New Orleans streetcars are some of the most distinguishing characteristics of this unique and dynamic city in the American South. In a time in history when high-speed rails and other means of lightning fast and more efficient means of transportation are being developed, streetcars in cities such as New Orleans and San Francisco hearken back to a time when things were simpler. Canal Street is an iconic part of New Orleans with its widely recognizable six-lane street with two streetcar and bus routes in the middle. These kinds of characteristics keep New Orleans on the top of the list of the most unique cities in the U.S. on an annual basis.
New Orleans Streetcars
Among the New Orleans streetcars, there are three active lines. The St Charles Streetcar New Orleans is the oldest active streetcar in all of America and each of the cars on this particular line are registered as historic landmarks. You truly get a sense that you are in the Big Easy when you’re walking along historic Canal Street taking in the shopping and entertainment, and one of the vintage streetcars passes by. After Hurricane Katrina ravaged many of the power lines, disabling almost every streetcar route in New Orleans, the Mid-City facility that stores the majority of the more modern fleet was flooded. As a result some of the vintage St Charles streetcars were used on the Riverfront and Canal lines until the modern, red streetcars were restored and ready for use once again.
Even thought the St Charles is perhaps the most widely recognized, it is not the only streetcar route in New Orleans. The Riverfront line extends parallel to the Mississippi River from Esplanade Street all the way to the Arts District. Along the way there are stops made in the French Quarter, at the Convention Center, and several other stops. Streetcars are not only attractions in and of themselves, but are a fantastic and cheap way to get around the city. This way you can hop off whenever you want to see a show, pop into an antique shop, or check out that art gallery you have been planning to see. Getting a map and planning your own streetcar route in New Orleans is an excellent way to save some money and also become much more familiar with the inner workings of the city. Just as getting a solid understanding of the subway system in New York City makes being there a much more pleasurable and easy experience, so too will utilizing New Orleans streetcars enhance your visit to this city.
The third route is the Canal Street line utilizes the Riverfront tracks, passes down Canal Street and Poydras Street before ending at the City Park Avenue cemeteries. Tourists regularly use the St Charles Streetcar New Orleans line as much for its historical value as for its functional value. It is a fun way to leisurely get from one place to the other as you explore the multicultural delights of New Orleans. Residents of the city also use the St Charles Streetcar New Orleans because it is a convenient way to get to work and other attractions around the city.