Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The neigborhood fronts the Mississippi River at the small end of its roughly triangular shape. The upriver boundary with the French Quarter is Esplanade Avenue. The back boundary is Claiborne Avenue. The lower boundary, with the Bywater neighborhood, is Franklin Avenue.
Marigny was laid out in the first decade of the 19th century by eccentric Creole millionaire developer Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville on land that had been his family plantation just down river from the old city limits of New Orleans. The portion of Marigny closer to the river was built up first; the area on the side of St. Claude Avenue (formerly "Goodchildren Street") away from the river was sometimes called "New Marigny". In the early 19th century, New Marigny was where white Creole gentlemen set up households for their colored mistresses (and their offspring) in the tradition of "plaçage ".
In the 19th century Marigny was the old Third Municipality of New Orleans.
Wide Elysian Fields Avenue, named after the Champs Elysées in Paris, was designed to be the main street of the Faubourg Marigny. It was the first street in New Orleans to extend all the way from the riverfront straight to Lake Pontchartrain 5 miles away. In 1830-31 the Pontchartrain Railway was built with tracks down the center of Elysian Fields. The area at the other end of the rail line developed into Milneburg . Marigny's town square, Washington Square, fronts Elysian Fields.
The neighborhood declined badly in the mid 20th century, and the area around Washington Square was nicknamed "Little Angola" (after the prison in Angola, Louisiana ) for the dangerous criminals there. It came back strongly in the late 20th century. Profiteering around the 1984 World's Fair drove many long term residents from the French Quarter into Marigny. Frenchmen Street developed one of the city's premier collections of live music venues and restaurants, and is a popular destination with music lovers from other parts of the city and knowledgeable out of town visitors in the early 21st century.
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