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This information is pre-Katrina.
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Marigny Neighborhood Snapshot

Census 2000 Data Tables: People & Household CharacteristicsHousing & Housing Costs, Income & Poverty, Transportation, Employment, Educational Attainment, Immigration & Language, Disabilities, Neighborhood Characteristics

Historically the Marigny was home to many free women of color who owned cottages there.

In 1975, when the Faubourg Marigny was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the neighborhood began a surge of revitalization. According to New Orleans City Business’ January 2002 profile of the neighborhood:

“On the one hand, new investment in the area over the last 20 years has almost eliminated blighted housing ... and driven property values skyward. On the other, gentrification that has pushed lower-income residents out of the neighborhood and new commercial development pressures threaten to change the character of the district, some say. ‘It’s a lot less blue-collar than it used to be,’ says Julian Mutter, a Marigny homeowner since the late 1970s. Now, there are more artists, gay couples and retirees than dockworkers, shopkeepers and young families, he says.”

Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division. (
  An excerpt showing Faubourg Marigny from the 1815 Plan of the city and suburbs of New Orleans.

Charming suburb, home to many ethnic groups

Faubourg Marigny is considered the first suburb of New Orleans. The Marigny neighborhood is a maze of angular streets that form triangles, pentagons and squares. Numbers jump their sequence mid-block and so do street names. The Creole cottage is the predominant architectural style of this neighborhood.

Spanish, French Creoles, Italians, Germans, Irish and many free persons of color were among the first ethnic inhabitants to live in this section of the city.

Many free women of color or Creole women owned property in the Marigny. Many of these women were involved in relationships with white men who gave them these cottages as gifts.

Frenchmen Street

Many dance spots, distinctive restaurants, bars and a coffee house have popped up on Frenchmen Street. The Praline Connection was one of the first of these to open. In 1991, Curtis Moore, Jr. and Cecil Kaigler, who met when they were employed at British Petroleum, decided to open their soul food restaurant in this up and coming neighborhood. Their restaurant was so successful that they opened a second location in the Warehouse District in 1993.

Image courtesy New Orleans Public Library ( Permission for reuse required.

Neighborhood legend says that this branch of the New Orleans Canal & Banking Company was robbed by the infamous Bonnie and Clyde!.    

Bits and pieces of the Marigny’s history

The land originally belonged to Claude DuBreuil, who found himself in the Bastille after some underhanded dealings with the city. Next, Mathurin Dreux wanted to build a huge sugar plantation on the land, but died before it happened. Balthazer Mazan, the next owner, mysteriously ended up in a Spanish prison and the governor’s secretary became the new owner. Lorenzo Sigur traded the land with Pierre Marigny for a plantation in Chalmette. After his father’s death, Bernard Xavier Phillippe de Marigny inherited the land in the early 1800s.

Image courtesy NOPL ( Permission for reuse required.
  Bernard Marigny (1785-1868) [Mandeville, A Historical Compendium (New Orleans, 1918)]

Bernard Marigny was quite a colorful character and is credited with having brought the game of craps to this country. Bernard Marigny divided his vast estate into small lots designed for residential development very shortly after inheriting the land. Bernard had many debts and the smaller the land parcels the more there was to sell. The area grew rapidly. Lots were sold all the way into the 1820s. However, the Faubourg Marigny began to decline in the mid-1800s. The reason for the decline around the time of the Civil War is unclear.

Some believe that Bernard alienated many French Creole families in his dealings with American developers. Also, with the development of the Pontchatrain Railroad in 1830, many people began settling further down Elysian Fields. For more than the next 100 years, the area remained considerably poorer than it was at its inception.


African American’s in New Orleans: Making a Living

Description of the Faubourg Marigny on, a travel website

Carll, Angela. “Down the River: Faubourg Marigny and Bywater.” The Times-Picayune.

Neighborhood Profiles Project Document prepared by the City of New Orleans Office of Policy Planning and the City Planning Commission. Published December 1980. Study available at the Williams Research Center (non-circulating collection).

For more information:

Preservation Resource Center’s listing of target neighborhoods

The Faubourg Marigny link gives a brief description of the Marigny and contact information for the Faubourg Marigny Improvement Association.

New Orleans Center for Creative Arts official web site

Read about programs, faculty, and auditions as well as abut their galleries and current events open to the public., a travel website

Listing of music clubs in and around the Faubourg Marigny, a travel web site

Description of Faubourg Marigny

Census 2000 Data Tables: People & Household CharacteristicsHousing & Housing Costs, Income & Poverty, Transportation, Employment, Educational Attainment, Immigration & Language, Disabilities, Neighborhood Characteristics

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Last modified: October 5, 2002