lgiers was established as a tract of land deeded to Jean Baptiste le Moyne in 1719, the date boosters cite as the founding of the town when claiming their second-oldest neighborhood status. It’s a slightly iffy claim, as the land was a private plantation (and then a series of private plantations) until around 1800, but we’re not arguing the point with our Algerian brothers and sisters. By the way, if you’re wondering why it’s called Algiers well, so are we. Plenty of rumors swirl around, but none have been conclusively proven. What is known is Algiers was used as a holding pen for slaves before their sale across the river. Powder Street dates back to the location of a colonial gunpowder magazine.
The land wasn’t land for a long time rather it was cypress swamp bordered by prairie stretching to the Jefferson Parish line. The area was formally incorporated as a separate city from the rest of New Orleans in 1840, but in 1870 Algiers was annexed and became the 15th ward. Coming only five years after the end of the American Civil War, this act getting folded back into a city after being folded back into a country was galling for many Algerians.
From the 1850s an on, Algiers was defined as a rail terminus and shipping location. During the Civil War, much of the city was burned by (first) Confederate officers and (second) native Algerians, in a feedback loop that went from preventing the enemy from accessing supplies to a general loot and riot situation.
A fire wrecked much of the neighborhood in 1895, and this while the houses you see at the Point are historic, they are younger than many New Orleans homes. Demographically, Algiers has endured and adopted, and accepted the influx of migrants fleeing South Vietnam in the late 1970 with good grace. Many local jazz legends were born and raised here, including Clarence Frogman Henry and Red Mullens.