New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Saturday, August 24, 2019
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Higgins Huts

During WW II Higgins built ships and landing craft for the US Navy. At their factory in Gentilly, where Gentilly Woods presently stands, were plywood homes called Higgins Huts. I believe these were built for employees of Higgins.

After the war Military Veterans were allowed to rent these Huts as they were called. Two of my sisters were married to Veterans, one Navy and one Army vet. Both these sisters lived for a period in these Higgins Huts. One of my sisters lived in one of these Huts right where I-10 presently crosses Downman Road I believe. The other lived in a Hut on the other side of Gentilly Road where Gentilly Woods presently occupies the land. I visited this sister almost every weekend from the Devil’s Elbow. It seemed to be far in the country to us small fry.

My sister’s Hut was all the way to the back of the complex and the border back there was a small canal. I used to tie luncheon meat onto a string and drop it into that canal and would catch buckets of crawfish for boiling on an open fire later that evening. Across this canal was a wide pasture where a very large, scary Bramah bull
Lurked waiting for us to make a mad dash across that pasture to jump through a barbed wire fence.

The reason we did that was to make it to the railroad tracks that ran next to the Baptist College. We’d follow those tracks toward the lake where we had found a large pond to swim. So each weekend was an adventure of crawfishing, beating the bull across that pasture and going skinny dipping in that pond.

Looking at a map of New Orleans now, it seems a golf course and subdivision is located where that pasture and old swimming hole was. As far as I know, the Baptist College is still there, but I think th railroad tracks are long gone.
Whenever I see Steven King’s movie, “Stand By Me’” I am reminded of us racing that bull and following those railroad tracks in Gentilly behind the Higgins Huts to that old swimming hole.