New Marigny

The New Marigny is one of the city’s best Katrina comeback stories. An area

that suffered decline through the late 20th century, Faubourg St. Roch, as it

is also known, has attracted inspired religious and civic leaders in the wake

of the devastating storm in 2005. The neighborhood has reawakened and is

repopulating at an impressive clip thanks to several new developments and

thriving surrounding historic districts.

 

Part of early settler Bernard de Marigny’s landholdings in the early 19th century, the area was first plotted as a neighborhood in 1810, named after its owner and largely developed between the 1830s and 1880s by French Creoles, German immigrants and Free People of Color. Several musicians either grew up in the neighborhood or lived here as adults, including Sidney Bechet, Manny Perez, Danny Barker and Paul Barbarin. Ferdinand LaMothe, better known as Jelly Roll Morton, used to sneak away from his Creole grandmother’s home just o Elysian Fields Avenue to play piano in Storyville, which was, for two decades around the turn of the 20th century, New Orleans’ legal red light district. Convenient to both the Central Business District and the Vieux Carré, with a stock of charming historic homes and grand boulevards along both Elysian Fields and St. Roch avenues, the New Marigny has all the makings of a desirable downtown neighborhood. Suburban blight hit this neighborhood hard in the mid-20th century, and the construction of the I-10 overpass along the then-thriving Claiborne Avenue commercial corridor sent countless residents and business owners packing. The neighborhood suffered from disinvestment. Local residents began organizing in the mid1990s to fight the neighborhood’s ills, however, with measurable success.

 

The neighborhood was established as a National Register Historic District in 1994, and the Faubourg St. Roch Improvement Association was founded in 1995. PostKatrina, the revitalization of the historic St. Roch Market and blighted homes in the neighborhood, coupled with continued leadership from local residents and concerned leaders, has seen this neighborhood turn a corner. Art galleries and new restaurants are thriving on St. Claude Avenue. Residents enjoy such diverse amenities as the at-times-surreal Saturn Bar and the Circle Food Store, an independent and locally owned grocery that was an integral part of life in the neighborhood for decades pre-Katrina and reopened several years after it flooded in the storm. As real estate prices can attest, the New Marigny is once again a desirable home for new and old New Orleanians alike.

Many thanks to the Preservation Resource Center for providing this wonderful information! (www.prcno.org)

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