Uptown New Orleans and its Neighborhoods
Uptown New Orleans
Real Estate Overview and History
By Leslie Ackel
To know New Orleans, one must understand the city’s unique placement along the Mississippi River. New Orleans French Quarter was built, beginning in 1740, along the east bank of the river within the crescent shaped bend in the river roughly 105 miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
The French chose this area of land to build on because of its height above sea level. In places, the area is measured to be near 20 feet above sea level. Areas that developed both up river and down river from the French Quarter are coined by their locations as neighborhoods, or faubourgs, a Creole term.
Located just upriver from the French Quarter and Warehouse District is Uptown New Orleans. Originally, the word “Uptown” was used as a direction, meaning settlement movement in the direction against the flow of the Mississippi River. Where the French and Creole began settling downriver from the Quarter, settlers from Europe moved upriver.
Developed just after the Louisiana Purchase, and upriver from Central City, Uptown begins with the section of neighborhoods up river from Canal Street to the Jefferson Parish line. For the sake of defining Uptown’s unique make-up, citizens and the New Orleans Planning Department personnel refer to the areas within Uptown as neighborhoods or sub-districts.
Uptown area encompasses the Central Business District, Central City, the upper and lower Garden Districts, Irish Channel, Faubourg Bouligny, Audubon/University District and Carrollton.
The whole of uptown runs from Julia Street in the Warehouse District to 1st Street at St. Charles Avenue. Felicity Street, Thalia Street, Magazine Street, Julia Street to the north; the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Crescent City Connection, Mississippi River to the east, Felicity Street, Magazine Street, Constance Street, Jackson Avenue, Chippewa Street, Soraparu and St. Thomas streets to the south; and 1st Street to the west.
Uptown, as a sub-division of itself, citizens consider the area to be a dozen blocks centering on the intersection of Jefferson and St. Charles Avenue.
Parts of the Uptown neighborhood are upwards of 15 feet above sea level.
Upriver from Uptown neighborhood is the Lower Garden District. The area covers what were once five plantations, up to Felicity Street.
Barthelemy Lafon, the founding father of the Lower Garden District named his streets after the nine muses of Greek mythology: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Thalia, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Euterpe, Polymnia, and Urania. The main street was Prytania.
In 1950, The Lower Garden District’s early ambience and architecture were greatly upended by development of the Mississippi River Bridge and many of the grand homes were torn down or made into condominiums. In the 1970’s, preservationist worked to regenerate a neighborhood atmosphere in the district.
The Garden District was a part of continuing Uptown expansion beginning in 1832 and continuing until 1900. The district is an example of an influx of wealthy families to the area. It is a sub-district of the Central City/Garden District Area, with its boundaries defined by the City Planning Commission as St. Charles Avenue to the north, 1st Street to the east, Magazine Street to the south and Toledano Street to the west. The Garden District association claims its boundaries to be both sides of Carondelet Street, Josephine Street, both sides of Louisiana Avenue, and Magazine Street.
The Garden District gets its name from how the lots were first drawn in the area. Only two to three houses were planed for each block, each home to be surrounded by large gardens. However, as Uptown began to urbanize, space became necessary to allow for growth. The original plans were, for the most part, scrapped. But, there remain today, a small number of homes situated on the large, original tract sizes. The Garden District has an elevation of 3 – 4 feet above sea level and is known for its opulent mansions.
And finally upriver from the Garden District lies the Audubon/University District and Carrollton District, the farthest district upriver from the French Quarter. It was annexed into the City of New Orleans in 1874. Carrollton is bounded by the riverside of S.Clairborne, Jefferson Parish, Fig Street and Broadway. This district is noted for the universities of Tulane and Loyola, and the beautiful Audubon Park and Zoo.