Also, known as the Vieux Carre (meaning “Old Square” in French) the French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. Founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, its charming architecture and elegant courtyards are what often come to mind when people think of quintessential New Orleans. Although two major fires in the late 1700’s destroyed much of its original French architecture, the stylistic remains can be seen in the deep, narrow structure of the buildings and rear courtyards. Tasked with the rebuilding of the neighborhood under strict new fire codes, the governing Spanish found alternatives for old French construction methods, and the results of the Spanish influence on French architecture are evident in today’s beautifully colored stucco walls and the ornate ironwork of balconies and galleries. Its heart is the bustling Jackson Square, a combination of commerce and residential life for almost 300 years.
This residential neighborhood was developed in the 1700’s and was known for its immediate downriver proximity to the French Quarter. The streets display a variety of architectural styles, including warehouses, that represent the area’s history as an industrial center beginning in the 1800’s, but with Creole cottages being the predominate. The lush greenery of peaceful Washington Square sits in close proximity to the vibrant and bustling Frenchmen Street, known for its lively bars, cafes and music scene.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Bywater was settled on plantations carved by land grants made by French and Spanish Rulers. The neighborhood attracted Hurricane Katrina survivors after the storm, as the neighborhood was less affected due to the slightly higher elevation closer to the Mississippi river. Early inhabitants included Creoles of African and Native American descent along with French Caribbean, Irish, German, and Italian immigrants. Known for its charming shotgun homes and small cottages, Bywater is home to a fantastic assortment of trendy restaurants, bars, cafes and weekend markets.
Otherwise known as the arts district, the Warehouse District is bustling with creative enterprise. Along with dozens of art galleries lining both Camp and Julia Streets, the neighborhood is home to the Ogden Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the National WWII Museum. With the housing stock being predominantly made up of old warehouses converted to condominiums, this architecturally unique area of New Orleans has come into its own as a desirable place to live. Neighboring the Central Business District, the Warehouse District boasts its own attractive assortment of restaurants and bars.
CENTRAL BUSINESS DISTRICT
After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Americans began to settle in New Orleans, initially in what was then known as Faubourg St. Mary, and Canal Street separated the city’s French and American populations. Business, commerce and industry were concentrated in the Central Business District, as they are to this day, though the neighborhood has seen numerous buildings converted to apartments and condominiums in the past decade.
The Garden District is famous for its lush, sprawling gardens and spectacular homes. Developed from 1832-1900, the whole area was once a number of plantations later sold off in parcels to mainly wealthy Americans who wanted to segregate themselves from the Creoles living in the French Quarter, Bywater and Marigny. Originally each block contained only a couple of houses, each designed with huge surrounding gardens, which is how the area got its name. Nowadays, the neighborhood is known more for its gorgeous, late Victorian mansions and attracts visitors and architectural enthusiasts from around the world.
LOWER GARDEN DISTRICT
Like the Garden District, the Lower Garden District neighborhood is made up of old, sub-divided plantations. The cottages and lovely townhouses around St Mary’s and Coliseum Square are in the good company of Magazine Street’s trendy cafes, artist’s studios, galleries and antique shops.
Once known as “Back of town” in the 19th century, Treme’ plays an important part in New Orleans’ history and remains a center for the city’s African American and Creole culture. The neighborhood was developed in the later part of the 18th century after Claude Treme’ purchased the land from plantation owners and created sub-divisions in order to house the diverse community made up of Caucasians, Haitian Creoles, and free persons of color. The town square, originally referred to as “Place des Negres” (now known as the famous Congo Square) was where slaves gathered to dance each Sunday pre-Civil war, before the government banned them from doing so. In 1960 an urban renewal project tore down a major part of the neighborhood. After, the land sat empty until 1970 when it was rebuilt as Louis Armstrong Park. The park has attracted famous jazz musicians from New Orleans and around the world and Treme’ gave birth to the modern brass band tradition.
Situated between the former cities of Lafayette and Carrollton (later both annexed by New Orleans), Uptown is comprised of a number of neighborhoods. The residential heart of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th century, it is best known as home to many of New Orleans well-respected colleges and universities as well as the historic Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo. Magazine Street offers up fantastic eateries and galleries that are well visited by both locals and tourists.
The quick growth of this area, a product of the New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad, led to the incorporation of rural Carrollton in 1845. Ten years later, the area became known as the Jefferson Parrish Seat of Justice and was annexed by New Orleans in 1874. Keeping in line with its 150-year-old history, the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar is still in use today and connects Carrollton’s Oak Street to a variety of other historic neighborhoods.
One of the few New Orleans neighborhoods on the West Bank of the Mississippi River, this neighborhood is known for the devastating fire that destroyed Algiers Point’s Courthouse along with many of the Greek revival and Italianate buildings in 1895. The neighborhood was rebuilt within a year of the wreckage and the streets are now lined with large houses and beautiful cottages built in the style of that period. Algiers Point boasts a thriving ship building industry and commerce from the Southern Pacific railroad.
With streets intersecting a wide boulevard shaded by great live oaks and sycamore trees, Esplanade Ridge has historically been a very desirable neighborhood. The historic area is known for its lovely homes, which are grand and elegant and decorated with Creole charm. The area has an interesting hybrid of different architectural styles, such as shotgun cottages, built in the mid to late 19th century, and turn of the century revival architecture. Many of the homes escaped destruction during Katrina because of the naturally occurring high ground.
This unique neighborhood was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Although the architecture is diverse, single story “doubles” or craftsmen houses in the shotgun style predominate. Historically, the neighborhood was known for its agriculture, mainly sugar plantations that lined the Mississippi River. Eventually the plantation owners divided their land into faubourgs (the French term for suburbs) in order to sell off lots for residential development. Nowadays, the neighborhood is alive with activities ranging from restaurants and shops on Magazine to a lively annual St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Once a low-lying swamp area, this neighborhood developed in the early 20th Century after the area was drained. It was considered the geographic center of New Orleans and stretched from Canal Street in the French Quarter all the way out to the cemeteries on the outer reaches of the city. Alongside fantastic restaurants and charming residential areas, Mid-City also is home to the New Orleans Museum of Art and City Park.
Though technically not in New Orleans, rather a small segment of neighboring Jefferson Parish, Old Metairie is known as New Orleans’ most affluent suburb. The neighborhood is primarily residential with an impressive and diverse assortment of architectural styles, including English Tudor, Mission Revival, Colonial Revival and Greek Revival. Metairie Club Gardens boasts gorgeous homes, while Metairie Road, the small but self-sufficient commercial area, is filled with lovely boutiques, gourmet specialty shops and cafes.