Somewhere in the fog of time, the Sportsman’s Lounge arose on the south bank of Pass Manchac where it empties into Lake Maurepas. It sandwiched itself between the old Hammond Highway/US 51 bridge approach (now used as their parking lot) and the swampy swale alongside the railroad track. It became a well known and well-worn, “Old School-style” joint and was legendary by the time it was acquired by new proprietors, fixed up and renamed the Gator’s Den. It retains its Louisiana Roadhouse flavor by maintaining lively times inside, courtesy of the “Swamp Angels.”
Meanwhile, it got a new neighbor when the Traylor camp next door was converted into a drinking establishment and the new Beacon Lounge (now Beacon Lakeside) completed the “Galva Entertainment Strip” (minus the former Galva Bar just up the street). The beacon that is referred to is the now-gone Manchac Lighthouse at the other end of the Pass. Being right on the Pass and with a lot of big, sunny windows, it’s got a different vibe with great views of Lake Maurepas, the Pass and the Legendary Bridges of Manchac. It’s also got a lot of interesting historic photos on its walls.
The Fabled Bridges of Manchac
The south shore of Pass Manchac at Lake Maurepas was the jump-off point for the first bridge built across the Pass for a railroad, a great feat of Nineteenth-Century engineering and completed at great expense. It was burned four years later when the Civil War arrived. The Union kept watch on the ruins from its Fort Stephens gun emplacement next door.
Then this was the site of the first highway bridge in the 1920s and then the US 51 bridge in 1957 and then the I-55 bridge bounded off through the air to the other side of the Pass in the 1970s.
After the wooden 1920s Hammond Highway bridge was made redundant by the concrete US 51 bridge, its steel center draw was removed. The long spans on either side remained and were used by recreational fishermen and crabbers for years but were burned in the 1980s. Now all that remains are twin rows of pilings across the open waters of the Pass.