Tradition, opulence and beauty can all be used to describe New Orleans' historic Garden District. With its well-preserved collection of antebellum mansions, pristine gardens and southern charm, the Garden District certainly stands out as one of the country's most lovely neighborhoods, and a popular destination for visitors. General boundaries for this famous neighborhood are St. Charles Avenue to Magazine Street and from Jackson Avenue to Louisiana Avenue.
Originally laid out in 1832 by Barthelemy Lafron, the Garden District was created after the Louisiana Purchase as a settlement for the new American residents of New Orleans not eager to mingle with those of European descent, primarily concentrated in the French Quarter. Americans made wealthy by cotton, sugar, insurance and shipping commissioned leading architects of the time to create classic homes in Italianate, Greek Revival and Victorian styles. The homes were built on generous plots allowing for the cultivation of magnificent gardens for which the area is named. The result is a breathtaking neighborhood filled with picturesque homes and enchanting surroundings.
Over the years, the Garden District has been featured in countless movies and film projects and has even attracted many celebrities to live in the area. Anne Rice, Nicholas Cage, and most recently, Sandra Bullock are just a few of the notable names who have chosen to call the Garden District home. And it's no wonder why, for the elegance of the neighborhood is truly second to none.
A common destination for those visiting the Garden District is the intersection of Prytania Street and Washington Avenue. Here, in the heart of the neighborhood, you will find a commercial pocket with shopping, cafes and the historic Lafayette Cemetery # 1. As one of the most well-maintained city cemeteries, Lafayette #1 has been immortalized in film, literature and photography and is a popular attraction for many tourists. Guided tours of the cemetery are available. Directly across the street you won't be able to overlook the colorful exterior of Commander's Palace Restaurant. In operation since 1880, Commander's is a New Orleans culinary institution and- their brunches, the stuff of legend.
The Garden District is easily accessible via the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, Magazine Street bus or even via carriage ride! Most travel to the Garden District to enjoy its pristine architecture but the area also offers shopping, delicious restaurants, cocktail bars and pubs.
Bus, carriage or walking tours of the neighborhood are offered daily. Or, stroll the oak-lined avenues on your own. No matter how you choose to explore the Garden District you are sure to be charmed by its splendor.