Pontchartrain Causeway Assoc. vs. Watson-Williams & Co.

Stop 1 of 4 in the Bridging Lake Pontchartrain tour

The Times-Picayune reported substantially on updates regarding two bids which the Louisiana Highway Commission was deliberating. Sometimes the paper printed multiple stories per day, from late 1924 until a decision was made in February 1925. One proposal sought to cross the Pontchartrain at the West End with a 23-mile stretch to Mandeville in St. Tammany.

The other, proposed by Watson, Williams, and Company, would cross the Pontchartrain at a narrower path, from an area known as Little Woods in eastern New Orleans into Slidell. The latter required only five miles of bridge over the Lake, but an additional 10 miles of approach was also needed.

Images

Laying Out the Differences

Laying Out the Differences

The Pontchartrain Causeway Association's argument offers a picturesque future for the area if their project is chosen. Courtesy of The Times-Picayune View File Details Page

And Why the Watson-Williams Proposal is Inferior

And Why the Watson-Williams Proposal is Inferior

A heated and at times contentious battle for public opinion lasted during months of deliberation by the Commission over the two proposals, according to Times-Picayune articles and editorials. Groups favoring one or the other consistently used the paper in attempts to drum up support. This excerpt exemplifies how ridiculous some of the attempts were, particularly considering that the public had little or no sway over the Commission's decision. View File Details Page

Jockeying From Both Sides

Jockeying From Both Sides

Proponents of the Watson-Williams Project also published their own elaborate propaganda in the Times-Picayune. This map well depicts both proposed routes. Watson-Williams investors argued that the relative distance traveled from the heart of the city to destinations on the Northshore would be much less substantial if the route proposed by Watson and Williams were to be selected. Courtesy of The Times-Picayune View File Details Page

Watson-Williams, & Co. Reported to Win Rights

Watson-Williams, & Co. Reported to Win Rights

At the end of February 1925, the rights for bridging the Pontchartrain were granted to Watson, Williams and Company. This front-page clipping illustrates how controversial this decision was considered to be. The left-side column is a Times-Picayune editorial plea expressing both their discontent and their warning that it would be a grave mistake to follow through with said decision. Courtesy of The Times-Picayune View File Details Page

The Pontchartrain Causeway Association Propaganda

The Pontchartrain Causeway Association Propaganda

One interested in viewing the complete document can see how much effort went into winning public opinion. Sponsored by the Pontchartrain Causeway Association, their biased assessment suggests that the public supported the Pontchartrain Causeway bridge over the Watson-Williams Bridge. Courtesy of The Times-Picayune View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Graham Cooper, “Pontchartrain Causeway Assoc. vs. Watson-Williams & Co.,” New Orleans Historical, accessed April 30, 2017, http://neworleanshistorical.org/items/show/347.
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