Town of Lake Catherine

Stop 6 of 6 in the Lake Catherine & the Rigolets tour

While inside the fort, climb to the top of the parapet in the far right corner (when viewed from the entryway). Look in a south-easterly direction across the lake towards a strip of land with some trees (see photo 1) and you will see marsh where the town used to sit.

The town of Lake Catherine was a rural marsh community accessible only by water or railroad. The town was settled sometime in the 1800's around a train depot, and the residents lived off of what they could either hunt or catch. Fur trapping and fishing sustained most of the residents. The end of passenger railroad service in the mid-1900's forced many of the residents to relocate along the Chef Menteur Highway where they could have easier access to transportation.

Reminiscent of the maroon communities that settled here in the early days of New Orleans, these settlers supplied each other with fish and game or whatever else they could obtain from their environment.Through the early 1900's, the town's lodges were segregated due to Jim Crow laws; African-Americans had to walk a half-mile down the tracks to the colored-only lodge. However, these two communities often traded goods back and forth, and during the holidays everyone attended the parties no matter who was giving it. These small villages are now all but abandoned or washed away by storms and time.

For additional information on the town of Lake Catherine or to download an oral history interview transcription, visit the Town of Lake Catherine exhibit in NOLAcitymuseum: http://nolacitymuseum.org/exhibits/show/lake-catherine.

Images

Direction of the Town of Lake Catherine

Direction of the Town of Lake Catherine

The town was founded near the railroad tracks where it intersected Unknown Pass. View File Details Page

Lake Catherine Welcome Sign

Lake Catherine Welcome Sign

Placed by the Fort Pike Carnival Club, this sign welcomes travelers to Lake Saint Catherine as they pass along Chef Menteur Highway. It is located just beyond Fort Macomb and the Rigolets Pass bridge. View File Details Page

Distant view of the town of Lake Catherine.

Distant view of the town of Lake Catherine.

Photo circa 1950. View File Details Page

A-Frame Camp

A-Frame Camp

Camp near Unknown Pass at the edge of the town. Photo taken in 1976. View File Details Page

Crab Net

Crab Net

Crabbing off the pier, 1938. View File Details Page

Skinning Game

Skinning Game

Skinning nutria to dry out the pelts, circa 1980. View File Details Page

Fiddler

Fiddler

Playing the fiddle at the Winchester Club, circa 1940. View File Details Page

Train Station

Train Station

Photo from outside the Lake Catherine train station and Section Foreman house, circa 1950s. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

“Town of Lake Catherine,” New Orleans Historical, accessed March 27, 2017, http://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/121.
comments powered by Disqus

Share this Story