New Orleans Garden District History
From 1832 to 1900 (or so), the Garden District was The Place for the newly wealthy in New Orleans to set up their households in genteel style.
Instead of the charming but “working class” French and Spanish bungalows and townhouses of the Vieux Carre, these houses demonstrated the latest in Victorian elegance, a mélange of high styles gleaned from not just the Spanish and French, but also from the Italians, the British, and the “Greek Revival.”
In particular, the houses showcased that essential British element of taste: the homeowner’s garden. The grounds of these residences were designed to be as impressive as the structures and were protected, yet accented, by their scrolling cast iron gates.
Walking through the streets of this neighborhood today can feel like strolling through a living museum. Yet it is also a thriving commercial neighborhood, particularly on Magazine St.
Garden District Landmarks
- Commander’s Palace, one of the world’s great restaurants, is tucked into this neighborhood on Washington St.
- Lafayette Cemetery is tucked in right next to Commander’s Palace. The George Washington Cable House, a National Historic Landmark, can be found at 1313 8th St.
- The Rink, originally a 19th Century skating rink building, is now a small shopping mall.
- Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel is still owned by author Anne Rice, though Rice herself no longer lives in the district.
- The death site of Jefferson Davis is here, as a friend took him in after he became ill while traveling.