More than six decades after it opened as one of the country’s trailblazing communities for middle-class Black Americans, Pontchartrain Park has received official designation on the National Register of Historic Places.
The honor was announced late last month, just about 65 years after Pontchartrain Park opened. Constructed for $15 million, the self-contained neighborhood on the lakeside of Gentilly featured 1,000 modern homes, a massive public park and golf course spread across roughly 400 acres.
Pontchartrain Park’s placement on the NRHP was long-sought, hard-earned, and heartily welcomed by the people who’d fought for the official recognition for their beloved home community.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to represent such a remarkable neighborhood filled with so much history,” said Gretchen Bradford, president of the Pontchartrain Park Neighborhood Association. “The acknowledgment of Pontchartrain Park on the National Registry is significant because it is an additional contribution to African-American history.
“This moment for the residents of Pontchartrain Park is powerful because our history is finally being recognized,” she added. “I am honored to have lived my entire life in such a great community.”
Carrie Mingo Douglas, chairwoman of the PPNA’s Historic District Committee, said the national honor symbolizes the lives, stories, challenges, and accomplishments of the residents, past and present, of a proud, influential neighborhood.
“This honor is a tribute to those first residents, the pioneers, who took a space and made it into a desirable community to raise their families, to educate their children, and live the American dream,” Mingo Douglas said. “Just knowing that I was a part of Pontchartrain Park getting national recognition makes me feel very proud.”
By Ryan Whirty
Louisiana Weekly Contributing Writer
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