Uptown New Orleans

Uptown New Orleans is a neighborhood located on the Mississippi River to the south of the French Quarter. The Up in the name of this neighborhood refers to the direction that goes against the flow of the river (which is upriver), meaning that the neighborhoods of the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny would be “Down” town New Orleans. Historically, Canal Street was the dividing line between Uptown and Downtown New Orleans, meaning that the Garden District and the Uptown Carrollton area are both technically within its boundaries. While the Central Business District is upriver from Canal Street, it is technically a sub-district of the French Quarter. Typically, the residents downriver from Canal Street were predominantly French and Creole speakers, and those upriver were English speakers who emigrated from other parts of the United States. Virtually all of the Uptown New Orleans District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Uptown New Orleans
Uptown New Orleans

Things to do in Uptown include taking sightseeing tours of the gracious nineteenth-century architecture that has been preserved in the area. Unlike Faubourg Marigny that was a largely middle-class Creole neighborhood with its own unique working-class architecture, the Uptown and Garden Districts boast lush gardens and gracious mansions that were built when the plantations in this rural area were divided.

From the Uptown Carrollton area to the Garden District, the city’s historic St. Charles Avenue streetcars (the green cars) offer one of the best methods to view the showy gardens and elegant Greek Revival and Italianate mansions of what was once called Millionaire’s Row. Highlights include the homes of famous residents, including author Anne Rice, football star Archie Manning and his famous quarterback son Peyton, and actor Nicolas Cage. You can see the filming sites of the movies The Curious Case of Benjamin Button starring Brad Pitt and Interview With A Vampire, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. Scenes from the latter were filmed in the most atmospheric of the city’s cemeteries, Lafayette Cemetery #1, with its above-ground graves and crypts. Nighttime ghost tours are very popular here.

Things to do in Uptown include visiting Magazine Street, which runs through the center of all these areas. While it has only one lane in each direction, it is a major commercial street with excellent shopping. Many excellent Uptown restaurants are located on this street, as well as art galleries, chic boutiques, and antique and furniture stores. Other Uptown New Orleans attractions include the large Audubon Institute and its parks. Here is the internationally respected Audubon Zoo, accessible on the St. Charles Avenue streetcars.

Other Uptown Carrollton area attractions include the Old City Hall, a neoclassical building that is now a school, and the home of John Kennedy Toole, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, a Confederacy of Dunces. For special events, things to do in Uptown include the Arts Market of New Orleans held on the last Saturday of each month in Palmer Park. On these days, the park is full of tents and stalls handmade clothing and jewelry, paintings, art, and handcrafts made by local artists and artisans.

Top image: ~MVI~ (warped) (flickr)
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