The Lakes of Pontchartrain

The Lakes Of Pontchartrain

The Lakes of Pontchartrain

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The Lakes of Pontchartrain is an Irish ballad about an unfortunate immigrant from Ireland who is given shelter by a beautiful Louisiana Creole woman. He falls in love with her and asks her to marry him, but she is already promised to a sailor and declines the offer.


The song is named for and set on the shores of the major estuarine waterbodies of the , including Lakes Maurepas, Pontchartrain, and Borgne. Lake Pontchartrain forms the northern boundary of New Orleans, while Lake Maurepas is west of Lake Pontchartrain and connected to Lake Pontchartrain by Pass Manchac and North Pass. Lake Borgne is east of Lake Pontchartrain and connects to Lake Pontchartrain through the GIWW/IHNC, Pass Rigolets, and Chef Menteur Pass. Lake Borgne extends into Mississippi Sound and therefore is directly connected to the Gulf of Mexico.


The exact origin of the song is unknown, though it is commonly held to have originated in the southern United States in the 19th century. In the liner notes of Déanta's album Ready for the Storm, which includes the song, it is described as a "traditional Creole love song." The liner notes accompanying Planxty's version state that the tune was probably brought back by soldiers fighting for the British or French armies in Louisiana and Canada in the War of 1812. Although the tune might date to that period, the popular lyrics undoubtedly came much later, since they tell of taking a railway train from New Orleans to "Jackson...
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