ike much of the land in this area (e.g.Gentilly), Lakeview was primarily a low-laying swamp for much of the 19th century. After said swamp was drained, the neighborhood began to sprout up along the edges of canals dredged through the old wetlands.
Hurricane Katrina wreaked extensive havoc in Lakeview. The hurricane caused major flooding thanks to a breach at the 17th St Canal; essentially, Lake Pontchartrain overflowed into Lakeview proper. With that said, the area has experienced a good recovery, especially relative to other hard hit parts of the city. Businesses thrive along commercial corridors like Harrison Ave, and innovations like urban farms spring up in old lots. Many homes have been renovated, upgraded or completely rebuilt, and there is a bustle in the air.
Although many citizens had already fled the city by the time of the storm, some bodies were found, and most evacuees were forced to returned to ruined, washed out homes.
In the intervening years reconstruction has brought back many Lakeview residents and houses (and property values), especially when contrasted to other parts of the city that suffered similar levels of flooding like Gentilly and the Lower 9th Ward. The growth of businesses within the neighborhood is testament to this revitalization.
We would say Lakeview is the New Orleans neighborhood that most closely resembles a traditional suburb, but that’s not really true. Today’s suburbs often lack soul and character, whereas Lakeview, with its pretty brick ranch houses and bungalows, is a ‘burb of an older, more elegant era, an attractive planned community plucked straight from the mid-century modern school of design.
Lakeview occupies low ground between Mid-City and Lake Pontchatrain, and this neighborhood, plus surrounding areas like Lakeshore and Lakewood largely were, and remain, middle-to-upper class. Because Lakeview and her other ‘Lake’ siblings are relatively ‘new’ in New Orleans (founded since the 20th century), the grid of roads here is relatively straight and easy to follow compared to the rest of New Orleans, although public transportation is problematic.
While Lakeview does not attract many tourists, it’s an area worth visiting if you have your own wheels, if only to get a sense of the residential life of a large chunk of the city’s middle class.