Room With a View
Resident Ron Quintal discusses the Spring Lake Subdivision and The American Dream
» In the heart of East New Orleans sprawls a quaint neighborhood that was built around a lake in the early 1970s. Spring Lake Subdivision is a squared neighborhood delineated by the Interstate 10 Service Road, Morrison Road, Cove Drive and Neptune Court. The entire neighborhood is made up of about 200 lots, a quarter of which have a backyard facing out onto the beautiful expanse of the Spring Lake.
Ron Quintal is lucky enough to live in one of the water-facing homes in the Spring Lake Subdivision. He and his wife have lived in the Spring Lake Subdivision since 1992. “This neighborhood was the embodiment of the American Dream for us,” said Quintal, who is now retired from the Federal Government and spends his time enjoying his neighborhood and New Orleans as a whole. “Everyone would wave and look out for each other. I remember people would bring their boats and paddle boards out onto the lake, and people would be barbecuing and my wife and I would bring them cold drinks. It was just a really great sense of community.”
This community of the Spring Lake Subdivision was full of interesting characters, Quintal said. “My neighbor taught ice skating at the old plaza and a Zulu King lived across the street from us. We’d have little parades around the neighborhood together.” For Quintal, life in a tight-knit neighborhood inside of an already intimate city was seductive.
The landscape of the Spring Lake Subdivision is something that almost feels timeless. With tall palm trees, the sounds of children doing cannonballs into family swimming pools, it takes a minute to remember that you are in New Orleans.
“And my house is actually really nice,” Quintal punctuated with excitement. “There are ducks and turtles on the lake behind our house, and it’s nice to look out on my backyard and see the lake instead of a fence. Especially at night. The moon glistens off of the water at night and then there’s that cool breeze. It’s just really beautiful — like a little oasis.”
Of course, there have been additions to the neighborhood that have brought the Spring Lake Subdivision modern comforts: a Walmart, a Lowes and a myriad of pharmacies and corner stores allow Spring Lake residents the ability shop for their necessities without taking the journey to other parts of New Orleans.
With these commercial additions as well as the wonderful reconstruction of Joe W. Brown park, Spring Lake is bringing in younger residents. “It is nice seeing new generations of parents walking down the street with their kids in strollers or riding their bikes around,” Quintal said.
The new generation of Spring Lake Subdivision residents are bringing a new life to the neighborhood. A life that Quintal describesd as akin to “Daytona Beach.” There are lively parties on the lake, and people coming in from other neighborhoods to join the events.
The lake has become illustrious — endowed with a reinvigorated spirit of community and fun times, an enduring symbol observing as the generations go by around it.
Since the 1970s, Spring Lake Subdivision has changed the lives of each incoming generation. For Ron Quintal in the ‘90s, the American Dream manifested itself in neighborhood barbecues and watching his daughter grow up along the static backdrop of a community-galvanizing lake — a lake that invited Zulu Kings and ice skating instructors.
Now, new parents push their strollers and teach their children to swim, they bring paddleboats into the lake and invite friends from afar to join barbecue parties. They sit on the banks and experience, maybe for the first time, the moonlight glistening off of the lake and its esoteric spirit communicated through a cool breeze on a summer day.