Uptown New Orleans is a world unto itself, more like a separate village within the city rather than just a neighborhood. It is one of the largest historic neighborhoods listed on the National Register of Historic Places, featuring more than 10,000 historic buildings of significance. The area from Louisiana Avenue to Broadway Street includes streetscapes of beautifully maintained homes of all sizes shaded by towering live oaks and plentiful shops, restaurants and groceries. Two of the city’s biggest universities, Tulane and Loyola, are located here. Magazine Street stretches the length of Uptown and is filled with busy local merchants. Audubon Park, the Audubon Zoo and the Fly riverfront park are all fantastic places to enjoy an afternoon, as is a ride on the St. Charles streetcar, named a National Historic Landmark in 2014.
Uptown was part of lands granted to Jean Baptiste LeMoyne, Sieur de Bienville, in 1719, then divided into smaller plantations in 1723. The plantations that comprised the land Uptown began subdividing in the mid-19th century. Seven faubourgs, or developments, were the result, combining in 1850 to form Jefferson City (between Toledano and Jefferson streets). New Orleans annexed that land in 1870. By that time, prominent citizens had already begun building urban villas along St. Charles Avenue. The 1884-1885 World’s Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition — located on the present-day site of Audubon Park — created a building boom in the area.
Today’s Uptown retains many of the grand homes built in the late 19th century along St. Charles Avenue and in exclusive cul-de-sac developments like Rosa Park. On oak-shaded streets intersecting St. Charles, Prytania and Magazine, Uptown’s major thoroughfares, frame houses with ample galleries are the norm. Closer to the river, more modest shotguns built to house 19th-century workers have charm amidst the tropical foliage of the neighborhood’s streets. Uptown was named a National Register Historic District in 1985, but it has been an urban residential neighborhood for more than a century.