New Orleans/7th, 8th, and Upper 9th Wards

St Roch Cemetery gate

The 7th 8th and Upper 9th Wards section of New Orleans is very seldom visited by anyone outside the city. It is "back of town" (north/away from the river) from the Marigny and Bywater sections. The entire area was hard hit in the Katrina flood disaster of 2005, and it is rather plain to see that the area has not recovered. As of early 2012, however, some portions seem do seem at least on the road to comeback... but other portions do not.

Map

Understand

The area covered in this article includes a few basic subsections.

Small local shops and restaurants line Bayou Road between Broad Avenue and Dorgenois Street in the 7th Ward.

The westernmost is the old "7th Ward" neighborhood, from Esplanade Avenue to Elysian Fields Avenue. Historically a predominantly Afro-Creole community developed in the 19th century similar to the neighboring and slightly older Faubourg Tremé; it was home to such early jazz greats as Sidney Bechet (whose childhood home on Marais Street was demolished in 2010). The areas along and near Esplanade Avenue and Bayou Road both have more elegant architecture and are doing better than most of the rest of the area.

Downriver (east) from Elysian Fields to Almonaster is the 8th Ward. Of most interest is the St. Roch neighborhood centered along St. Roch Avenue. Originally mostly German Catholic immigrants, but now mixed.

Further downriver, from Almonaster to the Industrial Canal, is a section of the Upper 9th Ward. In the "back of town" of this section is one of the post-Katrina redevelopment success stories, the Musicians' Village, with new homes in adaptive tradition influenced styles for families of local musicians and other working-class professionals who lost their homes in the Katrina disaster.

Furthest from the river is the "Florida" area. Most of this area was not developed residentially until the 20th century; part of it over an old city landfill/dump. Problem ridden even before Katrina with crime-ridden housing projects and neighborhoods built atop the old dump suffering from toxins leaking up in the soil, it was one of the worst hit parts of Greater New Orleans in the levee failure disaster in 2005. Five years later portions are fenced off as uninhabitable, and the rest is rough at best.

A point of controversy has been the unwillingness of the federal government to reopen the housing projects that once provided homes for a good number of the area residents, who now largely remain displaced outside of New Orleans. The unspoken reasoning is that the government would have liked to shut them down, hurricane or no hurricane, as they were very high crime sections of the city. But locals are understandably angry that the projects, which were not terribly hurt by the hurricane, remain closed in a devastated area and a city with such desperate need for housing.

The sections of these neighborhoods closer to St. Claude Avenue have a budding bohemian community with its accompanying edgy, avant garde arts district, and a few far-flung foodie finds for the most adventurous New Orleans explorer. Some hope that in a few years it may experience an urban revival similar to the Bywater, especially if the planned restoration of the Desire streetcar line gets built. However such problems as architectural blight and violent crime still punish residents.

Get in

While it's technically possible to get here via Bus #88 along St Claude, it's far better to have a car around here, if only because this section of the city is unpredictable when it comes to walking safety. You will have no trouble parking. Taxis often will not pick you up here.

See

"Cures" at St Roch Chapel; left by faithful in thanks for recovery of health.

Do

Buy

Eat

Crawfish contest (?) at the St Roch Tavern

Drink

Connect

Few options; as of early 2012 the branch Public Library on St. Bernard Avenue is still vacant and gutted with no planned date for reopening announced.

Stay safe

Despite talk that this section of the city is safer post-Katrina, don't rely too much on that advice. The areas closer to St. Claude are generally less dangerous than those further north, but none of it is free from the high rate of violent crime in this district. You should follow basic urban precautions, know where you're going, don't go alone especially after dark, as well as come via non-flashy car (preferably one that doesn't have out-of-town plates!).


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, July 21, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.