Mandeville, Louisiana: The Jewel of the Northshore
Though the drive across the 24-mile Causeway Bridge from Metairie (a suburb of New Orleans) is a bit long for those not used to it, you will not be disappointed when you get off and find yourself in Mandeville, Louisiana.
Ambitious Beginnings For Mandeville Louisiana
By the 1834, Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville’s family owned nearly one-third of the City of New Orleans, but Bernard had other plans. He trekked across the lake and started an incredibly successful sugar plantation on the current site of Fountainbleau State Park. He then went across Bayou Castine to the west and purchased 5,000 acres in which to build a thriving town. With the utmost respect and love of the views from this property, Bernard requested that no streets that ran along the lake be obstructed. The little town later became a popular destination for city dwellers that wanted to relax on the beach and cool off under the shade of magnolias, oaks, and pine trees. Mandeville is presently the oldest city in St. Tammany Parish and sits along the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain.
Changes Through the Years For Mandeville Louisiana
While Mandeville went through the proverbial ups and downs of the Civil War, and later during the Depression, the opening of the Causeway Bridge in 1956 drew renewed interest and investment in the area. Today it contains a beautiful marina, some of the finest restaurants on the Northshore, and a wide variety of specialty shops. Once you see the distinctive architecture (that is the perfect blend of Acadian, southern, French country, and seaside living), you will agree that Mandeville is simply gorgeous.
The city even maintains respect for its natural environment by strictly limiting development heights, setbacks from the road, and signage. They even have landscaping regulations aimed at maintaining existing vegetation and trees, as well as replacing those lost to newer developments. It also boasts hordes of species of birds, waterfowl, deer, rabbits, squirrels, and fish. It is truly a sportsman’s paradise.
Mandeville is now home to some 12,500 residents, according to recent city demographics. In what is perhaps the most highly educated group of people in the parish, over 42% of the population hold a bachelor’s degree or better. They have the highest median household incomes in the parish, and their home values are almost double the state’s average. Its schools are first-rate and only part of the reason so many people relocate to their side of the lake.
Sights and Sounds of the Historic District
The city is proud to pay homage to its founder with Fountainbleau State Park, one of only two state parks in St. Tammany Parish. This site is de Mandeville’s original plantation land. Now it has waterfront cabins for rent, several hiking trails, the ruins of the sugar mill, and lush grounds that make it the ideal retreat for visitors that prefer something off the beaten path.
The Mandeville Trailhead hosts the community farmer’s market. It is the most widely attended in the parish, with more local farmers, artists, and craftsmen in one place than any of the neighboring towns. Once the weekly music guest starts playing, it will not disappoint even the pickiest people. While there, step across the street to the depot museum that highlights the area’s rich history.
Visitors are encouraged to talk a leisurely walk or picnic lakeside on scenic Lakeshore Drive. This is a wonderful break, especially when the favorite pastime of residents- sailboating- is in full swing. In fact, the city is proud to show off its year-round, incredibly colorful sunsets, so be sure to stick around for a few.
Sunset Point Fishing Pier Park is nearby and located on Lake Pontchartrain 2 miles west of the Trailhead area. There you will find a long fishing pier that is free for all. This is one of the newest free attractions in the area. There are also covered pavilions for your picnic lunch or just sit and enjoy the cool breeze off the lake.
Still small enough to have an intimate, neighborly feel and yet large enough to provide all you could ever want to live comfortably, Mandeville is truly a jewel in the St. Tammany crown around Lake Pontchartrain.