A Brief History of Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana
Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana is one of the fastest growing parishes in the state and also a major hub for tourists and travelers. Generally referred to as “Northshore” or “North Shore”, it is located next to the scenic Lake Pontchartrain. The parish falls in a highly affluent demographic and is also famous for its checkered history.
A Brief History Of Saint Tammany Parish
The French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville was the first European to visit present day Saint Tammany Parish in 1699. He described in his journals that the lakes that surround the area were among the finest and one of the prettiest places he had seen, with level ground and beautiful lakes. Prior to this, there had been colonies of Indians here with the tribes of Colapissas, Bayou Golas, Chickasaw and Biloxi being the prominent ones. However, there is very little documented history of this period. Among European settlers, the first people here were the French. They started businesses and industries that revolved around products obtained from the forests.
The 18th century saw the onset of the French and Indian War which led to the West Florida becoming a part of the British Empire. The period after the American Revolutionary War saw a number of British loyalists settling down here to escape persecution in the 13 colonies. By the end of the 18th century, the area had been annexed by American forces and became a part of the United States of America.
President James Madison claimed West Florida as a part of Louisiana in 1810 and created the present St Tammany Parish. It was named after an American Indian leader, Tamanend, who had concluded peace talks with William Penn and was generally respected by American diplomats. It is the only parish in Louisiana that is not named after a Roman Catholic Saint.
In the early years of the parish, there were only notable towns: Covington (the present day parish seat) and Madisonville (a shipbuilding town). The 1830’s saw the creation of the town of Mandeville, which was initially a recreational spot for wealthy New Orlenians. Many people believed that ozone was emitted by a number of trees in the area, and that it had miraculous curative properties. The influx of visitors due to this led to a regular ferry service being founded on the Lake Pontchartrain. Many new resorts started coming up in the region and the Town of Abita Springs was founded around this period. Construction of a railroad in the 1880’s connected all the towns to each other and fueled further development.
High speed road connections led to the growth of the entire parish and urban communities started springing up. The city of Slidell, on the eastern side of the parish, is one of the first examples of suburban sprawls in the region. The western towns started seeing fast development in the 1950’s. The late 1950’s period saw more urbanization, though the parish continued to be mainly rural.
By the early 2000’s the population of St Tammany Parish had grown to a sizable 2,00,000. It was also one of the worst affected areas in the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005. Many towns were flooded and there was major destruction of infrastructure during the floods that followed.
As of 2014 though, the region is back on its feet, with business and communities prospering better than ever before.
Saint Tammany Parish Bright Future
Saint Tammany Parish is also known as the North Shore as in the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. This area is connected to the Greater New Orleans area by the 24 mile long Lake Pontchartrain Bridge plus the twin-span on the east side going from New Orleans to Slidell. The Lake Pontchartrain Bridge is a nice scenic ride on a clear day. At the 12 mile point you can see both shorelines of the north and south. The whole area of the I-12 or Interstate 12 corridor is booming with an explosion of building of commercial shopping centers that are of the latest design. The history of Saint Tammany Parish has made it what it is today, a wonderful place to visit and live.