Mandeville is located on the North Shore of Lake Pontchartrain, south of Interstate 12. It is across the lake from the city of New Orleans and its southshore suburbs. Mandeville is located in St. Tammany Parish. Mandeville is the name of two villages in Normandy, France. It means “big farm” (from Magna Villa) in medieval Norman French.
In 1840 Mandeville was incorporated as a town. It became a popular summer destination for well-to-do New Orleanians wishing to escape the city’s heat.
In the mid-19th century, regular daily steamboat traffic between New Orleans and Mandeville began, and by the end of the Victorian era, it had become a popular weekend destination of the New Orleans middle class as well. Bands would play music on the ships going across the lake and at pavilions and dance halls in Mandeville, and the town became one of the first places where the new “jazz” music was heard outside of New Orleans.
Two buildings from early jazz history still stand in Mandeville. Ruby’s Roadhouse has been in continuous operation since the 1920s (formerly Buck’s Brown Derby and Ruby’s Rendezvous) and is still a popular bar and live music venue today. The Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, opened in January 1895. For years the Hall hosted some of the jazz greats and was reopened in 2000 as the Dew Drop Jazz & Social Hall, a live jazz venue.
In 1956, the first span of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway opened to automobile traffic. A second span was added in 1969. The new road spurred the growth of Mandeville and the surrounding area as a suburban commuter community for people working in New Orleans. This trend increased in the 1980s and 1990s, further integrating Mandeville into the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area.