns over the lake" and "pleasure to hundreds of Orleanians," a newspaper account of the time stated. 

Apparently the need for boats during World War I caused the lake service to cease in 1917. In 1921, the Association of Commerce took up the matter of re-establishing the service and with the aid of St. Tammany citizens, was able to interest a company in the project.

According to the Times Picayune, the boat service resumed on Sunday, October 23, "and the resting places of Mandeville and Madisonville will again come within easy reach of Orleanians."

The Pleasure Bay Packet Company was providing the boat, a big steamer, with a capacity of 500 passengers and 15 automobiles. The boat itself measured 150 feet long and 45 feet wide. It had two decks.


"Until a few months ago it was in passenger services on Mobile Bay," an article stated, "but recently was taken from service for rebuilding." After it was returned to service, it began running between New Orleans and the "attractive little resorts on the opposite side of the lake."

The Pleasure Bay Packet Company was a Mobile firm. Captain Bebok will be in charge of the Pleasure Bay and Captain Charles Olsen will be the pilot, the article went on to say.

On the return trip. the steamer was to leave Mandeville at 4 p.m., Madisonville at 5 p.m. and reach West End in New Orleans at 7 p.m. "Automobiles with passengers will be charged $7 to $10, one way with a half fare for the return voyage," it was said. 

Click on the images to make them larger.  
Octoher 24, 1921

December 3, 1921

December 5, 1921

Salesmen's Cars Given Special Rate

May 19, 1922 

 May 20, 1922

May 21, 1922
Boat Destroyed by Fire

Unfortunately the Pleasure Bay Packet Company's boat caught on fire in June of 1922 and was destroyed. Residents of both New Orleans and St. Tammany were dismayed by the turn of events, and anxiously sought another boat to take its place.  

On July 6, 1922, an article in the Times Picayune shared the following information:

"Better Lake Boat Service Favored; Opportunity Seen for Rich Returns at Parley in Covington.

"Covington, LA July 5 - The Dubus brothers and their advisor of New Orleans, owners of the lake boat Reverie, conferred at Covington Monday night with representatives of Abita Springs, Madisonville, and Covington relative to boat schedules, rates and the operation of a jitney service to connect the boat with inland towns.

"The conference was under the auspices of the Covington Association of Commerce, Judge T. H. Burns, chairman, and W. E. Minckler, secretary, presiding.

"It was asserted that the public demands require a boat of 350 to 600 passenger capacity, a speedy boat, reasonable fares for passengers and automobiles, a dependable schedule, commuters' rates that compare with rail rates, and an efficient jitney overland service.

"It was declared that a boat meeting these requirements would provide an accommodation which the traveling public of New Orleans and St. Tammany Parish is anxious to have, and would liberally patronize.

"As evidence, it was pointed out that the Pleasure Bay Packet, prior to its untimely destruction by fire a few weeks ago, made a gross return from passengers and autos of $2000 in three days. The passenger capacity of the Reverie last Sunday was overtaxed, and many persons were refused transportation.

"Suggestions for keeping the crew and boat at work between the passenger trips including the handling of freight, the transportation and marketing of wood, the sale of restaurant concessions, on sight-seeing trips from West End and occasionally from the north shore points.

"The boat representatives announced their present inability to meet the requirements for  a larger boat. Their present boat is a luxuriously appointed and speedy yacht, with a passenger capacity of 150 but no automobile accommodations. To offset this they proposed to put into service as an adjunct to the Reverie a boat designed for passengers, automobiles, and freight.

"This boat is slow, but will appeal to a certain class of trade by offering reduced passenger rates. This, they believe, will satisfy the demand for an automobile and freight service, and take care of the excess passenger list that overtaxes the Reverie Saturdays and Sundays.

"This proposition did not win approval of the parish conferees, as it was deemed that the overhead expenses incident to the operation of two boats would make the venture unprofitable, but they tendered their support to the operators, and both sides expressed the hope that improvements would be initiated at an early date.

"It has been rumored that a large boat building corporation is planning to put in the lake service a boat that will meet the requirements of the trade."
July 6, 1922