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2025 Lakeshore Drive. Bechac's, circa 1849. Now the Lakehouse, this classic Creole building with deep galleries, slate tiled gable roof and enviable view is a beloved Mandeville landmark. Built in 1849 after the subdivision of the Mandeville Hotel property, it has been operating as a commercial establishment since the 1880s.
Pierre Poutz, a wealthy New Orleans cotton broker and future owner of Fontainebleau Plantation, purchased 4 lots of ground for $900. He sold the property in 1855 for $2500, with 'buildings and improvements'.
Bernard Marigny, town founder, would not acquire this property until late in 1860. He made this purchase as the Civil War (1861-1865) threatened. Marigny agreed to pay then owners, the Ducatels, $4250 over 4 payments in 4 years, with interest. Could this have been the settlement of a debt? Perhaps it was the action of a wealthy man to aid a friend.
The Civil War was a disaster for the people and the place. The Union quickly held New Orleans, while the north shore and Mandeville remained in Confederate hands. Trade with New Orleans was closed and a lake blockade strictly enforced with devastating effect.
The Union ordered that all wharfs be dismantled or they would be burned. The citizens of Mandeville complied. There are many tales of 'blockade running' for desperately needed supplies, particularly medicine. These were desperate times.
During the years of 1860-1868, it is highly unlikely that Bernard Marigny would have visited or had the opportunity to enjoy his ownership of this property. Marigny died in 1868 of a head injury suffered in a fall on Royal Street in New Orleans. His heirs sold the property that same year.
In the 1880s, Paul Arceneaux acquired the property and operated a casino and bar: Paul's Exchange. Later called Arceneaux's until its sale to the Mugnier's, who then sold to Albert Bechac in 1916.
The Bechac family, with its reputation of service to the community, operated the Bechac Restaurant for decades and owns the property to this day.