Bridge towers changed a way of life in St. Charles
Newspapers are published mainly for reading news. But pictures can sometimes deliver a message that the printed word cannot.
The Herald-Guide begins today publishing photos, many from out of the past, that tell such a story. Today’s picture of the unfinished Hale Boggs Bridge reflects the difference that one structure can make in the lifestyle of a parish.
Before its completion, travellers from east to west banks and vice versa waited in long lines sometimes for up to an hour to get on the ferry. And then it took additional travel time to maneuver the river crossing. Today, we’re a zip away from the other side and a continuation of our journeys.
The unusual view in today’s picture of the two towers of the bridge without their suspended arms will never be seen again. And it is the beginning of the end of a long era of travel in St. Charles Parish.
There was a social aspect of crossing by ferry from bank to bank. It interrupted travel, for sure, but it gave folks a chance to talk about the events of the day while waiting in the line and while onboard. We found out where our fellow parishioners were going and what they were doing that night.
We don’t do that anymore, at least not while we’re crossing the river. We’re too busy driving non-stop to our destinations.
Indeed, the building of the Hale Boggs Bridge changed the lifestyle of local residents perhaps more than any other development in history. It was definitely a measure of progress in travel. It also helped to unite our parish and put east and west bankers on the same page.
But we do, in a way, miss the good old days when we would take a breather along the banks of the river or onboard the ferry and chat with our neighbors about what’s going on in the world. It was usually an interesting ride.
Future pictures will also tell a story about St. Charles – – some good and bad aspects of its existence in the past and present. Stay tuned.