It’s a short ferry ride from the foot of busy Canal Street in New Orleans’
downtown to bucolic Algiers Point, but the transition is dramatic. With
great views of the Mississippi River and New Orleans’ skyline, it’s a quiet,
seemingly untouched pocket of the city that was actually New Orleans’
second neighborhood. Part of Orleans Parish since it was annexed in 1870,
Algiers Point feels like a village, complete with schools, parks, children
playing in the streets, and iconic neighborhood restaurants and bars.
Artists and musicians, including some jazz pioneers, have long been attracted to the area for this reason. Many residents commute on the ferry for work, and have for centuries — the ferry connecting Algiers with the French Quarter was established in 1827. Algiers was part of the land grant given to New Orleans founder Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, in 1719. It was subsequently acquired by Adrian de Pauger, one of the French engineers who laid out the Vieux Carré. By 1812 the majority of the land was part of the Duverjé Plantation. In 1819, Andre Seguin purchased land and created a boatyard, which led to the proliferation of shipbuilding and repair in the area. Stockyards and slaughterhouses also became prominent industry, and immigrants from Italy, Germany and Ireland, as well as African Americans, were attracted by this job market.
At its heyday, there were six separate ferries that connected Algiers to New Orleans’ east bank, including one capable of transporting railroad cars and livestock. With such vibrant industry, it’s not surprising that Algiers also had 36 bars and several dance
halls by 1911.Once crowded by industrial warehouses, the Algiers levee today is a pleasant place to walk or bike, with a paved path that connects the town to neighboring Gretna. Look for pristine Victorian homes, charming shotguns and a variety of cafes and bars.
Many thanks to the Preservation Resource Center for providing this wonderful information! (www.prcno.org)