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, along the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, was developed by New Orleans real estate entrepreneur Paul Kapelow and designed by Charles R. Colbert. The single-level, 450,000 square foot complex opened for business March 24, 1960 and 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.

Inline stores in the original open-air mall included Paris Hats, Hausmann's Jewelers, Turntable Records, Jean's Hosiery, Werlein's 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 outparcel Holloway House Cafeteria.

The General Cinema Corporation Lakeside Cinema I & II, a northwest outparcel, showed its first features August 4, 1967. The venue was made into a 4-screen operation in 1974 and a "5-screener" in 1978.

The first retail rival, OAKWOOD MALL {8.9 miles southeast, in Jefferson Parish / Terrytown} opened in 1966. CLEARVIEW MALL {1.3 miles southwest, in Jefferson Parish / Metairie}, a community-sized center, was dedicated in 1968. With two fully-enclosed shopping centers on the scene, it became imperative for LAKESIDE CENTER to be renovated into a fully-enclosed mall. This took place during 1968.

A third mall in the vicinity, LAKE FOREST PLAZA {10.7 miles northeast, in New Orleans}, opened in 1974. The 1980s brought three more commercial competitors. BELLE PROMENADE MALL {9 miles southeast, in Jefferson Parish / Marrero}, was completed in 1983. THE ESPLANADE {5.3 miles west, in Kenner} was the state's first 2-level center. It began business in 1985. NORTH SHORE SQUARE {28.3 miles northeast, in Slidell} was also dedicated in 1985.

An expansion of LAKESIDE CENTER had been completed in the mid-1970s. The original J.C. Penney was replaced with a 2-level (154,700 square foot) store, which was dedicated November 5, 1975. The original Penney's, at the southwest corner of the mall, was sectioned into fourteen inline stores, with a small second level added.

Moreover, the existing Holmes was enlarged with a third level and westward addition, for a total of 270,000 square feet. A multilevel parking garage connected into this store's west entrance. The mall, now encompassing 742,700 leasable square feet, had assumed the position of number one shopping venue in the region.

A subsequent renovation was done in 1982. This most likely involved the slimming of the mallway, providing extra retail area on either side, and the installation of store space in some of the mall's former entryways. A 51,000 square foot Southeast Wing of stores may have also been added at this time.

Godchaux's became the first of the original anchor stores to close, in 1987. Its space was subdivided into ten inline stores. In 1989, D.H. Holmes was rebranded by Dillard's. The face lift renovation of LAKESIDE CENTER was completed in 1997. Around this time, a 12-bay Food Court was installed in previously-existing mall space, which had housed the T G & Y and Winn-Dixie supermarket.

Construction commenced on a third expansion of LAKESIDE CENTER 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.

Today, LAKESIDE CENTER is owned and operated by the New York City-based Feil Organization. The mall proper encompasses 1,295,000 leasable square feet, with 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 has gone on to eclipse retail rivals such as BELLE PROMENADE MALL (1983-1999) and LAKE FOREST PLAZA (1974-2005).

Sources:

www.labelscar.com
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
"Lakeside Center" article on Wikipedia
Tulane School of Architecture / Francine Stock
www.feil.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest