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Palm to Pine December 27, 2006

Posted by The Typist in New Orleans, NOLA.
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Here is a weird bit of synchronicity I discovered just a few blocks from my new office in downtown New Orleans. It’s a marker erected in 1917 by the Daughters of the American Revolution to mark the southern terminus of the Jefferson Highway. As the post points out, the road once stretched from New Orleans to Winnipeg, Canada.


During my exile from New Orleans, I first settled in the upper midwest in a town called Detroit Lakes, MN, a sometimes sleepy little town an hour east of Fargo, N.D. It’s population would settle down to a quiet 7,000 or so but blossom into the tens of thousands during the busiest weekends of the summer lake season. One feature of that season was the Pine to Palm Golf Tournament, a name that always struck me as odd but which I never looked into, as I have no real interest in golf.

I have to assume that the name must come from the New Orleans-to-Winnipeg Highway. Growing up in New Orleans, Jefferson Highway was just an aging suburban strip of asphalt, an old Federal highway along the tracks that I thought was named after the suburban Jefferson Parish it traversed. Not until I returned home after 20 years away did I discover this pillar, which has been sitting at the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Common Street waiting for me to discover it and feel the odd twinge of connection. I stood at the terminus of a road that ran only 100 miles from Detroit Lakes almost a century ago. Winnipeg was close to my home in Fargo as Lafayette is to New Orleans.

Small world.


1. Mike Conlin - April 1, 2007

I’m a Canadian living in New Orleans and the first I heard of this highway was the Time Picayune article March 19, 2007. Being a home sick ex-pat I was thrilled to hear of this connection of the Deep South with the Frozen North and I have since contacted several organizations in Winnipeg to see what they know about this highway. Apparantly about as much as we did, nothing. I have had replies from a heritage society and a newspaper up there and there is now a nicely glowing ember of interest heating up mid Canada.


D. Barnett - November 19, 2009

Hello Mike………
Hope you get to read this!
As a kid growing up in Carthage Missouri I really appreciate U.S. Hwy 71. It was, along with the East -West route of Hwy 66,the life blood of the town. After all we were at the Crossroads of America, where both routes occupied the same 2-3 block section of pavement. The town was ALIVE day and nite. Business boomed, Motels thrived ,service stations were busy, Famous Boots resturant and Motel catered to the whole world because of the two routes . I worked right on that section in the late 40’s at a service station.
A week after 12-7-41 the traffic headed east from the California coast was quite noticeable. I would park my bike on the corner of Oak(the 66 part) and Garrison (the 71part) and be intertained by the flo of traffic during that time. Later during ’42-’43-44 the military convoys flowed to and fro through the area, some spending the night in Carthage and being intertained by street dances on the public Square thanks to the gererosity of the citizens.
Tears could be shed today. I’m sure you understand why.


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