Metairie (Images of America)

Bucktown, East End, and West End


By 1886 Bucktown/East End had many bars and restaurants, accessible via the Carrollton Railroad and the steamer Virginia which traveled to and from Mobile, and many of the current streets had been laid out. During the late 1800s and early 1900s Bucktown was known for its gambling houses and brothels. This 1924 map section shows the streets existing in this area at that time. (Courtesy the Library of Congress.)

Because what we now call West End was for a time a part of Jefferson Parish there are many historical references calling it East End (the eastern end of Jefferson). To compound the confusion, what we know of today as Bucktown was also referred to as East End. Regardless of what it is called, the area around the 17th Canal and the former New Basin Canal (now Pontchartrain Boulevard) at Lake Pontchartrain has long been a pleasurable venue to enjoy the water, seafood, fishing, crabbing, boating, pleasant company, and good times.

Henri Bonnabel, a French born chemist who settled in New Orleans in 1825 acquired a the tract of land between what is now between Sena Drive and the Bonnabel Canal (behind property on Beverly Garden Drive), from the river to the lake. In the 1880s he built a resort at what we now Bucktown. A train carried visitors there to a dock where a ferry could be chartered to Lewisburg (near Mandeville).

Henri’s son, Alfred, donated the land where St. Louis King of France Church and school are located. Third generation Alfred E. Bonnabel further developed his grandfather’s land into the suburbs of Bath #1 and Bath #2 (later called Bonnabel Place and Old Homestead). His wife, Luella, named the Bucktown streets for figures in Greek mythology including, among others, Phosphor (Morning Star), Aurora (Goddess of the Morning), Orion (the constellation), Helios (the Sun God), Hesper (Evening Star).

The lovely plant related street names Live Oak, Ash, Poplar, Chestnut, Lilac, and Rosebud took their names from the tract of land (from Metairie Road to the lake) nurseryman and land owner Harry Papworth subdivided into the Metairie Nursery Subdivision.

Fond in the memories of older local residents are the restaurants, some on land and others on the lake. They included Sid-Mar’s, Bruning’s, Swanson’s, Fontana’s, Fitzgerald’s, My-O-My, Grover’s, Maggie and Smitty, Barts, Hong Kong, Papa Roselli’s, Rest-A-While, Joe Petrossi’s, and the White House. They are all gone now. Hurricane Katrina destroyed the last of them, Sid-Mar’s and Bruning’s.

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