In 1994, Capt. Scott Schenck found treasure.
He'd sailed from Europe to New Orleans to pick up then-Gov. Edwin Edwards from the Southern Yacht Club, but when he arrived, the railroad bridge was up and he couldn't enter the lake.
"While I waited for the gates to open, I found all this land on Lake Pontchartrain that wasn't being utilized," Schenck says. "I stared at it for four hours. ... Where I'm from, Florida and North Carolina, finding waterfront property is like finding gold."
Once Schenck entered Lake Pontchartrain, he faced another problem: His yacht was too large for the shallow marina at the Southern Yacht Club.
"When I met Gov. Edwards, he asked me, 'Son, what do you think New Orleans needs?' I said we needed a deepwater marina, and he said, 'Well then, why don't you build us one?'" Schenck says.
In 2007, Schenck took the former governor's advice. Along with partners Leigh Bock and Nate Gaarder, the retired sea captain converted the 32-acre waterfront property to an RV trailer park with a deepwater marina.
However, Pontchartrain Landing RV Park and Marina (6001 France Road, 504-286-8157; www. pontchartrainlanding.com) is not your typical RV park. Staffers say it's an RV resort.
"We have a lot to offer: a lighthouse bar and restaurant, live music, fishing trips, a swimming pool and a hot tub, and floating villas for rent," says sales manager Sandy Grace.
On-site restaurant Hickory Prime BBQ stocks each table with six barbecue sauces. The open-air bar and restaurant has live music Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and events like zydeco dance lessons and crawfish boils on Sundays. Guests say the staff is neighborly and jolly.
While the park attracts mostly people in the film industry and horse racing, Schneck is targeting vacationers and locals. In August, Schneck, Bock and Gaarder will install shops geared toward boaters as well as upscale RV sites and villas.
Pontchartrain Landing also is in close proximity to all New Orleans' attractions.
"We're unique in that we are only 12 minutes away from the French Quarter," Grace says.
Shuttles take guests from the park to Bourbon Street in the French Quarter or Harrah's New Orleans on Canal Street.
"We take people to what New Orleans has to offer, then go pick them up when they're done," Schneck says. "People can come and relax and have a good time. Unlike [at] a hotel, parents can let their kids loose. There's no drama."