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Mandeville is on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, across the lake from New Orleans and south of Interstate 12 in St. Tammany Parish.
Mandeville is the name of two villages in Normandy, France. It means “big farm” (from Magna Villa) in medieval Norman French.
Mandeville typically offers homes on larger lots and at lower prices than those in New Orleans, yet plenty of luxury homes can also be found here. Mandeville is home to Beau Chêne, a community of homes, a 36-hole golf course, river banks and woods surrounding a country club with a fitness center, an aquatic center and three swimming pools. Beau Chêne means “Beautiful Oak” in French and is a tribute to the thousands of live oak trees dotting the landscape. Houses here are three bedrooms, two baths and range from $100,000 to $800,000.
The Sanctuary is another of Mandeville’s prestigious private communities. The residential neighborhood sits on 1,170 acres surrounded with stately pines, magnolias, oaks, and nearly 700 acres of cypress marshes and native wetland. It hosts a variety of deer, raccoons, birds, and other wildlife and is a place where children can play freely. The Health and Activity Center here offers a tournament-sized pool, three tennis courts, a children’s ball field and fitness facilities with personal trainers. Houses in The Sanctuary are three- and four-bedrooms that range from $190,000 to $1,600,000.
Mandeville had long been agricultural land when it was laid out in 1834 by developer Bernard de Marigny. It quickly became a popular summer destination for well-to-do New Orleanians wishing to escape the city’s heat.
In the mid-19th century, daily steamboat traffic between New Orleans and Mandeville began, and by the end of the Victorian era, it had become a popular weekend destination of the New Orleans middle class as well. Bands would play on the ships going across the lake and at pavilions and dance halls, and the town became one of the first places where the new jazz music was heard outside of New Orleans.
Two buildings from early jazz history still stand in Mandeville. Ruby’s Roadhouse has been in continuous operation since the 1920s and is still a popular bar and live music venue today. The Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in January 1895.
In 1956, the first span of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opened to automobile traffic with a second span added in 1969. The new road spurred the growth of Mandeville and the surrounding area as a suburban commuter community for people working in New Orleans. This trend increased in the 1980s and 1990s.
Mandeville is the home town of Cajun fiddler and bandleader Amanda Shaw, the rock group 12 Stones, the progressive rock band As Cities Burn, comedian Theo Von, Wilco bassist John Stirratt, and actor and environmentalist Ian Somerhalder. It is also home to the largest certified southern live oak tree, the Seven Sisters Oak.