The Mandeville Lakefront, 1834. This passive park, about one mile in length, was set apart by protective covenant by the town’s founder, Jean Bernard Xavier Phillippe de Marigny de Mandeville (1785-1868). On Lake Pontchartrain (so named in 1699 by Pierre LeMoyne, Sieur d’Iberville for the French Minister of Marine, Louis Phelypaux, Count de Pontchartrain), this is Mandeville’s heart and soul. Once there were numerous private and public wharves, steamer traffic, an electric rail car, and bath houses. All that remains of the golden age (1870-1930) is the gazebo, which has been rebuilt many times (2100 block) and the fountain, once fed by a natural spring (2200 block).
From a letter by Pere Pierre Alphonse Chocarne, May 17, 1867 – "to Mandeville, which nestles near the border of the lake with neighboring villas and charming summer residences stretching along the shore…..Then came the fury of a tropical storm, succeeded by the magnificent sunset in the midst of clouds of gold and fire seen beyond the giant trees.”
It is a Mandeville we all recognize today even though the letter was written over 10 years ago. And the lakefront’s beautiful sunsets, unpredictable tropical weather and massive oaks remain the heart and soul.