Tourists are moving downriver in search of an authentic neighborhood experience.
New Orleans’ eclectic neighborhoods are tantalizing visitors that are seeking an alternative to the traditional hotspots; the French Quarter and Garden District.
Tourists are making their way downriver to the Bywater to explore the Creole architecture, Bohemian art and music scene, and the varied bars and restaurants. Jeff Shyman, a local tour guide and owner of Confederacy of Cruisers Bike Tours, has noticed an increase in visitors, especially since the New York Times published a feature on the neighborhood in March.
The Bywater and its counterpart, the Faubourg Marigny, have tourists spilling into the back streets, away from the more popularly visited Frenchman Street, in hope of a more authentic New Orleans experience.
Not even 10 years ago, The Bywater, an area defined by the unofficial border of St. Claude Avenue to the North, Industrial Canal to the East, Press Street to the west and the Mississippi River to the South; was an area that not even New Orleanians were overly familiar with.
The neighborhood has been notably gentrifying for a few years, once again changing the face of the historic area that formed from a subdivided plantation. Boarded by an industrial canal, waterfront docks and warehouses – the neighborhood is steeped in working class culture, and has since become home to many artists and musicians.
The space continues to change and evolve.
Former St. Roch Market along the St. Claude Commercial Corridor is being repurposed to house a long anticipated fresh foods market and restaurant, due to open 2015. Revitalizing a vacant lot, a weekly food truck lot, will operate from Oct. 2 to Nov. 8, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with live entertainment and picnic area.
Crescent Park, a 1.4 mile long green space for walking, jogging, and biking, with picnicking facilities, opened up in February; steps from renowned restaurants, bars and the popular monthly flea market at the Old Ironworks on Piety Street.
The Mandeville Shed and Ellipse, former industrial wharf that is now an open air community and event space with a raised grass lawn, will be open to the public once the Mandeville crossing pedestrian bridge is completed later this year.
As these changes continue to reshape the neighborhood; tourists are increasingly cycling, walking and driving through – drawn in large part by the architecture, but linger to experience the character of a classic New Orleans neighborhood.