Huey P. Long Bridge HAER survey documents the old bridge.
Huey P. Long Bridge HAER survey
The first bridge to cross the Mississippi River in Louisiana, the Huey P. Long Bridge links the east and west banks of Jefferson Parish. The bridge opened in December, 1935. US Senator (and former Governor) Huey Pierce Long died on September 8, 1935. Therefore, the state named the bridge after him. So, the railroads switched from ferrying trains across the river to taking the bridge.
The National Park Service completed a HAER (Historic American Engineering Record) survey of the bridge in 1968. The Library of Congress houses HAER surveys.
There are 213 photos of the bridge in the HAER collection. The Huey P. Long Bridge HAER survey is HAER LA-17. Here are the notes attached to the link:
– Significance: The Huey P. Long Bridge, the first bridge to cross the Mississippi River in Louisiana, was named for governor during whose administration it was built. is still considered a major engineering accomplishment and was recognized as the world’s longest steel trestle railroad bridge at 22,996′ (4.36 miles of structure) in length. It has two railroad tracks between two trusses and two, two-lane highways bracketed to the outside. It was built during the depression of the 1930s at a cost of $12.8 million. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
– Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N1071
– Survey number: HAER LA-17
– Building/structure dates: 1935 Initial Construction
LOC archives a number of surveys for Louisiana locations. The government also does Historic American Building Surveys (HABS). Many exist for New Orleans buildings, like the old Canal Station streetcar barn.
The Old Huey
HABS/HAER documentation is valuable. Researchers step back in time. In the case of the Huey, the bridge underwent a major expansion. The state started that expansion in 2008. They completed the work in 2012.
The expansion removed the narrow auto lanes. So, no more tales of trying to pass an 18-wheeler as they head across the river! The HAER survey preserves the old bridge and the memories.