Gentilly, New Orleans

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Location of Gentilly in the New Orleans metro area

Gentilly is a broad, predominantly middle-class and racially diverse section of New Orleans, Louisiana. The first part of Gentilly to be developed was along the Gentilly Ridge, a long stretch of high ground along the former banks of Bayou Gentilly. A road, originally "Gentilly Road", was built on the ridge, and formed the eastern path into the oldest part of the city, today's French Quarter to Chef Menteur Pass. The high ground became Gentilly Boulevard and U.S. Highway 90, part of the Old Spanish Trail from St. Augustine, Florida to Los Angeles, California.

Settlement was originally mostly confined to along the long narrow ridge, plus Milneburg, built on elevated piers on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Most of the ground between the ridge and the lake was swampy. The first residential section adjacent to the ridge, Gentilly Terrace, dating to the early 20th century, was built by excavating and piling up the earth in the shallow swamp to create blocks of terraced land where houses could be built. With the development of improved drainage pumps (see drainage in New Orleans), land reclamation and higher lakefront levees, the land extending from the ridge to the lake was developed by the mid-20th century, and the entire area popularly came to be known as Gentilly.

By most commonly accepted definition, the Gentilly neighborhood is bounded by Lake Ponchartrain to the north, France Road to the east, Bayou St. John to the west, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad to the south. The major north-south streets are Franklin Avenue, Elysian Fields Avenue, St. Anthony, St. Bernard, St. Roch, Paris, Wisner, A.P. Tureaud (formerly London) Avenue and Press. The east-west streets are Lakeshore Drive, Leon C. Simon, Robert E. Lee (a section of which was formerly called Hibernia), Prentiss, Harrison, Filmore, Mirabeau, Hayne, Chef Menteur and Gentilly.

Gentilly has traditionally been defined variously. Some definitions include a somewhat wider area, extending the neighborhood into the Upper 9th Ward. Some older New Orleanians extend the definition even further, to include the section of old Gentilly on the east side of the Industrial Canal, now part of Eastern New Orleans. Other definitions diminish the area occupied by Gentilly by placing the western boundary of Gentilly along the London Avenue Canal, not Bayou St. John, and the northern boundary along Leon C. Simon Drive, not the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. By this reckoning, Vista Park and Oak Park, lying between the London Avenue Canal and Bayou St. John, fall outside of Gentilly, as do the Lakefront subdivisions of Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks, and the Lakefront campus of the University of New Orleans.

Apart from the natural high ground along the Gentilly Ridge and the Lakefront section, itself raised above sea level on man-made land created by a project of the Orleans Levee Board in the early 20th century, Gentilly was badly damaged following Hurricane Katrina. The London Avenue Canal floodwalls were breached in two places by Katrina's storm surge, flooding most of the area. Gentilly's population has slowly returned, with most homes requiring major gutting and repair work before they could be reoccupied. As of the start of 2007, the area is moderately populated with something less than half of its pre-Katrina residents and businesses having returned.

Due to extensive hurricane damage and insurance losses, the Archdiocese of New Orleans decided to close Redeemer-Seton High School while building a new campus for Holy Cross High School on Paris Avenue, on the former sites of St. Francis Cabrini Church and School and Redeemer-Seton. Marian Central Catholic Middle School, formerly St. Raphael School, has been demolished, and the parishes of St. Raphael and St. Frances Cabrini have been merged to form Transfiguration parish, currently (as of February 2010) holding services on the campus of the University of New Orleans.

Bus service[edit]

Bus service from the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (NORTA):

  • 51-St. Bernard via Lake Vista, which runs from Canal to St. Bernard before going down Paris to Lake Pontchartrain.
  • 52-St. Bernard via Canal St.; Paris Ave.; UNO, which runs from Canal St, to Claiborne, to St. Bernard turned on Paris to Mirabeau to St. Anthony and ended in front of Ben Franklin High, now it travels onto the campus of the University of New Orleans.
  • 55- Elysian Fieldswhich runs from University of New Orleans, Elysian Fields at Gentilly (Nearside, Elysian Fields at Galvez, St Claude at Elysian Fields, Canal at Tchoupitoulas.
  • 57-Franklin Avenue bus, Southern University at New Orleans (Park 2), Southern University (Lake Campus), Franklin at UNO Arena, Franklin at Gentilly, Franklin at Galvez, St Claude at Elysian Fields (Nearside, S. Rampart at Canal)

Cityscape[edit]

Gentilly is bounded by Lake Pontchartrain to the north, Interstate 610 to the south, City Park to the west, and the Industrial Canal to the east.[1]

Neighborhoods in the area include:

Education[edit]

Primary and secondary schools[edit]

Three universities, the University of New Orleans, Southern University at New Orleans, and Dillard University are located in Gentilly.[1] New Orleans Public Schools operates district schools, while Recovery School District oversees charter schools. Public district and charter schools in Gentilly:

Private schools in Gentilly:

Public libraries[edit]

The Norman Mayer Branch of the New Orleans Public Library is in Gentilly. It was damaged in Hurricane Katrina. The library, in a new $5.7 million facility, reopened in 2012.[5]

References[edit]

  • Carl, Jim. Freedom of Choice: Vouchers in American Education. ABC-CLIO, September 30, 2011. ISBN 0313393273, 9780313393273.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Gentilly." Rebuilding Together New Orleans.
  2. ^ "Benjamin Franklin High School" (PDF). School Facilities Master Plan for Orleans Parish. New Orleans Public Schools. January 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-05-12. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  3. ^ Chang, Cindy Recovery School District makes long-term building assignments." Times Picayune. Thursday August 5, 2010. Retrieved on August 4, 2012.
  4. ^ "Living with History in New Orleans' Neighborhoods: Gentilly Terrace." (Archive) Preservation Resources Center of New Orleans. p. 2. Retrieved on August 4, 2012.
  5. ^ "Norman Mayer Library re-opens in Gentilly." (Archive) WWL-TV. Tuesday March 20, 2012. Retrieved on March 31, 2013.

External links[edit]