New Orleans/Central City

"Cafe Reconcile" trains neighborhood at risk youth in New Orleans culinary traditions.

Central City is a section of New Orleans to the west (upriver) of the Central Business District and north (lakewards or away from the river as locals say) from the downriver section of Uptown. Some locals also call it "The 3rd Ward", although legally that designation includes a wider area including much of the Central Business District.


The area of "Central City" centered around Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard (historically known as Dryades Street) was a center of African-American commerce and culture in the first half of the 20th century. The end of racial segregation ironically hurt the neighborhood, as much of the African-American business as well as people went to other parts of the city. The area perhaps hit bottom in the 1980s, then the first projects to revitalize the historic neighborhood began.

Another blow came in 2005 with Hurricane Katrina. As the city repopulated afterwards, Central City became notorious for shockingly high rates of violent crime, as rival gangs and drug dealers exchanged gunfire in the streets.

Although crime has gone down from mid-2009 to early-2012, Central City is still a dangerous neighborhood, not recommended for casual visitors. Projects to revive the historic O.C. Haley business strip are starting to show fruit, though it still has a long way to go. Those who decide to visit should be particularly aware of their surroundings and inquire about conditions in advance.

Get in

By car

A car is without a doubt the best way to get around Central City, if for no other reason than that it is much safer to avoid waiting at bus stops and taking long walks through the neighborhood. Parking is relatively easy. Taxis will drop you off here, but you may have a lot of difficulty getting one to pick you back up, even when called.

By bus

Bus 91 runs from Rampart St at the north end of the French Quarter (a good pick up spot is at Canal and Rampart) and will take you directly along Oretha C Haley Blvd to the art centers and Cafe Reconcile.




Eat & Drink

There are a couple really good places in Central City, with Cafe Reconcile being by far the most famous and popular, and Ms Hyster's being by far the tastiest food! There are no real bars to speak of, but most establishments have no problem with you bringing in a beer from a liquor store.



Go next

Travel pretty much in any direction and you will see a big contrast (try the upscale old money Garden District just a short drive riverwards/south!), as Central City is much poorer than the surrounding neighborhoods. If you are in New Orleans with an interest in African American history, the Tremé is really the local star.

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