New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Algiers Point

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOLA’s Algiers Point neighborhood is a a quiet suburb on the Mississippi River’s West Bank. Coined Algiers Point in the 1970’s, it’s known for its quaint houses, small art galleries, the open-air concerts at Algiers Ferry Landing and its three miles of walking and biking trails along its riverfront, the perfect stretch for picnics and enjoying great views of the New Orleans skyline.

The City Planning Commission defines the area as approximately 50 city blocks bounded by Opelousas Avenue, Pacific Avenue and the river. Some houses in Algiers Point predate the Civil War, though most of the houses were built after the fire of 1985 destroyed much of the original housing.

Algiers Point History

Algiers was part of the land grant given to New Orleans founder Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville by the Company of the Indies in 1719. Before being annexed to New Orleans in 1970, Algiers was a bustling town with its own governance and thriving economy. The Algiers-Canal Street Ferry began operating in 1827, and has been in continuous operation ever since. The area became known for shipbuilding, repair and other riverfront endeavors, and by the 1850’s, rail yards lining the riverside employed many of the town’s residents. At its height, Algiers Point operated six separate ferries to New Orleans’ East Bank, including one capable of carrying livestock and railroad cars.

The town was built on the site of the Duverje Plantation, which was subdivided by its owner around 1839. The plantation home, built in 1812, became the Algiers Courthouse, but was ultimately destroyed by the fire of 1895. The fire also leveled several blocks of the original neighborhood, demolishing much of the early architecture.

Algiers Point Today

While some early buildings still exist, including several Greek Revival, Italianate and Victorian styles, the District is now largely comprised of early 20th century architectural styles.

Given its long history as an independent municipality, Algiers Point retains a small-town atmosphere, largely independent from the bustle of the French Quarter and the rest of the city despite its close proximity. Today, it’s a favorite for local musicians and artists. Some even refer to it as “the Brooklyn of New Orleans.”

Landmarks and Events

Some great locations to visit in Algiers Point include:

Cafes, Restaurants and Bars

Homey pubs and restaurants are a staple in Algiers Point:

Algiers Point has something for everyone. If the lovely old oak trees and pastel cottages don’t charm you, the parks, restaurants and galleries certainly will. Check out the rest of my neighborhood series to learn about other great areas in New Orleans.

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New Orleans Neighborhood Series: Algiers Point

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: St. Claude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Claude Avenue has emerged as a New Orleans hotspot for locals and tourists alike, attracting visitors with a string of art galleries, dance clubs, live music and restaurants. The St. Claude neighborhood, also known as the Upper 9th Ward, has become a mecca for fringe artists and performers seeking to align themselves with a more “authentic” version of New Orleans. The neighborhood includes the attractions of St. Claude Avenue, as well as plenty of residential space within its interior. It’s one of the oldest parts of the city, and much of it remains largely unchanged, offering charming historic housing stock for a fraction of the price. It’s an up-and-coming area that, given its slate of younger residents, thriving art scene, and recent press, some might argue has already made it big.

St. Claude is a subdistrict of the Bywater District, which has also garnered national attention for its recent renaissance. St. Claude’s boundaries, as defined by the City Planning Commission, include: Law, Montegut and North Galvez Streets to the north, Lesseps Street to the East, Burgundy Street, Clouet Street and St. Claude Avenue to the south, and Franklin Avenue to the west.

History

In colonial times, the area consisted mostly of plantation land, with residential development starting in the first decade of the 19th century. The area was known as part of the predominantly French “downtown” section of New Orleans. Soon, St. Claude welcomed settlers from Spain and the French Caribbean, and, later in the century, white and mixed-race Creoles, as well as immigrants from Germany, Italy and Ireland.

The neighborhood began attracting artistic communities in the late 1990s. Pre-Katrina, St. Claude Avenue was a gritty street populated by furniture stores and a smattering of oddball shops. The neighborhood was working-class and predominantly black. Post-Katrina, it’s a mix of flood-ravaged homes, trash-littered streets, and higher-ground areas containing well-maintained, historic homes and changing demographics. The high ground section on the Mississippi River side of St. Claude Avenue escaped significant flooding, as did areas on the Gentilly Ridge and along the lakefront fill. Other areas contain strings of uninhabitable, abandoned homes.

The Desire streetcar line, made famous by Tennessee Williams’ play A Streetcar Named Desire, links St. Claude with the rest of the city. Bywater and St. Claude are often referred to as the “old neighborhood,” by locals who lament the ongoing trend of gentrification.

St. Claude Today

St. Claude is a mix of old and new. It’s still home to gritty streets and general ruin, yet hipsters, artists and bohemians have flocked there, rehabbing old homes, driving up prices and opening the city’s hippest cafes, galleries and wellness studios. No longer a fringe phenomenon, St. Claude is becoming a universal destination, earning mention in nearly all of the city’s press.

Landmarks:

Some of the most notable landmarks in St. Claude include:

The Musicians’ VIllage: An artist’s community designed to aid local musicians and preserve the city’s culture following Hurricane Katrina.

Ellis Marsalis Center for Music: Facility serving at-risk children, youth and musicians.

St. Claude Arts District: An artist-run arts district comprised of over two dozen collectives, co-ops and pop-ups along St. Claude Avenue.

New Orleans Healing Center: A community center featuring a fitness center, art galleries, a yoga studio, a voodoo shop, and more.

Dancing Grounds: A dance studio offering dance classes and community youth programs.

The New Movement: An improv and sketch comedy theater offering fresh shows seven days a week.

Cafes, Restaurants and Bars:

Most coveted hot spots are on or around St. Claude Avenue. Be sure to visit:

N7:  Elegant French wine bar named one of the 10 best new restaurants in America by Bon Appetit.

Sneaky Pickle: A highly rated vegan restaurant using locally-sourced ingredients.

Junction: A tavern serving over 40 beers on tap and fancy burgers.

St. Coffee on St. Claude: A highly regarded cafe serving great coffee, vegan snacks and herbal concoctions.

Saturn Bar: A dive bar that showcases alternative bands, guest DJs and dance parties.

Expect for St. Claude to continue to grow in popularity as it takes a central position in NOLA’s art scene and tourism.

Check out the rest of my neighborhood series to learn about other great areas in New Orleans.

New Orleans Neighborhood Series: St. Claude