Lake Pontchartrain / Causeway History

Lake Pontchartrain was named for the Count de Pontchartrain who served as minister of finance during the reign of France’s “Sun King,” Louis XIV for whom Louisiana is named. Lake Pontchartrain and the Causeway comprise one of America’s most famous scenic attractions. The lake is home to a wide variety of fish and shellfish, ducks and other kinds of waterfowl. Pelicans are making a comeback in the lake as well. Ancient trees festooned with Spanish moss mark the lake’s edges. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation has made extraordinary progress in recent years in making the lake clean and beautiful. The Causeway Spans 24 miles and is the longest bridge over water in the world. The bridge’s parallel spans are made of pre­stressed panels supported by over 9,000 concrete pilings. The first span opened to the public in 1956, the second in 1969. The result was one ­way driving safety on straight, two­ lane railed surfaces 80 ­feet apart connected by seven crossovers that function as pull­over areas for auto emergencies.