The success of West End and Bucktown revolves around hurricanes. The area started as a string of fishing and hunting camps along the lake. It boomed when steamboats began docking at New Basin Canal, near what is now the municipal marina. A railroad, the Jefferson and Lake Pontchartrain Railroad, served the area from 1853 until 1864. Henri Bonnabel purchased much of West End and Bucktown and turned it into a resort. Because gambling was legal in Jefferson, Bucktown became known for its gambling and prostitution.
Bucktown was possibly named after the “young bucks” who came for a good time.
By the turn of the century, there were not only camps, but stores, saloons and even a school in the area. A hurricane wiped out much of the development in 1856, but the area was revived by the arrival of restaurant Bruning’s in 1859. Hurricanes wiped out the area again in 1893, 1915 and 1947.
Until recently, the area was home to about 100 shrimp boats. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 put an end to almost all of the fishing out of the area as a new pump station was erected close to the water. Katrina also wiped out many of the restaurants, like Brunings and Sid-Mar’s, that were perched along the lake.