Thursday, June 11, 2009

North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain

As we neared the end of our holiday in New Orleans we felt it was time to check out the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. To do so we had to take the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. The causeway is two parallel bridges over the lake, the longest span being the longest bridge in the world over water. It measures 23.87 miles or 38.42 kms. If you have the time, please read the link – it is quite interesting.

Driving onto the causeway gave me goose bumps. The sight of the bridge going off into the distance - and the water stretching out on both sides, made me feel like we were alone – suspended in watery space. It was an unusual feeling. I could well imagine what it would be like to drive over this bridge in the heavy fog that seemed to be a nightly occurrence in New Orleans.

The north shore of Lake Pontchartrain feels like affluent cottage country. We were astounded by the obvious wealth and the huge houses with their huge boats moored at their docks.

The contrast from the city of New Orleans to the North Shore was almost a culture shock. Don’t get me wrong – there were some sweet little houses nestled in the pines and they had obviously been there for a long time.

Somehow in our wanders we managed to drive down to the shore of the lake and we found a large parking area and a boat launch. As we ate our picnic, a couple strolled past our car and stopped short when they saw our license plate.

“Did you drive here from Alberta?” they asked.

Swallowing quickly we beamed and proudly explained our journey to them as the gentleman pointed out the hitch on our small car. (The Man drives a Volkswagen Golf – diesel – a small car with a lot of torque – enough to tow our little 13 foot trailer)

They then proceeded to tell us how the area we were standing in had been under 8 feet of water because of the last hurricane they had endured. They told us of the precautions they always took when a hurricane was coming such as parking their vehicle on high ground and tying their canoe to the front porch. That way they could paddle to their vehicle and drive for supplies and then get back home again.

I tried to imagine what this kind of life would be like. We had already been looking at houses and trying to figure out a way to live in New Orleans – but were we ready for such a change? We’re used to shoveling snow for most of the year!

As you look at these pictures – some of you who have seen the Brad Pitt movie – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button might recognise the lighthouse. Brad sailed right past this one in the movie. We were so excited when we recognised it as we sat in The Barn with the snow falling outside and the movie playing in front of us. It took us right back to the conversation with this couple and the day we spent on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain.


Leatherdykeuk said...

That bridge looks amazing, and I happened to watch Benjamin Button yesterday.

rosiero said...

I know just how you must have felt driving on that long bridge with nothing but sea all around you. There is a bridge in Normandy in France a bit like that (only much higher up). I would hate to go on it in thick fog though!! I loved the photos of the big houses and the sunsets. Do I detect that you may be moving to New Orleans?

Akelamalu said...

That bridge looks like it goes on forever! :0

Maggie May said...

I wouldn't like to cross that bridge in the fog! Beautiful structure though.
I loved those watery scenes at the end. Lovely. Great post.

grandmamargie said...

Beautiful pictures. Great post as always.

Dr.John said...

I haven't seen Benjamin Button yet but I intend to and I'll look for the lighthouse. I have always been astounded by the way in which the wealthy live. They put so much money into a house. If they lived in something smaller they could reach out and help so many. Some have two or three of those mansions.
Thanks for the tour.

doctorj2u said...

You are so right about the Northshore being a culture shock from NOLA .A lot of the people moved there to escape the crime in the city. They have a love-hate relationship with New Orleans. There is a heavy dose of racism added to the mix but I think they would be lost if the city disappeared. Before you consider moving I think it is important for you and the man to visit in the summer months. It is brutal. (Thank God for air conditioning!) I worry that your northern blood could not handle it. Also if you plan to buy you have to understand that insurance rates in the city are off the chart. It runs in the neighborhood of $6000 American dollars from what I hear. Northshore is more affordable because you can get out of the flood plain. The Causeway (the bridge over the lake) terrifies me. It is one of the legacies of Katrina for me. I am afraid I will pass out and drive off the bridge. I do it anyway but I am not happy about it. I know it is my fear of losing control. Everything I KNEW was true before the storm turned out to be false. America DID abandon their own. My world turned upside down and there is a price to pay. I guess mine is fear of bridges. But I WILL BE DAMMED if it conquers me!

doctorj2u said...

Oh, I forgot to add. I LOVED Benjaen Button. Brad Pitt called it a 'love letter to New Orleans" and it is. It captures the timeless spirit of the city.

Lola said...

I think I shall watch Benjamin Button - but strangely, that bridge reminded me of The Truman Show, stretching off into the distance. You didn't bump up against the edge of the world, did you?

bermudabluez said...

I'm not sure why Aims, but I have always been just a bit afraid of bridges....specifically driving over bridges. Must be something in my DNA...THAT bridge would have sent me over the edge, I think! And I agree with one of the other commentors....the spring there is almost unbearable for me! I have been to NOLA as late as May and I simply couldn't stand to be outside....with my asthma I had alot of trouble breathing with all of that humidity! It gets downright HOT there, girl!!! I'm all for bein' in the A/C, but seriously I could not live there. I SO enjoy looking at all of your pictures and hearing all the unique stories you have to tell!! So glad you guys had such a good time!! Holy Cow, insurance is expensive there, isn't it? I haven't watched Benjamin Button yet, but I plan to rent it!

Anonymous said...

I think it does us good sometimes to see another person's life and mentally try it on. We too are thinking of moving.

The bridge must've been a little eerie. The Severn Bridge between Gloucestershire and South Wales is a litle like that but you can easily see both sides. It gets closed in high winds.

Living the Dream said...

Wow that bridge, not sure if I would like to go over that one. Fabulous pictures as always

Daryl said...

Ah .. my favorite city ...

TSannie said...

I am drooling to get to New Orleans and the surrounding area! You've stoked the fire, Aims! Those last 4 photos are wonderful.

San said...

Another well-written travel story, accompanied by lovely photos.

I just saw Benjamin Button the other night. Thanks for pointing out the light house.

Lane said...

That bridge is stunning. What a structure, though I can see it would be daunting to drive over in fog.

Great post as usual, with wonderful photos. What a place!

Brett said...

Cool post the bridge sound amazing

Biddie said...

Oh, the photos are gorgeous!
I am so envious of your travels. Please keep posting the pics so that I can travel along with you!

travelling, but not in love said...

Sounds like such an amazing trip Aims...think I may try and convince a certain American Boy to take me to n'orleans....

Thumbelina said...

That bridge is so long I can't see the end! I think it would take a lot of faith to go on that in the fog! Gorgeous photos at the end too.

Thanks for your visit Aims. And how do I reward you? I tag you with a photo meme!
You don't have to do it, but it is quite fun and pretty effortless. If you don't want to do it, that's fine but I thought you'd like it.

sallymandy said...

Thank you for these photos and your account of visiting Lake Pontchartrain. I have never been to Louisiana, but have always been fascinated. It almost feels like another country within the U.S. to me.


dulwichmum said...

It looks stunning. I love those wooden houses. There are a couple in the village here and they look stunning.

Brett said...

Hi Aims just awarded you my Blog of the week, there's a short post and you can pick up the award on my blog. As i was writing the post your comment on my blog came up on my mails, so we were both read each others blog at just the same time!

lisaschaos said...

Lovely photos and you are just making me really want to visit! The bridge I'm no so sure about - that's really long - what if it's weak somewhere - yeah I'm with bridges how you are with snakes. :)

Mickle in NZ said...

Dear Aims

no wonder you felt chilled by the approach - I find it very eyrie and alarming. I guess because there isn't any stretch of water ove a lake like it here.

Yet I used to love the days we'd look out over the top of a sea fog covering Wellington Harbour when I was a child. Maybe it was because I could be so far above it all just from the windows at home?

Thank you, thank you, for another wonderful post,

much love, Michelle xoxoxox

and Zebbycat (just left the room to check out his food bowls in the kitchen, lol)

Cathy said...

Hello Aims
Haven't visited for a while but am catching up on your trip. Sounds even more interesting with each instalment.
That bridge is even longer than the one we crossed when we went to PEI - called the Confederation Bridge - I thought that was long enough lol

Some time soon I am going to try making those Angels we spoke about a while ago - just have one question tho' - what gauge of wire did you find best?
Take care
ps saw Benjamin Button end of last year, going against popular thoughts but I can't put it on my favourite movie list. Just something about it I didn't like.

Anonymous said...

You have some lovely photos here. I think the first house is beautiful and very colonial looking, romantic and dreamy.

8 ft of water, omg. We have no idea do we.

CJ xx

BT said...

What a fantastic post aims. That bridge is amazing, I'd love to drive over it, it must feel wierd. I love the houses on the other side too and what a great encounter you had with that lovely couple. I think you really must move there you know.

Fabulous photos too, I haven't seen the Brad Pitt film but will look out for it now, and the lighthouse.

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

What wonderful pictures Aims, and I can see how amazing that bridge is, disappearing into the distance! M xx

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