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The garden district

Homes hidden within gardens

A Garden District home

cheryl gerber photographs

The Garden District is one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city with its large gardens and well-appointed houses hidden behind layers of foliage and flowers. Its tree-shaded streets are lined with one excellent example after another of Greek Revival, Queen Anne and Italianate mansions that evoke a view of what life must have been like in New Orleans in the heyday of the mid-1800s.

The boundaries of the Garden District are generally drawn from Jackson to Louisiana avenues and from St. Charles Avenue to Magazine Street.

The Garden District contains a wide variety of home styles, including palatial mansions, center-hall cottages and shotguns, and there’s even a smattering of new construction here and there. Its Magazine Street corridor contains many antique and specialty shops, world-famous restaurants, story-filled cemeteries, several of the city’s finest private and parochial schools and grand and graceful iron fences. Plus, the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar clang-clangs its way along the edge of the neighborhood all day long.

It’s fun to join tours through this neighborhood and listen to the fascinating history of how the Garden District was developed while strolling its brick sidewalks and admiring its architecture.

Even better, during the Mardi Gras season, Garden District residents are just steps or blocks away from the St. Charles Avenue parades, and true to the New Orleans spirit, parade parties abound at this time of year.

In addition to being a lovely, historic neighborhood, the Garden District offers a wide price range. There are homes to buy ranging anywhere from the $300,000s all the way up to the several-million-dollar price tag. If that’s a little too rich for your wallet, consider that many of these grand old houses have an apartment or two tucked away to help with the mortgage note.

how it began

The Garden District came to be developed in the early 1800s as Americans flooded into the old Creole city of New Orleans. These later residents felt out of place with the slow pace of life and with the Creoles’ unwillingness to include outsiders in their businesses and social lives.

These brash newcomers wanted residential spaces large enough to build the prestigious homes they felt would outshine the French and Spanish bungalows and town houses that filled the Vieux Carré.

The Livaudais plantation was subdivided in the 1820s for the Americans to exercise a new style of residential planning whereby a garden surrounded each home.

Many large plantation-style houses were soon constructed by such noted local architects as Henry Howard, Lewis Reynolds, James and William Freret and James Gallier Sr. and Jr.

The neighborhood’s lush gardens, spectacular houses and abundance of trees and flowers attract visitors from around the world.

The Garden District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1974, a neighborhood distinction shared only by the French Quarter.
 

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