|Aerial view of the Huey P. Long bridge|
Opened in 1935, the bridge was named for an extremely popular and notorious governor, Huey P. Long who had just been assassinated on September 8 of that year. It is a cantilevered steel through truss bridge that carries a two-track railroad line over the Mississippi River with two lanes of US 90 on each side of the central track.
The bridge is a favorite railfan location and is the longest railroad bridge in the U.S. Most drivers in the New Orleans area hate it because of the narrow 9-foot wide lanes without shoulders. Also, the two vehicular roadways shift inwards when approaching the superstructure on the East Bank side. The high volume of traffic on the bridge makes things worse at times considering how narrow the lanes are.
When there is a train crossing, it can become quite frightening when approaching the superstructure at the peak of the monstrous bridge. The noise is horrid and the structure becomes shaky.
I have been across this bridge countless times as a child. I despised it. I feared it. It was like a huge monster that terrorized me. A monster that I could not run from nor hide from. I had to face it everytime we crossed the riverbank. I have had nightmares about the mighty monster, even after becoming an adult. This may seem a bit crazy but it's true. Fortunately, it's been a long time since I've had such a nightmare. Although writing about it may bring the haunting back. Yikes!!!
One would just have to experience it to know what I'm talking about. If you're willing to take a dare, get in your car or pick-up truck and cross it on a weekday about 5:00 p.m., at the peak of traffic. Hopefully there will be a train going across as well, so you may experience the full effect of the entire trip across the Huey P. Long bridge. Wait... the "full effect" would also include a traffic accident on the bridge while you are stuck there for nearly an hour with a train crossing over. The "shake, rattle and roll" effect will make you feel like you've just boarded a small wooden vessel in the midst of a tropical storm (okay, just a tiny bit of exaggeration here). If it's your first time, you may want to take your Xanax at least 30 minutes prior to crossing it... or have a pint of Jack Daniels, that may help :)