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Lost Bars of Pontchartrain by Bob Durand
Bob Durand

Lost Bars of Pontchartrain by Bob Durand

“Lost Bars of Pontchartrain” A song about the West End of New Orleans For generations, New Orleanians flocked to the Pontchartrain lakefront for fishing and crabbing, dining, entertainment and relief from the summer heat provided by cooling breezes. Before my time there was Milneburg, a community on the lakefront served by the legendary Smoky Mary train. In my lifetime, the lakefront oasis was found along the seawall and in West End Park, which featured restaurants, bars, yacht clubs and even a female-impersonator club. For me, the history of the lakefront started with fishing on the seawall with my grandfather, then, in later years, venturing out with friends to fish and crab along “The Point” and the boathouse-lined West End Park. Many a night was enjoyed dining on seafood at restaurants such as Fontana’s, Fitzgeralds, Brunings and Swanson’s. As I grew older and became a musician, I spent a number of weekend late nights and Sunday afternoons entertaining the denizens of the lakefront at bars such as Augie’s De Lago, The Paddlewheel, The Bounty and Amberjack’s. The vista from behind my drum kit provided a panoramic view of New Orleans society; a diaspora of bar rats, Yacht Clubbers, Metairians, Chalmatians and weekend boaters. My retinas are still imprinted with images I can’t forget and don’t want to. My band Keystone, as well as bands such as The Murmurs, Penny Lane and many more formed the musical soundtrack of West End in the 80’s. But good things don’t last forever. Sadly. Storms and other disasters, natural and manmade, eventually took their toll. Augie’s burned in a spectacular fire and most of the others succumbed to the wrath of hurricanes, notably the evil Katrina of 2005. After the devastation, one more venue gave it a shot. The Dock opened up with spectacular views, wood-carved balustrades and live music on the lake! But it wasn’t meant to last. Shortly thereafter, Hurricane Gustav took the Dock in 2008 and once again West End Park was silent. Will it return? Will anyone take that risk? I hope so, but if not, it lives in our memories. And now in a song. This is my portrait of Lake Pontchartain’s history in my lifetime. I hope it stirs great memories. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Lyrics: Lost Bars of Pontchartrain Music clubs and restaurants, oyster bars and neighborhood haunts Where I lived the days of my well spent youth Lights on the water and mullets jumping, stray cats stalking and bass lines thumping Late nights on the boardwalk searching for truth It doesn’t seem that long ago but the memory fades and the visions go Between today and all those yesterdays, gone away Nickel beer on Wednesday nights, a boulevard of tiki lights Oh you should have seen the sights back then Creosote and the scent of rain, saltwater, sunsets and hurricanes Now only the stumps of pilings remain Of the lost bars of Pontchartrain Now they’re gone just a memory, living in my head I still can see The sailboats on the horizon racing the sun Long lost friends and echoed tunes from lazy summer afternoons Still remembering the crazy things we’ve done Oh those were days of gold imprinted on my but they come back to life whenever I remember Nickel beer on Wednesday nights, a boulevard of tiki lights Oh you should have seen the sights back then Creosote and the scent of rain, saltwater, sunsets and hurricanes ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bob Durand: Just a New Orleans boy at the Beach Bob is a New Orleans native and has been entertaining audiences in the Gulf Coast area and beyond since the early 1970’s. As a drummer, he performed with the bands Slippery When Wet, Oak Alley, Keystone and Why Not in venues from Lake Charles to Destin. He began writing songs as a drummer, but a switch to guitar in the early 2000’s offered a better opportunity to write. (Ever try writing a song on drums?) Since 2012, Bob has performed original and cover songs at venues from Texas to the Caribbean islands but now plays mostly at venues in or near his home on the Alabama Gulf Coast. He has released two albums and has finished five songs for album number 3, with plans to release it in 2023. Bob also continues to perform as a drummer and percussionist, working with musicians along the coast. Look for him at a music venue near you for coastal songs with a taste of New Orleans. To listen to his music, find the next live venue and more – visit and listen everywhere you find your music. Contact Info: Bob Durand Music Bob Durand Visit for EPK.
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