Old Hammond Highway

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Old Hammond Highway is the popular designation for the surviving portion of an unfinished highway between New Orleans and Hammond, Louisiana constructed during the 1920s and 1930s. The road currently extends from the intersection of Pontchartrain Boulevard and West Robert E. Lee Boulevard in New Orleans (Orleans Parish) to Chickasaw Avenue in Metairie (Jefferson Parish), a distance of 0.7 miles. The portion in Orleans Parish is signed as "NO-Hammond Hwy" while the portion in Jefferson Parish, which is also Louisiana Highway 613-1 (LA 613-1), is signed as "Metairie-Hammond Hwy." The route was superseded first by U.S. Highways 51 and 61 and later by Interstates 10 and 55.

History[edit]

State Route 33 marker

State Route 33
Route information
Existed: 1924 – 1955
Section 1
Length: 4.02 mi (6.47 km)
South end: US 61 (Airline Highway) in New Orleans
North end: End state maintenance towards Kenner
Section 2
Length: 66.62 mi (107.21 km)
South end: US 51 / SR 53 at Frenier Community
North end: US 51 at Mississippi state line
Highway system
  • Louisiana Highway System

Louisiana State Route 33 (LA 33) was the state highway designation of the New Orleans-Hammond Lakeshore Highway in Louisiana. It was one of two state routes (the other being LA 3 that were severed into multiple sections by 1955.

The New Orleans-Hammond Lakeshore Highway had been planned for several years when, in 1921, it was designated as part of LA 33, one of the original 98 routes in the pre-1955 Louisiana highway system. The proposed route began at the intersection of South Carrollton Avenue and the New Basin Canal, proceeding north on Pontchartrain Boulevard alongside the canal to West End. It would then turn west to follow the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain through Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. John the Baptist Parishes and parallel present-day I-55/U.S. 51 north to Hammond in Tangipahoa Parish.[1]

At that time, all that existed outside of New Orleans was the section between Ponchatoula and Hammond. Construction began in May 1923 to extend the highway south from Ponchatoula to Frenier near the present intersection of I-10 and I-55/U.S. 51. This was achieved by dredging a canal through the swamp between Lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas and piling up the spoils on the side of the canal to form an embankment which was then surfaced with gravel and shells.[2] A timber bridge with steel draw span was constructed across Pass Manchac,[3] and there were numerous smaller bridges across other waterways. The highway was officially opened on April 1, 1927 with formal dedication following three weeks later.[4]

The connection to New Orleans was made by following State Route 53 (the Ory Cutoff), paralleling present-day U.S. 51 from Frenier to LaPlace, and State Route 1 (the Jefferson Highway) into New Orleans. This was intended to be a temporary measure until the remainder of the route along Lake Pontchartrain was completed. Nevertheless, the highway distance between New Orleans and Hammond was reduced from 90.5 miles to 68 miles by eliminating a circuitous route around the eastern side of Lake Pontchartrain through Slidell, Mandeville, and Covington.[5]

It later became part of U.S. Highway 51 (which departed from the lakeshore road at Frenier and continued south to Laplace) and was eventually blacktopped. Over the years, the road suffered from subsidence and was replaced by a new Highway 51 in the late 1950s. This road was then replaced in the 1980s by the present U.S. 51 / I-55 elevated roadway. The former alignment of U.S. 51 lies just to the east of the current alignment and serves as a frontage road. The original 1927 road can be seen just to the east of the 1950s road but is not drivable.

Whether or not the portion of the New Orleans-Hammond Highway between Frenier and the St. Charles/Jefferson Parish Line was actually constructed is debatable. According to the 1945 edition of the Jefferson Parish Yearly Review, two miles of the roadway embankment in this section was severed in 1933 for the construction of the Bonnet Carré Spillway.

The remaining section through Jefferson Parish and into New Orleans was likely constructed sometime between 1929 and 1933. The 1929 Sanborn map showing the Bucktown and West End neighborhoods on the Orleans/Jefferson Parish Line shows it as still being under construction in that area. The 1945 edition of the Jefferson Parish Yearly Review states that at the time the Bonnet Carre Spillway was constructed in 1933, the road through Jefferson Parish was "entirely usable." The roadway embankment provided the only flood protection for the community of Metairie from the waters of Lake Pontchartrain. By 1945, it had eroded considerably and was no longer adequate in terms of flood protection. That year, construction of the current levee system was proposed. Today less than a mile of the road, lying on either side of the 17th Street Canal on the Jefferson/Orleans Parish Line, still exists.

Baton Rouge-Hammond Highway[edit]

Old Hammond Highway is also the name of a road in East Baton Rouge Parish that was part of the original Baton Rouge-Hammond Highway, constructed in the late 1910s and early 1920s. This highway was designated as part of State Route 7 in 1921 and U.S. 190 in 1926. It was bypassed in 1941 when Florida Street was extended from Baton Rouge east to the Amite River Bridge,[6] and both route designations were moved onto the new route. The old route became State Route 7D until the 1955 Louisiana Highway renumbering when it was given its current designation as Louisiana Highway 426 (LA 426).

Another portion of the original Baton Rouge-Hammond Highway was bypassed in 1929[7] and is known as "Old Baton Rouge Highway." This road is now LA 1040 and runs between Hammond and a point south of Albany.

See also[edit]

  • LA 613-1 (part of the Old Hammond Highway still in use)
  • LA 426 (Old Hammond Highway in Baton Rouge)

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Times-Picayune, July 1, 1923
  2. ^ The Times-Picayune, May 23, 1923
  3. ^ The Times-Picayune, April 17, 1927
  4. ^ The Times-Picayune, April 2, 1927
  5. ^ The Times-Picayune, March 20, 1927
  6. ^ The Advocate, August 10, 1940
  7. ^ The Times-Picayune, May 26, 1929