Cross the Industrial Canal into the Lower Ninth Ward and head toward the river for
a different type of New Orleans living. Historic Holy Cross is a tranquil neighborhood,
with shotguns and cottages set on large lots, many with gardens. A walk on the levee
provides breathtaking views of New Orleans’ downtown and the curve of the river; it’s
enjoyed at all hours by residents of this sleepy neighborhood.
The land that comprises modern-day Holy Cross was established on Bernard deMarigny’s former holdings starting in 1808. German and Irish immigrants and African Americans settled the region and by 1900, the neighborhood featured a number of small farms that provided produce, poultry and dairy products to New Orleans’ markets. The construction of the Industrial Canal in 1923 established the term “Lower Ninth Ward,” and cut the neighborhood off from the rest of New Orleans. White flight and damage from Hurricane Betsy in 1965 adversely impacted the neighborhood in the mid 20th-century, but many long-term residents held strong.
While much of the Lower Ninth Ward was decimated by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding that followed the levee failures, water receded from Holy Cross quickly, making damage less severe on this high ground near the river. Stalwart generations of homeowners inspired people to come back and put down roots. It took many years for the neighborhood to fully recover, but it did. Today, Holy Cross has a high homeownership rate thanks to both new and longtime residents.
Many devoted residents have restored homes in the neighborhood, and programs like the Preservation Resource Center’s Operation Comeback and Rebuilding Together New Orleans have also made considerable impact in restoring the area’s historic homes and keeping elderly and low-income homeowners in their houses while beautifying them and making them safe. This neighborhood is filled with a unique assortment of residences, from the incredible Steamboat houses across from one another on Egania Street to the modern and efficient Global Green houses where Andry Street meets the river.
Many thanks to the Preservation Resource Center for providing this wonderful information! (www.prcno.org)