Slidell, Louisiana was founded around 1882 during the construction of a major new railroad from New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi, connecting there with Cincinnati, Ohio, and eventually with New York, NY. The New Orleans and Northeastern (n.o.n.e.) Railroad established a building camp at first high ground north of Lake Pontchartrain which eventually grew into the city.
Slidell was chartered as a town in 1888 by the Louisiana legislature. The Salmen Brick Company was one of the largest producers of bricks in the South. The Salmen family, who were from Switzerland, established their brick plant and sawmill after realizing the potential of Slidell as an industrious prospect.
In 1910, the Salmen Company employed a total of 800 people. The Salmen’s general store had twenty clerks. The “Commissary”, as it was called, located at Front Street and Cleveland Avenue was the largest merchandise store in St. Tammany Parish.
Salmen Town was developed with the increase of commerce resulting from Salmen’s industries. Because of the booming economy, the need for religion, social gatherings, and education were realized by the ladies of Slidell. The Ladies Aid Societies and Missionary Societies had fundraising events to raise funds for the building of churches and schools in the area. Brickmaking, lumber mills, shipbuilding, and service commerce were the main forces of Slidell’s economy until 1930.
In October 1961, a historic announcement was made: the federal government had selected an area in Hancock County, Miss., to be the site of a static test facility for launch vehicles to be used in NASA’s Apollo manned lunar landing program. It was the largest construction project in the state of Mississippi and the second largest in the United States at that time. John C. Stennis Space Center is a quick, 20-minute commute from Slidell making it the perfect spot for families to build their homes. It provided the new wave of employees with all of the conveniences of a small city, quick access to their place of work, and quick access to a major city, New Orleans. The Stennis Space Center still provides this area with 100s of job opportunities.
NASA’s manufacturing complex, The Michoud Assembly Facility, located in New Orleans began construction on NASA’s Space Shuttle external tank. The Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans is a quick, 20-minute commute again making Slidell the perfect location for people to live, work, and play. Since 100s of jobs were created during this time, there was a huge influx in the population of Slidell. The Michoud Assembly Facility still provides this area with many job opportunities.
On August 29, 2005, Slidell was hit by one of the worse hurricanes in U.S. history, Hurricane Katrina. Although parts of the city experienced significant damage, Slidell also became a new home to 1000s of families who had a total loss in New Orleans and cities like Chalmette that lie on the outskirts of New Orleans.