The neighborhoods of New Orleans have been carved out, developed, and redeveloped during the span of three hundred years. This history is not only long, but also complex. People will disagree about what makes any given neighborhood great, or terrible for that matter, or even where the exact boundaries lie. But one thing is for sure – New Orleans residents have plenty of options to find their perfect fit. Here are some of the main and most distinct areas of the city:
Boundaries: Canal Street, Esplanade Avenue, North Rampart, and the Mississippi RiverHistory: The Vieux Carre is the original site of the city of New Orleans and was founded in 1718. Today, this historic district is the center of New Orleans tourism and features an assembly of street artists, fortune tellers, and ghost tours. Although the Quarter is filled with hotels, restaurants, and bars, many of the locals still call this area their home.
Real Estate: Most of the current buildings in the Quarter were built in the late 18th century and reflect a Spanish architectural style. Typically, dwellings are located close to the street with an inside courtyard. Many of these homes have been converted to apartments and condominiums, with their conversion closely monitored by the Views Carre Commission.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Jackson Square, Cafe du Monde, French Market, Bourbon Street, Woldenberg Park, Galatoire’s, Carousel Bar & Lounge
Boundaries: Canal Street, Pontchartrain Expressway, South Claiborne Avenue, and the Mississippi RiverHistory: This area was one of the first residential expansions outside of the French Quarter in the late 18th century. In the 20th century, the area evolved into a legitimate “downtown” with professional offices, major retailers, and several theaters. The Warehouse District had become semi-derelict as manufacturing moved out of the city, but was redeveloped in the 1980s. The Warehouse District boasts numerous art galleries and hosts monthly “first Saturdays” for art-lovers.
Real estate: The area is a now a mixed-use neighborhood with thousands of residents inhabiting restored historic commercial and industrial buildings. Condos in this area are selling at the highest price per square foot in the city.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Saenger Theatre, Superdome, Lafayette Square, Shops at Canal Place, Roosevelt Hotel, Restaurant August
Boundaries: Pontchartrain Expressway, Jackson Avenue, St. Charles Avenue, and Magazine (plus/minus some blocks)History: The LGD was laid out in the early 19th century as part of the expansion uptown from the French Quarter. It is urban due to its proximity to downtown, yet green at the same time, featuring many tucked-away parks and centered around Coliseum Square. The neighborhood had fallen into disrepair, but was enthusiastically revived in the 1970s and continues thrive today.
Real estate: The predominant architecture here is Greek Revival and this classic theme is also carried out in the street names. The area has some massive single-family homes as well as plenty of apartment buildings.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Coliseum Park, Juan’s Flying Burrito, Aidan Gill, Defend New Orleans, Mojo, the Saint
Personal connection: I lived the LGD throughout law school. The area is technically a subdivision of the Garden District, but its residents take so much pride in their specific whereabouts that it would be a shame to lump it all into one. It truly does have a whole different vibe, with a little extra grit and grime (translation: charm) to it.
Boundaries: St. Charles Avenue, Magazine Street, First Street, and Toledano StreetHistory: Formerly a number of plantations, the parcels in this area were subdivided and sold to Americans, who wanted to avoid the Creoles in the Quarter, between 1832 and 1900. These homes were built by wealthy newcomers who made their fortunes from trade as New Orleans became one of the largest ports in the world. Originally, each block only had a couple of houses surrounded by large gardens.
Real estate: The Garden District is considered one of the best-preserved collections of historic southern mansions in the United States. It is known for its array of Greek Revival Architecture. Homes are typically of frame construction with an abundance of distinctive wrought iron. This area is also home to many celebrities.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Commander’s Palace, Lafayette Cemetery No. 1, Still Perkin’ Coffee Shop
Personal connection: The strip of Magazine Street between Washington and Louisiana Avenues is filled with some of my favorite restaurants and shops. I’ve even worked in some of them myself. I still mourn the loss of the Magazine Street Rue de la Course, as I used to spend hours there – both buried in books and socializing with friends.
Boundaries: First Street, Toledano Street, Magazine Street, and the Mississippi RiverHistory: This neighborhood was first settled by working-class immigrants from many places in the early 19th century. As suggested by the name, most of the population came from Ireland, with one particularly big wave of immigration occurring in 1830. The Irish Channel has hosted its famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade since 1809.
Real estate: Because of the humble lifestyle of its original inhabitants, the houses in this area are mostly simple shotguns. There has been a resurgence of renovations in the area in the past ten years.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: NOLA Brewery, Parasol’s
Boundaries: Louisiana Avenue, Claiborne Avenue, Carrollton Avenue, and the Mississippi RiverHistory: The Uptown area began its growth in the 1860s when the plantations of the Colonial era were subdivided. With the development of several exclusive private streets which still exist today, Uptown New Orleans established itself as a highly desirable place to live. Uptown is one of the largest neighborhoods in the city and encompasses many other unique sections of town. Most Mardi Gras parades start Uptown and roll their way down St. Charles Avenue towards downtown.
Real estate: Uptown is considered the residential core of New Orleans and contains scores of the city’s most beautiful homes and neighborhoods. Many of the houses in Uptown date from the turn of the century and are highly valued for their architectural detail and elegance.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Audubon Park, Tulane and Loyola Universities, the Fly, Columns Hotel Bar, Bouligny Tavern, Plum Street Snoballs
Personal connection: Of all the neighborhoods, I am most familiar with and fond of Uptown. It has been my stomping grounds for many years, since I attended Tulane University and Loyola College of Law and currently reside here.
Boundaries: the curve of the Mississippi River on the West Bank, Opelousas Avenue, and Pacific AvenueHistory: Algiers Point is the city’s second oldest neighborhood. The Algiers Ferry has been operating continuously between the Quarter and the Point since 1827. Although close to downtown, this quiet residential neighborhood has a small-town feel.
Real estate: Some homes date back to the 1840s, but most were built around the turn-of-the-century after a catastrophic fire in 1895. The property values have been rising steadily, but there are still good deals to be found on these historic homes.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Algiers Point Courthouse, Old Point Bar, Tout de Suite Cafe
Personal connection: I lived in Algiers Point for 8 years with my parents who still live there to this day. I consider it to be the most quaint neighborhood in town, with charming homes, lush gardens, and “hellos” exchanged with every passer-by. The ferry is a great asset to commuters as well as easy access to the restaurants and bars in the Quarter.
Boundaries: North Rampart Street / St. Claude Avenue, Esplanade Avenue, Press Street, and the Mississippi RiverHistory: Faubourg Marigny was developed by its namesake Creole millionaire in the 19th century on land that had been his family’s plantation. Its main thoroughfare is Elysian Fields Avenue, named after the Champs-Élysées in Paris, which was the first street to extend the whole way from the river to the lake. Frenchmen Street is the hub of music clubs in the city, where you many options to hear live music any given night.
Real estate: The architecture in the Marigny borrows heavily from Spanish and French colonial periods, but also has elements of the Caribbean.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Spotted Cat, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Mardi Gras Zone, Mimi’s in the Marigny, Love Lost Lounge, Marigny Opera House
Boundaries: Press Street, Industrial Canal, Florida Avenue, and the Mississippi RiverHistory: In the Colonial era, Bywater was mostly plantation land, but residential development began in the very early 19th century. Most of the first settlers were of French, Spanish, and French Caribbean origins. The 1990s, the bohemian artistic community spread from the Quarter to the Bywater and started refurbishing the historic properties in the area.
Real estate: Along with the Marigny, the Bywater is one of most colorful parts of the city in terms of architecture – mixing colonial styles with Caribbean influence.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: site of events resulting in Plessy versus Ferguson, Pizza Delicious, The Country Club
Boundaries: Pontchartrain Expressway, City Park Avenue, Esplanade Avenue, and North Broad StreetHistory: This part of the city was the “backswamp” or “back of town” and was not developed until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s development was possible due to the invention of the screw pump, which allowed water to be pumped from land below sea level. Mid City is mostly comprised on a local middle-class population and has few tourist attractions, but still plenty of restaurants and bars for its residents. Krewe of Endymion, the largest Mardi Gras parade, rolls through Mid City on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday.
Real estate: The most common house type in Mid City is shotgun. The area has also converted several industrial sites into apartments and condos, including the Falstaff Apartments and American Can Company. Residents of Mid City can also take advantage of its proximity to City Park with its many bike paths and ample green space.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: the grassy banks of Bayou St. John, Parkway Bakery & Tavern, Pal’s, Lafitte Greenway
Boundaries: 17th Street Canal, Bayou St. John, City Park Avenue, and Lake PontchartrainHistory: Before early 20th century, this area was mostly undeveloped swamp. Large-scale residential development started after World War II and spread from City Park to the lakefront. Although the Lakeshore and Lake Vista subdivisions are some of the newer neighborhoods in the city, they were built around the 18th century Spanish Fort, which predates the founding of New Orleans.
Real estate: The older homes in Lakeview are mostly bungalows. Most of the homes, however, are larger and more modern ones built in the late 20th century or after Hurricane Katrina.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: City Park, New Orleans Museum of Art, Southern Yacht Club, Nola Snow Snoballs
Personal connection: My husband grew up in Lakeview and most of his family still lives in the area. Many of my Sundays are spent in Lake Vista watching football or having lunch with family.
Boundaries: Airline Highway, Causeway Boulevard, Pontchartrain Expressway, and the 17th Street CanalHistory: Because Old Metairie sits on a natural levee, French settlers were attracted to the area as early as the 1720s. Native American also used the levee as a road, making it the oldest road in the New Orleans area. Metairie Road was paved and had an operating streetcar in the early 20th century, which led to the development of upscale housing alongside it.
Real estate: The oak-lined streets of Old Metairie and the adjacent Metairie Country Club make it a very desirable residential neighborhood. Metairie Road has many restaurants and shops to cater to its residents. Many of the homes are historic English Tudor, Colonial Revival, and Greek Revival homes and other are modern mansions.
Landmarks and favorite establishments: Metairie Country Club, Royal Blend, Taj Majal