THE GARDEN DISTRICT AND IRISH CHANNEL

The Lower Garden District is just upriver from the Faubourg St. Mary (the CBD), bounded by Howard Avenue, St. Charles Avenue (or perhaps Carondelet Street which runs parallel to St. Charles, one block to the north), Jackson Avenue and the river. As the elegant St. Charles Avenue winds its way through the Lower Garden District, it is bisected by streets named after the Greek Muses. There are blocks of modest cottages near St. Mary's and St. Alphonsus Churches, as well as elegant townhouses on Coliseum Square. Magazine Street begins with its antique stores, restaurants, artistic shops and studios.

That which should be called the Upper Garden District because it was developed from plantations immediately upriver from the Lower Garden District, between St. Charles Avenue and Magazine Street, New Orleanians simply call the Garden District. The Garden District's streets are numbered First, Second, and so on through Ninth, with Washington Avenue in the middle taking the place of what would be Fifth Street. This area of New Orleans was once a city of its own named for the Marquis De Lafayette. Lafayette City became incorporated in 1833 and annexed to New Orleans in 1852, but originally all of this land was part of a grant belonging to Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, the founder of New Orleans. The development of the City of Lafayette evolved from the subdivision of the Livaudais Plantation into residential lots in 1825 for the newly affluent Americans who became wealthy in their adopted city.

The new Garden District with its fashionable homes was the Americans' answer to their French Creole contemporaries living in the Vieux Carré and along Esplanade. The Creole population resided on the other side of Canal Street, the "neutral ground" between the French and American sectors of New Orleans. The ante- bellum Greek revival residences built by the prosperous Americans in what we today call the Garden District are some of the most beautiful in this country. It is here where these striking homes can still be seen in much of their original splendor. You may even catch a glimpse of Anne Rice or imagine the Vampire Lestat somewhere among these architectural masterpieces.

The verdant gardens and spectacular homes attract countless admirers annually from all over the world. The Irish Channel is roughly bounded by Magazine Street, Jackson Avenue, the river and Louisiana Avenue, although it was once one street running for just two blocks. This section is the working-class area adjacent to the elegant Garden District. Parasol's Bar is a landmark in the midst of shotgun doubles built in the mid-to-late nineteenth century. Many Irishmen worked as draymen and stevedores along the wharves during these years. Clay Square is a shady park nestled among the homes of Irish and German immigrants. Parasol's is actually a corruption of a German name, Passauer.