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This information is pre-Katrina.
Although the information on this page is out-of-date, we are continuing to make it available, as it provides insight about this neighborhood pre-Katrina.

Post-Katrina, we will not be making any changes or updates to this page. As a result, you may find outdated information and broken links.

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Little Woods Neighborhood Snapshot

Census 2000 Data Tables: People & Household CharacteristicsHousing & Housing Costs, Income & Poverty, Transportation, Employment, Educational Attainment, Immigration & Language, Disabilities, Neighborhood Characteristics

Teaming with hundreds of Lake Pontchartrain’s famous “camps,” Little Woods (a.k.a. Edgelake) was a famous getaway spot for New Orleanians until Hurricane Georges washed away almost all of the camps in 1998.

Pieces of Edgelake/Little Woods’ history

The first lakefront land available in the city was Edgelake. The 1920s and 1930s were the heyday of lakefront developments in New Orleans. Edgelake consists of relatively high land fronting the lake for 5 miles east of the Industrial Canal.

Several feet offshore, New Orleans residents built small wooden houses on stilts, which they referred to as “fishing camps” or just “camps.” These camps were built on land owned by the Levee Board and camp owners paid no rent. Some people referred to this stretch of stilt-legged cabins that lined the lakefront as "The Poor Man’s Miami Beach."

The New Orleans History-Lake Pontchartrain Website

Moonlight Serenaders
Photo from the collection of Eugene Nunez; JPG scan by Daniel Meyer. Courtesy of Froggy's New Orleans Jazz
  Moonlight Serenaders (with Alcide Nunez on the far left) in Little Woods circa 1927.Second from left is Carl W. Satter; 3rd is banjo player Frank Chappetta; 4th is drummer John Malloy. [If you recognize others in this photo, the contributor asks that you e-mail him.]

Early jazz musicians of all races and economic classes performed in groups at the lakefront – a place where musical ideas and techniques were shared and mixed. Musicians such as Alcide "Yellow" Nunez and the Moonlight Serenaders played in clubs along the lakefront and even broadcast on local radio stations from this New Orleans resort area. "The Camps" have been immortalized in art, literature, and popular music.

Music links

Bio of Alcide "Yellow" Nunez at Froggy's New Orleans Jazz site

Jazz history along the lakeshore

In 1926, a shell road was built along the waterfront to Little Woods and residential plots in the Little Woods area were offered for sale. Promotional literature cited the natural advantages of fresh air and lake breezes. In 1965 several more subdivisions opened including Regency Park, Kenilworth, Spring Lake, Huntington Park and Lake Willow.

Lincoln Beach

In 1939, a quarter mile stretch of beach in Little Woods was set aside as a swimming area for African Americans. Finally, children of color (like white children) could find relief from the brutal summer heat somewhere other than their own water hoses. By the early 1950s, Lincoln Beach had become a vacation destination with amusement park rides and musical acts such as Fats Domino and the Ink Spots. In 1957, it was the site of the annual Negro State Fair.

Lincoln Beach was prominent in the lives of New Orleans' African American citizens until 1964. When segregation ended, Lincoln Beach began to fall into disrepair, and along with much of Lake Pontchartrain, its waters became polluted. In the last few years of the twentieth century, neighborhood organizations began to advocate for the restoration of Lincoln Beach. And in 2000, the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans dedicated significant funds to improving the ecology of Lincoln Beach in order to make its waters safe again for swimming and fishing.

Learn more...

The Lincoln Beach & the Hayne Blvd. Camps

S&WB Dedicates $2 Million Water Quality Environmental Project at Lincoln Beach

The airport


N.O. Lakefront Airport
Photo by Joel Jenkinson, courtesy of New Orleans Lakefront Airport.
  The New Orleans Lakefront Airport cost $3 million to construct on a filled-in area of Lake Pontchartrain.

New Orleans Lakefront Airport was New Orleans' main airport when it was built between 1929 and 1934 by the New Orleans Levee Board, but it was quickly outgrown. Today this airport is used for private flights only but is still a prominent feature in the neighborhood.

Fountain of the Four Winds

At the New Orleans Lakefront Airport is "Fountain of the Four Winds," one of the most famous and controversial sculptures of Enrique Alferez. Sr. Alferez was born in Mexico at the turn of the twentieth century. He fought with Pancho Villa in the Mexican Revolution and then fled to the U.S. in 1923. He studied sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago and eventually settled in New Orleans in 1929. In the 1930s the Works Progress Administration hired him to make several pieces. Before his death in 1999 at the age of 98, Sr. Alferez had become internationally famous for his Art Deco sculptures and he had stationed a large number of pieces around the city of New Orleans. From Molly Marine in the Central Business District, to numerous sculptures in City Park, Alferez's works are well represented here. The "Fountain of the Four Winds" features a particularly well-endowed male figure and, for that reason, it was the source of much controversy when it was first installed. Today it is considered one of Sr. Alferez's most brilliant pieces.

Learn more...

The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, University of New Orleans celebrates the life and work of Enrique Alférez

The Woman Marine Home Page

Economic development efforts

There has been an exodus of stores from this area in recent years and now it is the target of revitalization efforts.

The Support Center for Community Business and Economic Development offers business skills trainings and business incubator services to the community.

Satellite offices of Loyola University's Small Business Development Center and the New Orleans Minority Business Office provide technical assistance at the same site.

In 2001, Habitat for Humanity built some 20 houses in Little Woods to provide homeownership opportunities for low-income New Orleanians. Senator Mary Landrieu participated in a one of these house builds as part of the “Houses the Senate Built” program.

Learn more...

Pictures of the “Houses the Senate Built” in Little Woods

New Orleans East Economic Development Plan: Land Use Plans

Census 2000 Data Tables: People & Household CharacteristicsHousing & Housing Costs, Income & Poverty, Transportation, Employment, Educational Attainment, Immigration & Language, Disabilities, Neighborhood Characteristics

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Last modified: February 10, 2003