Saving Lincoln Beach
New Orleans for Lincoln Beach has been working with the city to reopen the historic Lincoln Beach in New Orleans East. Lincoln Beach served as a haven for black families in New Orleans when they were not allowed at the white-only Ponchartrain Beach amusement park during the segregated Jim Crow era. Although smaller, secluded and inferior to Ponchartrain Beach, it gave black families access to swimming pools, amusement park rides and a restaurant. After desegregation, there was no need for Lincoln Beach so it fell into neglect for almost 60 years. The enclave was littered with decades of trash and overgrown trees. Structures lay crumbling and vandalized through the years. That was until artist Reggie Ford with New Orleans for Lincoln Beach decided that the beach was worth restoring. Ford says, “I just hear all this bad stuff happens in New Orleans East. And I heard about this beach out here. I said I need to go out there and pick up litter.” The covid-19 pandemic has allowed the group the time to work on the forgotten area. Trash, poison ivy have been removed and the group started constructing a walking trail throughout the 17-acre beach. The tunnel leading to the old amusement park has also begun to be cleared out. Recently, the city has seen the public’s interest. A $300,000 Lincoln Beach assessment project is in the works to determine what is needed to reopen the beach officially. The city is also working to assemble a formal Lincoln Beach Community Advisory Committee. Until then, the New Orleans for Lincoln Beach group will continue their efforts in the hope of restoring Lincoln Beach to its former glory. To connect with New Orleans for Lincoln Beach, you can join their facebook group here.