New Orleans

New Orleans. The Crescent City. The Big Easy. How does one explore all that a city has to offer when its heritage and culture are as rich and hearty as a cup of smoked turkey gumbo? Well, mon ami, it is The Big Easy, so let’s take it one street at a time.

Magazine Street

Perhaps no street exhibits New Orleans’ vivid diversity more than Magazine Street. Entering from the French Quarter at Canal and Decatur, Magazine Street sheds the colourful colonial trappings of the Quarter and dons the functional conservative styling of The Central Business District better known as the CBD. Although a great amount of the nineteenth and early twentieth century architecture has been lost to the more modern, albeit sanitised office buildings, the ghosts of grey business suits with crisp creases front and back, and broad brimmed fedoras still haunt the streets. Now young urban professionals linger over chilled white wine and gulf coast oysters whilst deciding the fate of the rest of the business day.

Moving westward past the WWII museum and under the Pontchartrain Expressway, Magazine Street discards the Brooks Brothers and pulls up bib overalls and laces up the steel-toes of the Warehouse District. The one-time prosperous borough was the city’s industrial and commerce storage area, stowing coffee, grains, and crops; hence the name The Warehouse District. But, as boon gave way to bust the gritty borough became deserted and all but forgotten. Old warehouses still standing pay tribute to the once glory days.
But all was not lost. It was discovered that vacant warehouses make great art studios, galleries, and stages. And soon decades long renaissance began rebranding the neighbourhood as The Arts District. The hippies found another neighbourhood.

Antique Shopping

 

The reappearance of colonial architecture heralds The Garden Districts (Upper and Lower). Cargo shorts and flip-flops replace Levis and Fryes. Live Oaks line the boulevard, distinguished homes with pillars and wrought iron framed porches return to the low rise sky-line. The grand lawns and flower beds lend justice to the district’s name.

 

Just as Magazine Street seems to settle into a charming residential neighbourhood, it gives way to a business district. Many boutiques, second-hand, and antiques stores produce a bohemian quality. But don’t let the faded jeans persona fool you, this is designer up-scale shopping. For those for whom shopping is of a lesser importance, there is an array of bars, bistros, bars, eateries and bars.

 

Garden District (3)Magazine Street continues on to the Polo shirt and slacks neighbourhoods of Uptown and Carrollton. The expansive yards and spacious homes give a feel of a distinct town, which is what it once was. Uptown and Carrollton are heavily influenced by both Tulane and Loyola universities.

If the extent of Magazine Street seems a little daunting, perhaps a small sample would be more tempting. The #11 bus runs the length of Magazine Street, hop on and off at the district or districts that offers the most interest,
If on foot or by bus, kick back and enjoy the many faces and places of Magazine Street.

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About The Author

A local Portage la Prairian and his wife caught the travel bug early on in life and share some of the stories and recipes from their journeys.

2 Responses

    • al

      Thank you for the comment Shirley. Sometimes the travelling is easy, sometimes the travelling is hard. All the time the travelling is an adventure. Always make sure to pack an open mind and your sense of humour. I’m glad you enjoyed the story.

      Reply

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