Esplanade Ridge extends from the northern corner of the French Quarter to Bayou St. John and City Park, with Esplanade Avenue as its backbone. Orleans Avenue forms its southwest border, with St. Bernard, Onzaga and the Fairgrounds forming its northeast border. The area just to the north and northeast of the Esplanade Ridge is Gentilly. Esplanade Ridge encompasses three areas that developed at different times in the city's history, the oldest of which is Faubourg Tremé. Esplanade Ridge is today contains Faubourg St. John and Faubourg Pontchartrain. Faubourg Pontchartrain is the site where the Houmas Indians were found encamped when the first white men arrived. Between the two faubourgs is Grand Route St. John, a natural continuation of Bayou Road to Bayou St. John.

The oldest street in New Orleans is probably Bayou Road which was once an ancient Indian portage or trail which connected the Mississippi River and Bayou St. John and out to Lake Pontchartrain. In fact, because this lovely bayou and its ancient trail existed was the main reason the city of New Orleans was established in 1718 where it is today. Part of Bayou Road was renamed Governor Nichols Street and in 1730 the city's first brickyard was established there. By 1780, Claude Tremé built a plantation home on Bayou Road and began subdividing his additional land into what would become Faubourg Tremé, one of New Orleans' oldest neighborhoods. The area has a rich history, and it was here that a great many whites and free persons of color owned property from very early times. They became craftsmen, masons and other skilled artisans, and many of the other Creole residents were to play a significant part in the development of Jazz and other music in this country.

This area of 1830s Creole cottages, Victorian "shotguns," and neighborhood churches is adjacent to the French Quarter roughly bounded by Esplanade and North Broad, St. Louis and Rampart Streets. The Municipal Auditorium and Armstrong Park are on Congo Square, which is now named for P. G. T. Beauregard. St. Augustine Church, built in 1841, is the city's third oldest church. St. Louis Cemeteries 1 and 2 are also in Tremé, and the Lafitte and Iberville housing developments were constructed here in 1949. There are many good values on historic cottages that are being renovated today. A neighborhood group is planting trees in this great old neighborhood as well. Along that stretch of Esplanade Avenue which divides the Vieux Carré and the Faubourg Marigny are many stately homes that made Esplanade the grand residential thoroughfare of the French Creole elite. Traveling down the Avenue past Claiborne begins the second area of the Esplanade Ridge, where mid-to-late nineteenth century shotgun cottages are evident among the other more ample homes. Edgar Degas lived here during his stay in New Orleans. As we continue on beyond Broad all the way down to Bayou St. John, turn-of-the-century period revival architecture is most prominent. This third area bounds the New Orleans Fairgrounds, site of thoroughbred racing and the Jazzfest. The beautiful dome of Our Lady of the Rosary Church is the area's most visible and inspiring landmark, and the Whole Foods Market is a popular stopping-off spot along the Avenue. The homes along Bayou St. John are both historic and impressive, such as the eighteenth century Pitot House on Moss Street which runs along the bayou. At Ground Route St. John and Moss Street, one can find the oldest fire hydrant in the city, September 14, 1869. This part of the Esplanade Ridge is often included in the designation Bayou St. John/City Park Neighborhood.