The Classic Revival mansions and charming cottages of the Garden District are famous, known and recognizable around the world. What visitors rarely see, though, is the closeknit neighborhood that keeps this historic district alive and thriving. Neighbors here know and look after one another. T hey see familiar faces as they stroll under the live oaks near Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the early morning, or when they’re walking along Prytania Street at dusk. The same faces pop up daily in the Garden District’s co ee shops, and at the Rink, a circa 1884 skating rink that was converted a century later into a shopping arcade. Locals and visitors can dine at world famous Commander’s Palace, or a number of diverse eateries along Magazine Street.
Settled by American businessmen, most of them “Yankees” eager to escape the
Creole-dominated politics of New Orleans, the Garden District was laid out in
1832 and incorporated as the City of Lafayette in 1834. Cotton brokers, agents
and nanciers built fortunes in the boom years leading up the Civil War, then
established their families in elegant homes on the new city’s spacious lots. By
the time New Orleans annexed the area as its fourth district in 1852, travel
writers had already dubbed it the “Garden District” for its spacious, showy
gardens. Many of the homes were designed by renowned architects such as
Henry Howard and James Freret.
In 1939, residents formed the Garden District Association, a formidable force for preservation of the residential integrity and quality of life of the neighborhood. The Garden District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and today is a dynamic community grounded in a strong sense of tradition, with block upon block of stunning, and well maintained, historic architecture lining the streets.
Many thanks to the Preservation Resource Center for providing this wonderful information! (www.prcno.org)