CROSSING THE CAUSEWAY: The Mesmerizing Drive Across Lake Pontchartrain

Following the exciting September 28-30 New Orleans Auction, what better way to celebrate your winning bid than by taking your newly acquired collector car for a Sunday spin? Situated just 9 miles from the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center lies the entrance to the Northward Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. This remarkable raised highway stretches over 24 miles, spanning Lake Pontchartrain, and serves as the connection between Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, and the historic community of Mandeville, Louisiana.

The causeway initially welcomed its first visitors in 1956 and subsequently celebrated a second grand opening in 1969. Throughout the years, the causeway has emerged as an iconic structure, garnering mentions in various books, songs and even making appearances in notable films such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Since 1969, it has held the esteemed title, as recognized by the Guinness World Records, of being the longest bridge over continuous water worldwide. Both the north- and southbound bridges are supported by an impressive array of 9,500 concrete pilings. A journey across the bridge in a single direction typically takes approximately 30 minutes.

Lake Pontchartrain is an expansive brackish estuary that boasts a unique blend of slightly salty water due to its connection with various Northshore rivers, bayous and the Gulf of Mexico through the Rigolets Strait and Lake Borgne. Covering approximately 630 square miles, this remarkable body of water spans around 40 miles from east to west and 24 miles from north to south. Its average depth ranges between 12 and 14 feet, making it a notable aquatic environment.

Upon reaching the Northshore, Mandeville presents numerous opportunities to indulge in the splendor of Lake Pontchartrain. The area boasts several points of interest, such as the Sunset Point Fishing Pier, which offers a serene location for angling enthusiasts. Additionally, there are restaurants with captivating lake views, providing a delightful dining experience. A marina is also available for those seeking to embark on boating adventures, while various parks offer a chance to further enrich your visit. To explore the lake up close, kayak, paddleboard and canoe rentals are readily accessible, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings.

For those eager to engage in fishing activities on the lake, heading east towards Slidell is recommended. This vibrant city is situated on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain and serves as a hub for numerous fishing charters. You can easily find a wide selection of fishing charters operating in the area, offering exciting opportunities to embark on fishing expeditions and explore the bountiful waters of the lake. Whether you are a seasoned angler or a novice seeking a memorable fishing experience, Slidell provides a convenient and thriving location to jump aboard one of the many available fishing charters.

If you venture west from Mandeville, you can partake in the delightful experience of guided boat rentals offered at Fairview-Riverside State Park. These rentals allow you to explore the scenic Tchefuncte River as it meanders towards the mouth where it meets Lake Pontchartrain. As you journey along the river, you will have the opportunity to witness the captivating Madisonville Lighthouse. Originally constructed in 1832, this historic landmark endured destruction during the Civil War but was subsequently rebuilt in 1868, utilizing many of the original bricks. The lighthouse stands as a testament to the rich history of the area and offers a picturesque sight for visitors to enjoy during their boat excursion.

Another notable attraction around Lake Pontchartrain is the charming built-over-water cabins at Fontainebleau State Park. These unique cabins offer a picturesque and serene setting, allowing guests to rest their heads while listening to the soothing sounds of the waves lapping beneath them. If you decide to extend your visit and stay the night, these cabins provide an idyllic accommodation option. Nestled within the natural beauty of Fontainebleau State Park, they offer a tranquil retreat where you can immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of the lake.

Embarking on a drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is an experience that combines awe-inspiring engineering, breathtaking views and a sense of adventure. As you travel the bridge spanning the expansive Lake Pontchartrain, you’ll be captivated by the surrounding beauty and the knowledge that you’re traversing a true icon. Whether it’s the first time or a repeat journey, the causeway never fails to leave a lasting impression. So buckle up, soak in the panoramic vistas and embark on a memorable drive across the lake, where the connection between Metairie and Mandeville becomes an extraordinary experience in its own right.

Embarking on a drive across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is an experience that combines awe-inspiring engineering, breathtaking views and a sense of adventure.