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New Orleans’s expansion upriver was encouraged, beginning in 1835, by the steam-powered New Orleans and Carrollton Railroad, laid out along St. Charles Avenue and one of the nation’s first such transit lines. As elsewhere, a “resort” was at the terminus in the Carrollton suburb to attract riders. The line was converted to mule power in 1867, then electrified in 1893, and the streetcars continue to carry passengers along this route. Four major streets, all running parallel to the river, define the character of Uptown.

Closest to the river, Tchoupitoulas Street developed as the industrial and warehouse corridor serving the port, evidenced in the half-mile-long brick warehouse that extends from Louisiana Avenue to General Taylor Street. The former Lane Cotton Mills (closed in 1957), established in the 1850s in a building by George Purves (d. 1883) at Valence Street and the river, was enlarged in 1881 by William Fitzner, and again in 1903 by Favrot and Livaudais; this last section has been adapted for use as a supermarket. A few blocks inland, Magazine Street grew as an eclectic mix of commercial and residential buildings. St. Charles Avenue acquired grand mansions for the affluent and became the most prestigious address in the city. By 1900, almost the entire length of St. Charles had been built up. Claiborne Avenue was developed in the early twentieth century, when more efficient pumps became available to drain the swamps that lay inland from the river. Now a major traffic route, the avenue has a wide, landscaped neutral ground that conceals a drainage canal beneath.

Writing Credits

Karen Kingsley and Lake Douglas

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