New Orleans: A Walk Through Faubourg Marigny

Originating as an early 19th century Creole French speaking suburb, Faubourg Marigny is a New Orleans neighborhood that has experienced significant gentrification post Hurricane Katrina.

North Rampart Street

The story of Faubourg Marigny dates back to Spring 1805 when Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville recieved approval to convert his family’s plantation into a subdivision. Bolstered by thousands of Haitian refugees arriving in 1809, Faubourg Marigny quickly as a Creole French speaking suburb just below the Vieux Carré (French Quarter), generally bounded by the Mississippi River, Esplanade, St. Claude and Franklin Avenues. In 1974, the neighborhood was designated as a National Historic District. Dominated with single and double Creole shotgun cottages and once the primary haven of the city’s bohemain culture, since Hurricane Katrina Faubourg Marigny has experienced significant gentrification.

The History of Faubourg Marigny

The Rampart–St. Claude Streetcar Line opened on October 2, 2016. The New Orleans Regional Transit Authority operates the 1.6 mile streetcar extension.

Faubourg Marigny was the one of City’s earliest suburbs, located immediately downriver from the Vieux Carré on land subdivided from the plantation of one of New Orleans most colorful historical figures. Antoine Xavier Bernard Phillipe de Marigny de Mandeville came into an enormous inheritance at a young age and is remembered for the fine style in which he squandered it, developing his faubourg and introducing the game of craps to the city in the meantime. He apparently took a close personal interest in the design of the new faubourg that would bear his name. He appeared especially to have taken great delight in naming its streets. While some street names have stayed the same—most notably Frenchmen Street and Elysian Fields Avenue (originally Champs Elysees)—Craps, Love, Victory, Bagatelle and Good Children Streets have, sadly, been renamed.

The Faubourg Marigny was largely populated by Creole families, free people of color and immigrants, including many Germans. Numerous early homes in the Marigny were built for free women of color. The Marigny is home to Creole cottages and many ornamented shotgun dwellings; with a number of corner stores, 2?story mixed use corner buildings, and fine Queen Anne or Eastlake style Victorian 2?story residences.

Unfortunately, the area entered a difficult period starting in the 1950s, as families who had lived in the area for many years began to move out of the city to the suburbs. Inappropriate development and blight started to negatively impact the area.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, a rising interest in the neighborhood’s history, culture and architecture led to a campaign to protect it. In 1971, it was given protection through a special historic preservation zoning ordinance, the first since the creation of the Vieux Carré Commission in the 1930s. Over the past 40 years, much of the area’s historic architecture has been lovingly preserved and restored. Frenchmen Street’s commercial buildings in the blocks closest to the French Quarter now house an eclectic mix of music clubs, restaurants, cafés and small businesses. The District also includes an industrial section of brick and metal buildings concentrated towards the Mississippi River.

Source: City of New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission

Next Page: A Photographic Tour of Faubourg Marigny