Hey Julia,

How did Mid-City get its name? It is not really in the middle of the city is it?

– Mildred Scantalafonti (New Orleans)


Well, it depends how you look at it Mildred. At one end, the neighborhood is close to Metairie which skews it toward the Jefferson parish line. However, from North to South the neighborhood is more or less midway between the lake and the river, and that is the key. It all goes back to a bank. When Hibernia Bank opened a branch facility on the corner of N. Carrollton and Canal Streets in the early 1900s (now the site of a Capitol One) it needed a geographic identity. Since the neighborhood was built from reclaimed swamp land and once known informally as “backoftown” the bank wanted to give the branch a batter identity. So it had a “name the branch” contest among its employees. One worker noted that the corner of Canal and Carrollton was indeed halfway between the lake and the river so he suggested Mid-City. That became the winner. A sign went up designating the bank at Hibernia’s Mid-City branch and the name stuck. It is a classically urban neighborhood with the extra advantage of shrimp remoulade at Mandina’s and Brocato’s cannolis nearby.


Dear Julia,

In your May issue a question was posed by Rhett Smith of New Orleans about the origin of the name of the St. Claude neighborhood. Many of the neighborhoods here in New Orleans reflect the names of neighborhoods of Paris, France. Those include Gentilly, Marigny, Versailles, Mureaux, Navarre, St. Roch, and of course St. Claude.

The St. Claude neighborhood just south east of Paris is named for Claudius of Besancon, who was an abbot there long ago.

– Laurie Wood (New Orleans)


For those who may have missed the question and reply. I suggested that the neighborhood was named for Claude Tremé the developer of the area. Truth is, we may have both been right. It was not uncommon to name something after a local important person but to link it with an historic saint with the same name. Claudius of Besancon (607-699) was likely a great man. He was known for being prayerful and for building churches and abbeys, but it was Tremé who had the New Orleans impact. There is indeed a St. Claude neighborhood in Paris with lots of cafes and near the city center, sort of like the New Orleans version. It would be nice to believe that Claude knew the neighborhood’s most popular namesake, St. Roch, but they were 700 years apart.



Poydras is looking for something to do. Send your questions to julia@myneworleans.com and be sure to include your name and information. For the subject line use: Julia and Poydras Question.