NEW ORLEANS — Residents in the 70128 zip code say people have a perception about New Orleans East that's not necessarily true.

"If you drive down on the interstate, some of the houses on the interstate on both sides, gives the impression that things are not as well as they should be. And that's really unfortunate...," explained Lake Forest Estates resident Roland Doucette.

Lake Barrington resident, Dr. Monique Cook agrees. "We get a lot of publicity because of the negativity, but it is a great place to live."

This week we're exploring a side of New Orleans East that some people may not be aware of. Dr. Cook lives in Lake Barrington Subdivision.

"Some people are just amazed that we have a man-made lake in the back of our homes. (We've) been here since 2002 and this was the main factor of us moving here...In the summer we have neighbors with the paddle boats out, just enjoying the lake, having bar-b-ques, backyard parties.. it's just wonderful."

There are 8 man-made lakes in the area, most are in the 70128 zip code. Roland Doucette lives in Lake Forest Estates. He built his house in 1999, and he actually helped dig one of the man-made lakes in a neighborhood nearby in the 1970s while he was in the trucking business.

"Nat G. Kiefer - he was responsible for all of these subdivisions out here. He had a vision and that vision required lakefront properties," said Doucette.

Doucette is a retired policeman and enjoyed his view at the end at the end of his shifts.

"It's the serenity of the quiet lake at night. Especially at night, you come home from the hard day's work, when I was working, and just sitting in your den looking out over the lake. There's a peace and calmness about it more than anything else."

The lake communities are in close proximity and really make the area special.

"The homes are gorgeous. New Orleans East is probably the best-kept secret," declared Dr. Cook.

Doucette added to that, "It's a hidden jewel. New Orleans East is a hidden jewel. And I appreciate you guys coming out and taking a look at what we're doing, because it's a really a great place to live and we just have to change the perception..."

And The 70128 zip code was once home to Lincoln Beach, which functioned from the 1930s to the 1960s. All that's left is the old sign that used to be in the parking lot, pointing across the street to the beach. During segregation, Lincoln Beach was a designated swimming area for blacks. Later an amusement park was added. But in 1964 Pontchartrain Beach was desegregated, and because of that, Lincoln Beach declined and soon closed.

WWL-TV reporter Leslie Spoon can be reached at lspoon@wwltv.com;