Central City, New Orleans

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Central City
New Orleans Neighborhood
Second line parade in Central City, 2009
Nickname: Josephine
Country United States
State Louisiana
City New Orleans
Planning District District 2, Central City/Garden District
Elevation 0 ft (0 m)
Coordinates 29°56′29″N 90°05′13″W / 29.94139°N 90.08694°W / 29.94139; -90.08694Coordinates: 29°56′29″N 90°05′13″W / 29.94139°N 90.08694°W / 29.94139; -90.08694
Area 1.41 sq mi (3.7 km2)
 - land 1.41 sq mi (4 km2)
 - water 0.00 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 6,417 (2010)
Density 4,551 / sq mi (1,757 / km2)
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
Area code 504

Central City is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. It is located at the lower end of Uptown, just above the New Orleans Central Business District, on the "lakeside" of St. Charles Avenue. A subdistrict of the Central City/Garden District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: MLK Boulevard, South Claiborne Avenue and the Pontchartrain Expressway to the north, Magazine, Thalia, Prytania and Felicity Streets and St. Charles Avenue to the south and Toledano Street, Louisiana Avenue and Washington Avenue to the west.

This old predominantly African American neighborhood has been important in the city's brass band and Mardi Gras Indian traditions.


Central City is located at 29°56′29″N 90°05′13″W / 29.94139°N 90.08694°W / 29.94139; -90.08694 [1] and has an elevation of 0 feet (0.0 m).[2] According to the United States Census Bureau, the district has a total area of 1.41 square miles (3.7 km2). 1.41 square miles (3.7 km2) of which is land and 0.00 square miles (0.0 km2) (0.0%) of which is water.

It is located between the Louisiana Superdome and the Garden District.[3]

Adjacent Neighborhoods[edit]


The City Planning Commission defines the boundaries of Central City as these streets: MLK Boulevard, South Claiborne Avenue, Pontchartrain Expressway, Magazine Street, Thalia Street, Prytania Street, Felicity Street, St. Charles Avenue, Toledano Street, Louisiana Avenue and Washington Avenue.[4]


As of the census of 2000, there were 19,072 people, 8,147 households, and 4,016 families residing in the neighborhood.[5] The population density was 13,526 /mi² (5,155 /km²).

As of the census of 2010, there were 11,257 people, 5,279 households, and 2,142 families residing in the neighborhood.[5]


Café Reconcile on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard

Major streets include Baronne, Oretha Castle Haley, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and Simon Bolivar. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (formerly Melpomene Avenue) is near a Martin Luther King statue and memorial on Claiborne Avenue, and the boulevard is part of the route of New Orleans's annual Martin Luther King Day parade. Several murals of King are painted along the boulevard.

Neighborhood businesses include Brown's Velvet Dairy and Leidenheimer Bakery, which have furnished the city with milk and Louisiana French bread for po'boy sandwiches respectively for generations. Café Reconcile is both a restaurant and a non-profit educational institution. The neighborhood is also home to New Orleans Croatian seafood restaurant Uglesich's. The neighborhood also contains three of New Orleans' housing developments and the Crescent City Farmers Market.

The Ashe Cultural Center and various art galleries are also located in Central City.


The area closest to Saint Charles Avenue developed first, in the first half of the 19th Century, booming with the opening of the New Orleans & Carrollton Railway, which became the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar line. The opening of the New Basin Canal at the neighborhood's lower end contributed to the area's development as a center of commerce and a working class residential area, attracting many Irish, Italian, and German immigrants. After the American Civil War many African Americans from rural areas settled in this part of the city. By the 1870s, the urbanized area extended back to Claiborne Avenue.

Dryades Street in this area was a neighborhood commercial district by the 1830s, but gained greater importance in the first half of the 20th century, becoming the city's largest African American commercial district during the Jim Crow law era and a major hub for the Uptown African American community, overtaking the older South Rampart Street area in importance. At its height in the years after World War II, the Dryades Street district boasted over 200 businesses.

Dryades Street began a decline in the 1960s, which became a steep nose-dive by the 1980s. At the low point somewhere around 1990, blighted and vacant buildings predominated. The blighted area got city attention, and the old commercial section of Dryades Street was renamed after local civil rights activist Oretha Castle Haley. Projects to improve the neighborhood gradually saw fruit by the start of the 2000s.

A large part of Central City was above the flooding which devastated the majority of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 (see: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans). As there were many vacant buildings and vacant lots in this rare piece of high dry ground, greater attention has been drawn to Central City in plans for post-Katrina redevelopment of the city.

The Melph & Calliope Projects are located in Central City, along Martin Luther King Blvd. The Magnolia Projects are also located in Central City. The area's recent history is deep rooted in violence and is notorious for its high murder rate. The area is where New Orleans rap labels Cash Money Records & No Limit Records started.

In mid-2006, the area was considered the most dangerous part of the city, in terms of murders and crime activity, and was the major reason for the June decision to deploy the Louisiana National Guard to the city so that NOPD officers could focus on the 'crime hotspots', such as this area. In 2007 the neighborhood had a murder rate of 316 per 100,000. The problem with high rates of violent crime has continued to the end of the 2000s.


New Orleans Public Schools and the Recovery School District manage and charter public schools.

The KIPP KIPP Central City Academy is located in the Carter G. Woodson Middle School building; the new Woodson building was dedicated in 2012. KIPP Central City Primary is also in Central City.[6]

New Orleans College Prep was established in 2006. The original New Orleans College Prep school building is in Central City.[7]

The New Orleans Public Library operates the Central City Branch in the Mahalia Jackson Center.[8]

Notable residents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ Hylton, Hillary. "The Gangs of New Orleans." TIME. Sunday May 14, 2006. Retrieved on March 25, 2013. 5.
  4. ^ Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. "Central City Neighborhood". Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  5. ^ a b "Central City Neighborhood". Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Retrieved 5 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "New school building in Central City to be dedicated Tuesday." The Times-Picayune. October 30, 2012. Retrieved on March 25, 2013.
  7. ^ "History." (Archive) New Orleans College Prep. Retrieved on March 17, 2013.
  8. ^ "Branch Libraries." New Orleans Public Library. Retrieved on March 31, 2013.

External links[edit]