The Lakeshore Subdivision, which is adjacent to the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline, grew out of the lakefront reclamation. Residences in the area range from the comfortable to the luxurious, comprising one of the wealthiest residential areas of New Orleans.
Prior to the 1920’s, the lakefront was largely marshy swampland comprised of scattered fishing shacks and camps. In an effort to develop strategies for eliminating unhealthy conditions that existed in the marshes and for providing improved levee protection from flood disasters, the Louisiana Legislature named Colonel Marcel Garsaud as Chief Engineer of the Orleans Levee Board in 1924. He was commissioned to plan and implement the reclamation and improvement of the lakefront.
Garsaud submitted a plan for a waterfront resort, a beachfront, an amusement park, and several artificial lakes. Financing was a major problem with his plan. In 1928, a Missouri engineering firm presented two compromise plans. The compromise plan that was adopted included provisions for a public park area between the lake drive and the lake, recreational features and a residential development with one section of homes fronting on the lake. The principal reason for the adoption of this plan was its potential for generating revenue to make the project self-supporting.
In 1926, prior to the adoption of the compromise plan, pumping and draining of the swamps as well as seawall construction began. By 1930, work on the lakefront plan began. The new lakeshore consisted of a stepped concrete seawall built 3,000 feet out from the shore with a filled area raised five to ten feet. Above the lake level were a beautiful public waterfront, beaches, and parks. The transformation of the lakeshore allowed for the construction of the Lakeshore/Lake Vista and Lake Terrace/Lake Oaks neighborhoods.
The twin neighborhoods of the Lakeshore development are located to the West of Lake Vista. They are bounded by the New Basin Canal, Lake Pontchartrain, the Orleans Canal, and Robert E. Lee Boulevard, renamed Allen Toussaint Boulevard in 2022. Canal Boulevard divides West Lakeshore and East Lakeshore. West Lakeshore, the former site of the Lagarde Hospital, opened for sale in 1951. East Lakeshore, the former site of Musser-Gorden Hospital, was opened in 1955.
The Lakeshore neighborhoods have a traditional design with linear streets that provide some privacy but extend to major boulevards. The area is comprised of single-family residences, apartments, and a shopping center. Lakeshore helped to transform the New Orleans lakefront from swampland into some of the City’s most valuable property.After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, while some homes and businesses flooded (especially those on and near Robert E. Lee Boulevard), the northern half of the section escaped the disastrous post-Katrina flooding of New Orleans by virtue of the higher elevation of this man-made land. Post-Katrina, the residents and owners of Lakeshore worked hard to restore the area to its past grandeur.
Today Lakeshore is a shining example of the New Orleans post-Katrina recovery renaissance.