• Photo: Ann Purcell/ "Photo courtesy New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau."

Mid-City and Bayou St. John

With their tree-lined streets and avenues, gathering places, and landmarks, the Mid-City and Bayou St. John neighborhoods are decidedly more tranquil than their downtown counterparts. You're not likely to find "Huge-Ass Beers to Go" or music blaring out of every doorway here. Instead, you'll find a quieter charm in the gardens, galleries, and lagoons of City Park, in the cemeteries with their elaborately constructed tombs, and on the tree-shaded patios and decks of restaurants and cafés, where you can listen to the church bells keep time as you relax with a cold drink.

Above the French Quarter and below the lakefront, neither Uptown nor quite downtown, Mid-City embraces everything from massive, lush City Park to storefronts along gritty Broad Street. Much of this primarily working-class neighborhood was low-lying swamplands until the late 1800s, and you can still see where the "high ground" was, along the Esplanade Ridge (now Esplanade Avenue). These are the stretches with many of the largest historic houses, churches, and landmarks. Along Carrollton Avenue you can find everything from an old-school Italian ice-cream parlor to strips of inexpensive Central American restaurants. The neighborhood hosts more than a dozen festivals and celebrations a year, from block parties like the Bayou Boogaloo to grand-scale mega-events like the Voodoo Experience. It's easy to figure out which festival is approaching by the bright flags that spring up on people's porches.

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