Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Pontchartrain Beach, A Story in Old Photographs


My eBay store, katlupe's Shop

As many of my readers know, over the years I have sold on and off on eBay. Presently, I have a store, katlupe's Shop and am selling a variety of items. Mostly used items and many are my own things that I need to downsize. As you get older, you start thinking about what will happen to all that stuff. Not having a daughter means my stuff isn't the type of a stuff a son would want to inherit from me. Speaking of inheritance, when my father passed away in 2012, my husband and I were the ones cleaning his home out. He had a lot of stuff! My niece stole most of his good possessions before he was even in his grave. As not only his daughter, but his executor, I got left getting rid of mostly what I would call clutter. Some of that was old photographs.......ah, my niece overlooked the value in those!


I am selling most of them on eBay and they are selling good. What this blog post is really about is the knowledge I gain by researching the various photographs. These photos are mostly from my parents' early years together. In 1942, my father was stationed in New Orleans. There wasn't a lot of photos from New Orleans, but there are a few. The ones I found and listed on eBay (and already sold one!) was taken at Pontchartrain Beach. My parents talked often about their time in New Orleans, but I never heard them mention Pontchartrain Beach. So I had to research to list my photos. This is what I found out.

According to Wikipedia:
  "Pontchartrain Beach was an amusement park located in New Orleans, Louisiana, on the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain. It was founded by Harry J. Batt Sr. and later managed and owned by his sons, Harry J. Batt Jr. and John A. Batt. It opened in 1928, across Bayou St. John from an existing amusement resort at Old Spanish Fort. Pontchartrain Beach's original location is the present-day lakefront neighborhood of Lake Terrace. In the early 1930s, subsequent to the construction of a seawall extending from West End to the Industrial Canal that created a new shoreline for Lake Pontchartrain, Pontchartrain Beach was moved to a new location at the lake end of Elysian Fields Avenue, a location formerly offshore of Milneburg.

Milneburg Lighthouse, dating from the 1850s, predated Pontchartrain Beach, was a landmark in the park for decades, and still stands within the boundaries of the University of New Orleans Research & Technology Park. The lighthouse once rested offshore and was reached by a wooden pier. Land reclamation in the 1920s stranded it several hundred feet inland from the current lake shore.

Pontchartrain Beach included a beach with a large art deco style bathhouse and swimming pools, amusement rides (including a wooden roller coaster called the Zephyr), and concession stands. The park featured live music concerts, including many local musicians and touring national acts such as Elvis Presley."


Pontchartrain Beach opened in 1939, a little time later, our country prepared for war. The area around the park became a tent city military base for the young enlisted men. Of which, my father was one. Camp Leroy Johnson and Camp Polk were within walking distance and the Navy used the parking lot at the beach as a drill station. Harry Batt Sr. gave the men in uniform half price tickets for rides and games as well as inexpensive entertainment for young soldiers needing some relaxation and entertainment who had war on their minds.



Cockeyed Circus

The photo, I sold? It was this one, which on the back my father had written, "Pontchartrain Beach, Cockeyed Circus" and it sold in a matter of hours after listing it. I wondered about that name, "Cockeyed Circus" and was that just my father joking around? Nope, that is what the name of it was. I researched it and found elsewhere on the internet: "The clown was part of a ride called the Cockeyed Circus, a fun house of distorting mirrors, slanted floors, and gusts of air that blew up ladies’ skirts." (quote from Denise Trowbrdge)

New Orleans 1942


If you have a lot of old photographs and don't know what to do with them or wonder what will happen to them after you are gone. Maybe selling them on eBay will help you to bring in some extra money, as well as, putting them in a collector's hands instead of ending up in a landfill somewhere. I am pleased to see mine go to a good home.





Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2015 Kathleen G. Lupole

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