||The City of Slidell
Slidell was founded around 1882 during construction of a major new railroad from New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi connecting there with Cincinnati, Ohio and eventually with New York, NY. The New Orleans and Northeastern (N.O.N.E.) Railroad established a building camp at first high ground north of Lake Pontchartrain which eventually grew into the city. Slidell was chartered as a town in 1888 by the Louisiana legislature. Sometime prior to Slidell’s formal incorporation in 1888, its first streets were laid out in a grid pattern, mostly east of the railroad, running three blocks along the road by four blocks deep. Bonfouca Street, now Bayou Lane, lay in the short stretch between the railroad and the bayou. East of the tracks, the north-south streets were Bayou (now Front), First, Second, Third, and Fourth. The east-west streets were Fremaux, Erlanger, Bouscaren and Cousin.
In the 1960’s, Slidell began to assume its modern profile as the middle of three local sites in NASA’s lunar landing program: Michoud assembly facility in New Orleans, the computer facility in Slidell, and the Mississippi test facility in Hancock County, Mississippi.
St. Tammany Parish
Like the surrounding regions of the Florida parishes, St. Tammany’s pre-history was characterized by several phases of indigenous Native American development. The original nomadic hunters who traversed the region in the decades following the last ice age gave way to a more sedentary mound building culture as life changed from the constant hunt for large Paleolithic animals to reliance on the types of wildlife we recognize today. With the mound building culture came not only the great temple mounds which can still be found in certain areas of the modern region, but also more productive farming techniques that allowed for permanency in residence.
The construction of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway accelerated the migration to St. Tammany while the construction of I-12 placed the region at the epicenter of progress. The parish began to develop as a bedroom community. Suburban sprawl first took root in and around Slidell in the eastern part of the parish. The Causeway (completed in 1956) linked suburban Metairie with western St. Tammany and growth gathered momentum in towns like Mandeville, Covington, and Madisonville. While St. Tammany was sparsely populated and almost wholly rural in the 1950’s, its population exceeded 200,000 in the wake of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall in 2005. St. Tammany today enjoys status as the most prosperous parish in Louisiana, sporting a thriving economy and one of the highest rated school systems in the state.