he ‘Lower’ in Lower Garden District is a geographic, rather than economic descriptor; the neighborhood sits downriver of the tony Garden District. On the north and northeast, the ‘LGD’ is bordered by re-emergent Central City and the condos and red brick facades of the Warehouse District.
While the area is downriver of the Garden District, it is upriver of the French Quarter, and was thus historically part of the ‘American Sector’ – that part of New Orleans settled by American migrants who came to then-Creole New Orleans following the 1803 Louisiana Purchase.
As is the case in much of the American sector, the land that would become the Lower Garden District was subdivided out of plantations. In 1806, Berthelemy Lafon divvied up properties into lots and planned out a neighborhood that would be, by any measure, quite pleasant – a compact collection of diagonal avenues, park space and fountains. By the 1850s, the area was home to much of the American sector’s wealthy elite.
This is an area where some streets bear the functionality of a numbered grid and some are named for the Muses of Greek myth, demigoddesses who oversaw science and the arts. Hence, you might do some shopping on Third St before heading past Melpomene and Terpsichore for a bit of coffee.
Waves of immigration and later, urban decay, led to changing patterns of settlement and socioeconomics in the Lower Garden District. By the 1990s, the resurgence of Magazine St and the presence of artists led to the area gaining a hipness cachet it has never really relinquished.