This historically significant neighborhood has maintained a small-town feel.
Photographed by Cheryl Gerber
The fact that Algiers Point, a charming neighborhood directly across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, is geographically isolated by the natural barrier of the river has served to ensure its development as a city within a city.
The Point is a series of winding streets — similar to Paris’ Left Bank — filled with turn-of-the-century homes rubbing shoulders with neighborhood businesses all nestled in the bend of the river that gives the Crescent City its name.
Although tied to a city whose port is the second-busiest in the nation — a city with its feet planted firmly in the 21st century — Algiers Point still has the atmosphere of a 19th-century small town.
Its churches, schools, corner groceries and neighborhood businesses serve the community as they have for the past generations in the same leisurely, unhurried pace.
Antique stores, furniture shops, craft stores and boutiques have all opened, joining the upscale restaurants and coffee shops to serve the influx of young professionals who are snapping up what are still considered real estate bargains.
Algiers Point’s position in the establishment of the city of New Orleans is significant. After the French Quarter, it could be considered the second-oldest neighborhood in the city.
Bienville, the city’s founder, was granted this West Bank tract in 1719 during the colonial period. It was the site of the French settlement’s slaughterhouse and was often called Slaughterhouse Point. The colonists housed their powder magazine on the Point, as well; Powder Street attests to that fact.
A ferry route was established between the Point and the Central Business District and the Vieux Carré in 1827, and the town began to develop. The Point has long been home to a thriving shipbuilding industry and commerce from the Southern Pacific Railroad. Its present-day Moorish-inspired courthouse was built on land that once housed the Duverje Plantation, named for the oldest family in Algiers.
In 1895, a devastating fire destroyed the courthouse and most of its Greek Revival and Italianate buildings, yet within a year, a new courthouse was built and rows of attractive cottages and larger houses were under construction.
Algiers Point was annexed into the city at the turn of the century and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
Colonial Condominiums Offer Luxury Living in Treme
A stunning new condominium project just across the street from the French Quarter has come online and has been enjoying brisk sales.
The Colonial Condominiums, 1301 N. Rampart St. on the corner of Esplanade in Faubourg Treme, offers one- and two-bedroom units plus three two-bedroom penthouses on its fifth floor. It was developed by Glen Carimi.
The units are definitely upscale and contain built-in kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, high ceilings and plenty of hardwood and marble floors. Many of the units open onto private terraces with sweeping views of the French Quarter and Central Business District, and one penthouse even contains its own private fountain.
“We have everything you could want in this location,” Carimi says. “We’re right across the street from the Quarter, so you can walk to all the restaurants and galleries, yet when you come home, we have the magnificent views, top-notch security and privacy.”
The units range from 859 square feet to 2,553 square feet and in price from $284,000 to $2.1 million. Individual inside parking may be purchased separately for $45,000, outside parking for $25,000 and storage units for $10,000. The penthouses’ prices include inside parking and storage. A high wrought-iron fence with an automatic gate encloses the entire community, and a fountain and patio just off of the parking lot greet visitors.
“We have 33 units, and we’ve already sold 25,” says listing agent Mitchell W. Danese (with Eileen O’Donnell), a Realtor with Dorian Bennett Sotheby’s International Realty, who also serves as property manager. “All of the studios are sold, and we basically just have the one-bedrooms and penthouses left.”
The development is open every Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Call Danese at 339-6050 or O’Donnell at 944-3605 for more information or for a private showing.
Five good reasons to rent
Although home ownership has its advantages, sometimes remaining a renter makes more sense for these reasons:
1. Renting can save money. When you buy a home, you’re paying for closing fees, mortgage interest, property taxes, private mortgage insurance, homeowner’s insurance and maintenance — costs that return nothing on your investment. You might be better off banking that money or investing it.
2. Homeowners’ tax deductions might not work for you. Conventional wisdom says that buying a home saves you money because the mortgage interest is tax-deductible. But a study by the National Multi Housing Council points out that half of today’s homeowners don’t get a break because even with mortgage interest and property taxes, their total deductions do not exceed the standard federal tax deduction.
3. Housing prices are rising much faster than rents, and apartments offer amenities. Generally, rents experience slower growth compared to housing prices. Plus, many modern apartments offer amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts and spas that may be unaffordable in a new home.
4. Renting gives you flexibility if you don’t plan to stay long in one place. If you have to move for any reason, your property would need to appreciate by at least 10 percent for you to recover your sales costs, which typically takes five to seven years. Renting allows you the freedom and mobility you need to find the right job before you tie yourself to a massive home investment.
5. You’d rather be traveling than fixing your plumbing. Being a homeowner means added responsibilities that cut into your free time and bank account. If you’re a renter, you need only call your landlord if you have problems with leaky plumbing or broken air conditioners, saving yourself time and money.