Great Granddaughter of City Founder Attends 100-Year Celebration

The great granddaughter of one of Gretna’s city founders John Ehret celebrated the city’s 100-Year-Old birthday party at city hall in Gretna on gretna-celebrates-100-yearsAugust 20, 2013.  This event was a culmination of the birthday celebration which began with Gretna Heritage Day on August 17, 2013.  The event, which began at 11am at Gretna City Hall and ended with a 100th Birthday Commemoration at Mel Ott Multipurpose Center on Belle Chasse Highway at 6pm in the evening, featured many different people dressed up as the founding fathers such as Thomas Jefferson as well as costumes of the times.

“We have very deep roots,” said Jackie Majeste, the great-granddaughter of Ehret. “Even though the city has changed, it still has a small town feeling. Many of them (residents) are related and still very active.”  Majeste is not the only descendent of John Ehret, there are reportedly 48 other cousins living in the Greater New Orleans area that can trace their roots back to this particular Gretna city founder.

The city of Gretna was founded August 20, 1913 because of a desire of its residents to incorporate and break away from Jefferson Parish Ehret is credited with acquiring the necessary public services for the city once it became incorporated, getting gas, water, and electric services to the entire city within just 2 short years.  For such a small town, the citizens have many historical events of which to reminisce.  One was a visit by Huey P. Long himself during the gubernatorial race in 1928.  One of the campaign promises of which he made good was the promise to pave the streets of the small city.  Copernicus Street was renamed Huey P. Long Avenue in his honor.

The ferry in Gretna is currently in the middle of controversy since the decrease of funding from the Crescent City Connection has all but eliminated the finances needed to run the 3 ferry lines from the West Bank to New Orleans.  Residents reminisce that the ferry was in existence long before the Crescent City Connection was even built.  Therefore, it is bittersweet to be losing the ferry to keep the bridge as the ferry is a definite part of the city’s history.  Gretna has many historical homes and builders, and Councilman Joe Marino, whose district includes City Hall, pledged to preserve Gretna’s historic houses and structures. “I’m very proud of this district. It’s the historic district in the center of our city,” he said. “We’re going to do our part to make sure we keep Gretna’s history alive.”


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