On September 20, 1959, an item in The Times-Picayune announced a new subdivision — the first of its kind — in Jefferson Parish.

While the parish had seen significant residential growth over the previous decades, the new development on the West Bank was to be its first planned suburban community — complete with 4,000 air-conditioned homes, stores, churches and schools. 

It would be called Terrytown, after developer Paul Kapelow’s daughter, Terry, and feature mid-century modern homes.

The Times-Picayune reported that Terrytown would feature three – and four-bedroom homes starting at $12,750. Along with central heat and cooling, the homes would have “fully-equipped” modern kitchens. 

In 1958, a year before the subdivision announcement, the Greater New Orleans Bridge — the first span of what would later be called the Crescent City Connection — was completed. The bridge provided easy automobile access from central New Orleans to suburban West Bank communities. And developers hoped the short commute from downtown New Orleans would lure buyers. By early 1960, Terrytown’s developers had completed 15 model homes.  

While Kapelow’s original master plan included 6,000 homes, he only completed 500 before allowing other builders to develop the real estate.

Terrytown now has more than 25,000 residents.

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Shannon Stecker is a creative writer, a marketing director, and a lover of stories. She has spent the past 15 years of her career in a creative space – as a print and broadcast journalist, a freelance...