O-K Line: Railroad Collision at Southport, 1926

Stop 2 of 4 in the O-K Rail Line, Kenner to New Orleans tour

On the evening of November 18, 1926, a railcar of the Orleans-Kenner Traction Co. (popularly called the "O-K Line") was traveling through Southport when it was hit by the rear end of a Louisiana Railway & Navigation Co. train. An L. R. & N. engine was backing a string of boxcars toward the river on one of its switch tracks and collided with the O-K car, which had not yet cleared the crossing.

The impact flipped the streetcar on its side and derailed two of the L. R. & N. boxcars. Though one passenger was hurled through one of the windows and others were trampled in the overturned car, no deaths or serious injuries resulted. The sturdy steel construction of the O-K car was credited with saving the lives of all passengers on board. The L. R. & N. Railroad was blamed for the accident because they were reportedly operating without lights.

The accident occurred just west of the Orleans/Jefferson Parish line along present-day Jefferson Highway, which developed along the O-K tracks in the 1920s and immediately contributed to the line's decline.

Due to the industrial character of the Southport area, the O-K Line had to cross numerous railroad tracks upon entering Jefferson Parish. In addition to the L. R. & N., the factories and warehouses of Southport were served by the the Illinois Central (I. C.), Yazoo & Mississippi Valley (Y. & M. V.), and New Orleans Public Belt (N. O. P. B.) Railroads, among others. A few switch tracks and remnants of industry from this area remain and can be seen along Jefferson Highway in Southport.

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