Soulard, St. Louis
|St. Louis Neighborhood|
|• Total||0.60 sq mi (1.6 km2)|
|• Density||5,700/sq mi (2,200/km2)|
|ZIP code(s)||Part of 63104|
Soulard (soo-lard) is a historic French neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri. It is named after Antoine Soulard, who first began to develop the land. Soulard was a surveyor for the Spanish government and a refugee from the French Revolution in the 1790s.
The neighborhood of Soulard hosts many events throughout the year, including Mardi Gras and Oktoberfest. It is a residential neighborhood filled with restaurants, bars, and pubs, among other businesses, and is one of the oldest communities in the city. It is also known as a neighborhood with a high density of bars, many of which play host to a variety of live music, especially the blues and jazz bands which the city is known for. The barrelhouse blues piano player James Crutchfield lived in the neighborhood from 1984 until his death in 2001, and performed in many of the nightclubs. The district is also host to regular pub crawls which are popular among locals and visitors alike. Coincidentally, the name soûlard itself is the French word for drunkard, though there are many other aspects to the neighborhood than just drinking. Many of the homes there date back to the mid-to-late 19th century and have unique architecture. Soulard is home to the largest Mardi Gras celebration in the Midwestern United States. It also has a very active community with its own newspaper, The Soulard Renaissance, as well as organizations such as the Soulard Restoration Group and the Soulard Business Association helping to organize events and keep the neighborhood clean and safe. It is also home to the oldest Farmers' market west of the Mississippi, filled with over 100 vendors that include farmers, produce vendors, meat shops, spice shop, florist shops, and food. Soulard Market is featured in the opening scene of Alan Schroeder's picture book Ragtime Tumpie.
Soulard hosts the St. Louis Mardi Gras festival, sometimes attracting hundreds of thousands of revelers. But the size of the crowds varies greatly from year to year, with the weather being the biggest factor in determining crowd size. It has been said St. Louis hosts the second-largest Mardi Gras party in the country. The event is much like the New Orleans celebration in that it hosts several parades during the Mardi Gras season. On the second Sunday before Mardi Gras, there is a family-oriented "Krewe of Barkus" Beggin' Strips pet parade. Participants consist of anyone who dresses up their pet in costume, and walks their pet along the parade route. The parade is followed by the informal Wiener dog races. Then, on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday, the more adult-oriented flesh-for-beads parade occurs, although there have been various attempts to reserve a family section at one end of the route. People from all over come to storm the streets with beers and bead necklaces after the Saturday parade. The east-west streets of Soulard, Geyer, Allen and Russell, and others are crowded with people from 7th to 12th Street. Several VIP tents are available for admission by fee and usually a national recording artist performs for free on a main stage, usually on 7th St. The Fat Tuesday parade occurs in the evening, and in recent years has been moved just north of Soulard to downtown St. Louis.
In 2010 Soulard was 82.6% White, 13.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. 2.7% of the population was of Hispanic origin.
- Anzeiger des Westens, the former large German-American daily newspaper of St. Louis, and the politically charged riot related to its readership that happened in Soulard
- Lafayette Square, St. Louis, a grand nearby neighborhood
- LaSalle Park, a former area of the neighborhood divided off by the construction of highways
- Missouri Rhineland, a major winemaking area in the region, both past and present
- "National Register of Historic Places - Nomination Form". Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved 2008-05-30.
- Soulard.org Soulard Restoration Group - the neighborhood association of Soulard
- Soulard at St. Louis Front Page.com
- Mardi Gras Inc., Organizers of St. Louis Mardi Gras
- Soulard Farmers Market
- Soulard Market Official Site
- The Lemp Mansion