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Celebrating classic and modern Polynesian Pop

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P

This week Sabu & I thought we would switch over & I would start the Tiki History post,
which is for the Bali Ha'i at the Beach, at Pontchartrain Beach, New Orleans, LA.
Pontchartrain Beach was an amusement park (on Lake Pontchartrain) which opened in 1939,
and closed in September of 1983. Along with the roller coasters, haunted houses, game booths,and
swimming pool was the Bali Hai, located in front of the park. Here's an aerial view photo of Pontchartrain Beach:

This photo ( taken by Gene Leingang around the time when the park opened) and others can be
found along with an interesting history of the park at: www.pontchartrainbeach.com

Here's a few other photos (also found at the same website):

exterior view photo of the entrance of the Bali Hai...


nice graphics, possibly from a matchcover...

and this exterior view, also found online:

I have a menu from there, with some nice stylized illustrations on the front cover:

The back of the menu also has an illustrated view of the building exterior :

Above this drawing it reads: " Aloha... It is our endeavor to bring you the color, romance,
legendary hospitality and tempting delicacies of the exotic Polynesian Islands. Whether
you be a Malihini (newcomer) or Kamaina (old-timer) to this delightful way of culinary
life we are confident that you will find it a unique, delicious experience."

The inside of the menu features dinner selections, with some illustrated drink offerings,
showing two familiar tiki mugs/bowls:

Looking forward to seeing Sabu's postcard & more history he may have found on the Bali Ha'i.

[ Edited by: puamana on 2003-07-18 15:26 ]

That's a really beautiful menu. I've got one of those Tiki-Bob style mugs, but not much information on the Bali-Ha'i itself. Maybe some of the other Tiki-Centralites can fill us in on what the restaurant was like.

Here is a postcard view of the interior:

And a few close-ups of some details:


From the size of the building shown in puamana's post, I'd guess that this is just a small portion of the interior. The back of the postcard reads:
"Bali Ha'i at the beach. Polynesian Room. Overlooking Beautiful Pontchartrain Beach. In the enchanting interior of this Polynesian Paradise diners will be enthralled by the authenticity of the surroundings. The Tiki Gods, the native beauty of Samoan tapa cloth, woven palm fronds from Hawaii, native spears from Taiwan and vari-colored Japanese fish floats and Shigi fish traps, combine to form a new world of South Sea Enchantment."

Sabu

Here's that blue bowl.

Personal anecdote:
When I was about twelve, my dad's company made commercials for Ponchartrain Beach. My laugh was used as a tag after the closing jingle. I rode that roller coast (the Zephyr) about 20 times without stopping while my dad and the cameraman were at the top of the highest hill shooting. While they were up there, a rather sizeable chunk of the wooden railing broke off from rot and termite damage. I never rode it again. But still, a very cool memory.

Oh, yeah, I also got to tickle the performing dolphins tongues. They apparently really dig that.

[ Edited by: purple jade on 2003-07-18 16:09 ]

M

The "Fogg Cutter"?

Is that like Snoop Dogg?

har!

S

Thanks for posting!

All that remains of the Bali Ha'i is the
A-frame front part, which along with the top of the Zephyr is located in a park next to Kenner City Hall. (a VERY commercial suburb, strip malls, etc)

One of the Bali Ha'i mugs just went for 77.00 dollars on eBay.

For one year it was known as
"Don the Beachcomber's".

I have one of the blue 3 tiki's around the bowl, with the red writing. It was my grandmother's.

It was the coolest place.

Cool post, I now know more about where the Tepco Bali Ha'i water pitcher I have came from.

S

I think that menu must have been one of Miles Thompson's ispirations!

P

Yesterday I found a New Orleans Guide for Visitors from 1966,
and it had a great little ad for the Bali Ha'i at the Beach. Here's a pic:

[ Edited by: puamana on 2003-09-07 10:24 ]

T

Just last week someone snail-mailed me a big packed of photos of the remains of Bali Ha'i, which reside in a park in Kenner, LA. There's an A-frame gazebo and a few big Tiki poles.

I'll post 'em as soon as I can get them scanned.

T

Another great post, as always, fellas.

Just last week someone snail-mailed me a big packet of photos of the remains of Bali Ha'i, which now reside in a park in Kenner, LA. There's an A-frame gazebo and a few big Tiki poles.

I'll post 'em as soon as I can get them scanned.

S

As I posted a couple of months ago, it's great that they saved it, but kind of depressing to just see such a little piece of the Bali Ha'i, in such an odd location. I noticed it when I took my son there for a classmate's birthday party earlier this year.......


Here are some of the Bali Hai's tikis, relocated to a park in kenner, Louisiana, a few miles outside of New Orleans.

Kenner is also home to a Tiki themed tattoo parlor, where I got my Moai tattoos done. At the time I got my ink done there, it wasn't Tiki themed yet, but I claim no influence on the makeover.

[ Edited by: tikibars on 2003-09-29 10:58 ]

H

On 2003-07-18 16:05, purple jade wrote:
Personal anecdote:
When I was about twelve, my dad's company made commercials for Ponchartrain Beach. My laugh was used as a tag after the closing jingle.

Hey Purple Jade (a belated happy bday, btw!) --

This website has a link to a sound file of the Pontchartrain Beach jingle (about 3/4 down the page), but I don't have a sound card to check it... is this the jingle with your giggle?

D

What a great place! I can't believe I missed this post. I listened to the jingle and there wasn't a giggle on it. :( Plus, the commercial was made in 1962, just a hunch but my bet is Purple Jade wasn't on the planet yet. Stuff like this is why I love this site! Thanks for sharing guys!

[ Edited by: DawnTiki on 2003-09-29 17:22 ]

H

On 2003-09-29 16:20, DawnTiki wrote:
Plus the commercial was made in 1962, just a hunch but my bet is Purple Jade wasn't even on the planet yet.

Oh of course! I didn't read very closely -- skimming over the numbers, I just assumed it was the AM signal address.

S