The 25th January is coincidentally the day on which Robert Burns is remembered around the world and so in celebration of our national bard and because geography teachers are encouraged to seek cross curricular links here is how he might have described the day... !
Lake Ponchartrain is, in fact, an almost enclosed shallow estuary of several small rivers flowing south to the Gulf of Mexico east of the Mississippi delta. As the entrance to the sea is very narrow and constantly silting, seawater does not penetrate far into the lake and so it is 'brackish' rather than salty. The role of lake Pontchartrain in the coastal defences of the area is well explained in the link above and, in particular, the events of Hurricane Katrina which made landfall here, are explained.One of the things which you notice immediately on both the zoomed out and the zoomed in view of the lake is the causeway which crosses it. Despite being the longest bridge in the world, I was until today, completely unaware of its existence! The Lake Ponchartrain Causeway is actually two parallel bridges, each almost 24 miles long, the first built in 1956 and the second in 1969. They brought the North Shore into the New Orleans Metropolitan Area and made commuting a resonable proposition for the communities on the North Shore area. Because they miraculously survived Hurricane Katrina, they were a very important lifeline to the people of New Orleans in the aftermath of the hurricane. The view below looks north across the causeway towards North Shore.
...but to get back to North Shore where Mark covered most of yesterday's miles. Both of the major settlements there - Covington and Slidell, where he overnighted, have seen massive population booms in the last two and half years as a result of resettlement by people who have chosen to move out of New Orleans. And here is some of the evdence in Covington.....I guess when you are clearing trees and laying out new building plots in a hurry, you don't have time to think up street names. It would be nice to think that the new residents now have more interesting adresses than A - K street or 1st to 3rd street!
The huge building boom in both Slidell and Covington is despite the fact that the lakeside area of Slidell lay right in the path of the eye of Katrina and suffered appalling flooding and storm damage as witnessed by these Flickr images.