Before the desegregation of public facilities in the 1960s, Lincoln Beach was the African-American recreation area on Lake Pontchartrain. The lakefront property off Hayne Blvd. where the beach was located was originally deeded to the City by Samuel Zemurray in 1938, and the next year the land was purchased by the Levee Board. WPA workers built a bathhouse and a sand beach beween 1939 and 1941 and the beach opened to swimmers. Later, a small amusement park was added. But inadequate bus service, the lack of amenities, and the beach's distance from New Orleans proper prevented the area from becoming a popular destination in its early years. By 1952, the Times-Picayune described Lincoln Beach as "a barren sand beach and a lone, unimpressive building" -- the bath house pictured here, shortly after its construction by the WPA in 1941).

But the next year brought a renaissance for Lincoln Beach when the Levee Board began a half-million dollar renovation of the property, including fresh water swimming pools, a new bath house, picnic shelters, and an expanded and rebuilt midway.