Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Broadside advertising a day trip to Donaldsonville, 1930. (courtesy LaRC)

Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair – Ride the train from New Orleans

Advertisement for a special round-trip train to take students from New Orleans to the Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair, October 3, 1930. The train departed Uptown New Orleans at 8am and returned at 7:15pm. While that’s a long day for kids, it was a fun day!

The “official” Louisiana State Fair is held in Shreveport, Louisiana. Today, New Orleans to Shreveport requires a five-hour car trip. The typical route is I-10 to Lafayette, then I-49 to Shreveport. Before the Interstate Highway System, the trip required travel on US highways and state roads. Therefore it took longer.

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Autos entering the South Louisiana State Fair grounds, ca 1925

A “South Louisiana State Fair” attracted people who didn’t want to travel to the northwestern corner of the state. While autos traveled the roads of Louisiana in 1930, many people didn’t own a car. So, the train enabled kids to go to the state fair.

Texas and Pacific Railroad

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Cover for a route map, Texas and Pacific Railroad, 1906.

The Texas and Pacific Railroad operated from 1871 to 1976. The Missouri Pacific Railroad acquired the railroad in 1928. While MP owned T&P, they operated it separately.

The T&P planned a southern transcontinental connection, between Marshall, Texas and San Diego.  The T&P met up with the Southern Pacific railroad. SP expanded from California.

The Texas & Pacific/Missouri Pacific Terminal in New Orleans

donaldsonville south louisiana state fair

Texas and Pacific Terminal, Annunciation Street, ca 1920. (Detroit Publishing Company)

The T&P built a terminal on Annunciation and Thalia Streets in 1916. Missouri Pacific trains operated from that terminal after MP acquired T&P. The demolished the station in 1954.

Gretna Station

Donaldsonville South Louisiana State Fair

Gretna Station, 1983

Trains operating from the T&P/MP station crossed the river by ferry, basically just behind the station. The ferry carried the trains to Gretna. That’s why the stop in Gretna on the schedule. From the Fourth Street station, the train traveled to Westwego, picked up kids there. The train made no stops after Westwego, bringing kids and teachers to the Donaldsonville fair grounds.

The ferry crossing enabled the railroad to offer a stop on the west bank of New Orleans. So, passengers looking to travel on T&P/MP boarded over there. They didn’t have to come across the river.

Thanks to Lee Miller at the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane University for this great item.