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Lake Pontchartrain
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Jefferson Parish Main Page

Lake Pontchartrain

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2010 - 2017.

Lake Pontchartrain is not a true lake but rather a brackish estuary connected to the Gulf of Mexico via the Rigolets strait and to Lake Borgne (also not a true lake) through the Chef Menteur Pass. It covers an area of 630 square miles and is about 40 miles long and 24 miles wide with an average depth of about 12 to 14 feet. The lake was formed 2,600 to 4,000 years ago when the Mississippi River Delta built alluvial deposits on the southern and eastern shorelines.

People first settled this area at least 3,500 years ago. The Native American name was Okwata which means "Wide Water". In 1699, French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville renamed it Pontchartrain after Louis Phélypeaux, comte de Pontchartrain, the French Minister of the Marine, Chancellor of France and Controller-General of Finances during the reign of Louis XIV.

This body of water receives fresh water from the Amite, Bogue Falaya, Tangipahoa, Tchefuncte, and Tickfaw, Rivers, and from Bayous Lacombe and Chinchuba. Lake Maurepas, a true fresh water lake, connects with Lake Pontchartrain on the west via Pass Manchac. The Industrial Canal in New Orleans connects it to the Mississippi River. Bonnet Carré Spillway diverts water from the Mississippi into the lake during times of river flooding.

The lake lie in the southeast corner of Louisiana and covers parts of six parishes, (in order of largest to smallest) St. Tammany, Orleans, Jefferson, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, and Tangipahoa.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, connecting New Orleans (by way of Metairie) with Mandeville.. The Causeway is 24 miles long which makes it the longest bridge over a body of water in the world.
Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, at 24 miles, it is the longest in the world.

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This page last updated: Wednesday, 13-Jan-2016 23:13:11 EST

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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