It’s a short ferry ride from the foot of busy Canal Street to bucolic Algiers Point, but the transition is dramatic. With great views of the Mississippi River and the city’s skyline, the Point is a quiet, seemingly untouched pocket of the city. Part of Orleans Parish since the neighborhood was annexed to the city in 1870, Algiers Point feels like a village, complete with schools, parks, neighborhood restaurants and bars, and children playing in the streets. Artists and musicians, including some jazz pioneers, have long been attracted to the area. Many residents commute on the ferry to work and have for centuries; the ferry connecting Algiers with the French Quarter was established in 1827.
Algiers was part of the land grant given to New Orleans founder Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, in 1719. It was subsequently acquired by Adrian de Pauger, one of the French engineers who laid out the Vieux Carré. By 1812, the majority of the land was part of the Duverjé Plantation. In 1819, Andre Seguin purchased land and created a boatyard, which led to the proliferation of shipbuilding and maritime repairs in the area. Stockyards and slaughterhouses also became prominent industries, and African Americans and immigrants from Italy, Germany and Ireland were attracted by this job market.
At its heyday, there were six ferries that connected Algiers to New Orleans’ east bank, including one capable of transporting railroad cars and livestock. (Today, there’s only one.) With such vibrant industry, it’s not surprising that Algiers also had 36 bars and several dance halls by 1911. Once crowded by industrial warehouses, Algiers Point today is predominately residential, and the levee is a pleasant place to walk or bike, with a paved path that connects the town to neighboring Gretna. Look for pristine Victorian homes, charming shotgun houses and a variety of cafes and bars.