LAKESIDE CENTER
Veterans Memorial and North Causeway Boulevards
Jefferson Parish (Metairie), Louisiana

The first shopping mall in the Bayou State was built on 52 acres, situated 6 miles northwest of the central city of New Orleans. The area, within unincorporated Jefferson Parish, is referred to as Metairie ["met-uh-ree"].

LAKESIDE CENTER was designed by Charles R. Colbert and developed by New Orleans real estate entrepreneur Paul Kapelow. The single-level, 415,000 square foot complex opened for business March 24, 1960. It was anchored by a 2-level (113,700 square foot), New Orleans-based D.H. Holmes, 1-level (46,000 square foot), New Orleans-based Godchaux's and 1-level (43,200 square foot) J.C. Penney.

Charter inline stores included Paris Hats, Hausmann's Jewelers, Turntable Records, Jean's Hosiery, Werlein's For Music, Lakeside Toys, Ad Lib Gifts, The Cove Cocktail Lounge, Walgreen Drug, S.S. Kresge and T G & Y 5 & 10's, a Winn-Dixie supermarket and freestanding Holloway House Cafeteria.

The General Cinema Corporation Lakeside Cinema I & II was built in the mall's northwest parking area and showed its first features August 4, 1967. The venue was reconfigured as a 4-screen operation in 1974 and as a "5-screener" in 1978.

Several major shopping centers were built in the LAKESIDE CENTER trade area over the ensuing years. OAKWOOD CENTER {8.9 miles southeast, in Jefferson Parish / Terrytown} opened in August 1966. CLEARVIEW MALL {1.3 miles southwest, in Jefferson Parish / Metairie} was dedicated in August 1969.

With two fully-enclosed shopping centers in its vicinity, it was imperative that LAKESIDE CENTER be rebuilt into a fully-enclosed mall. A roofing renovation was done, with the newly-air-conditioned complex rededicated on June 3, 1968. 2 years before, D.H. Holmes had been enlarged with a third level and westward addition, for a total of 270,000 square feet. Godchaux's also built a 9,000 square foot addition onto their store

A fourth Greater New Orleans mall, LAKE FOREST PLAZA {10.7 miles northeast, in New Orleans}, held its grand opening in September 1974. The 1980s brought two more. BELLE PROMENADE MALL {9 miles southeast, in Jefferson Parish / Marrero}, was completed in October 1983. THE ESPLANADE {5.3 miles west, in Kenner} began business in October 1985.

An expansion of the mall proper of LAKESIDE CENTER was underway by mid-1973. A West Mall was created, which would eventually be anchored by a 2-level (154,700 square foot) J.C. Penney. This full-line location, which replaced the mall's existing Penney's store, was dedicated on November 5, 1975.

The next mall modification involved the construction of a (51,000 square foot) East Mall. Built on the east-facing facade of LAKESIDE CENTER, this twenty-store addition was dedicated on October 15, 1981.

Godchaux's was shuttered in March 1987. Its space was divided into ten tenant spaces. The new mall within a mall, known as Lakeside Market Fair, opened in December 1987. Some of its stores were Bergeron's, Contempo Casuals, Joel Parker, The Limited, Express and Vision Plaza. D.H. Holmes was rebranded by Dillard's in May 1989.

The next major remodeling was in progress by August 1989. The 20 million dollar project refurbished all common area, added a northeast parking garage (which connected into the west entrance of Dillard's) and installed a 12-bay Food Court in existing space. When construction dust settled, LAKESIDE CENTER encompassed approximately 742,700 leasable square feet and had assumed the position of number one shopping venue in the region.

LAKESIDE CENTER suffered major exterior damage in August 2005, as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, the mall's interior was left intact. Within 2 months, half of its stores were -again- open for business.

Construction commenced on another mall expansion in 2006. A new southwest parking garage was completed in October 2007. Work got underway on a 3-level (228,000 square foot) Macy's and adjacent parking structure in November 2007. The south garage was dedicated in September 2008, with Macy's holding its grand opening October 25 of the same year.

LAKESIDE CENTER has been owned and operated by the New York City-based Feil Organization for a number of years. The mall proper currently encompasses 1,295,000 leasable square feet. There are one hundred and twelve retail spaces and fifteen outparcel stores and services.

The complex maintains its position as the top shopping mall in Greater New Orleans. It eclipsed former retail rivals, such as BELLE PROMENADE MALL (1983-1999) and LAKE FOREST PLAZA (1974-2005).

To keep LAKESIDE CENTER in the top spot, a 10 million dollar refurbishment was done between 2017 and 2019. The project included a Food Court and common area face lift, plus the installation of new skylights, lighting, decorative columns and soft seating. A Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar was added to the mall's northeast parking lot. Spanish fashion retailer Zara also opened a (34,700 square foot) store inside the mall.

Sources:

The New Orleans Advocate
The Times-Picayune
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
Tulane School of Architecture / Francine Stock
www.feil.com
https://neworleanscitybusiness.com
http://www.roofline.com (Hayden Building Maintenance Corporation)
www.labelscar.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
"Lakeside Center" article on Wikipedia