Known for its well-preserved historic mansions and beautiful architecture featuring Victorian, Italianate and Classic Greek Revival styles, the Garden District is an early example of a luxury suburb and is roughly bordered by St. Charles Avenue, First Street, Magazine Street and Toledano Street. Originally the Livaudais Plantation, it was sold off in 1832 in smaller parcels of land and developed with a few houses per block. Each home was surrounded by lush grounds and large gardens, and by the 1850s, travel writers dubbed the area the Garden District. As those large lots were subdivided and uptown New Orleans became more urban, the 19th-century mansions were soon surrounded by more modest Victorian houses.
Featuring ornamental wrought iron fences, brick sidewalks and oak tree-lined streets, the Garden District is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark. The District’s Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is one of the city’s oldest, and across from it on Washington Avenue is Commander’s Palace, founded in 1880 and one of New Orleans’ most famous restaurants.
Many historic and architectural landmarks in the Garden District continue to play an active role today, including the vibrant Trinity Episcopal Church and the Women’s Opera Guild Home, a popular wedding and event venue. While the neighborhood is still inhabited by many of the old line families that have lived there since the 1800s, some mansions have been smartly reconfigured with rental units and carriage houses for additional income, while others have been developed into condos with original details.
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