Algiers Point is a quaint, leafy suburb of New Orleans. We used it as a base to explore the Cajun wonderland but there’s plenty to justify a ride on the ferry over to wander its charming streets.
Algiers Point is New Orleans’ second oldest neighborhood, but it’s a world apart from the cobbled streets and boisterous celebrations occurring across the Mississippi at the French Quarter. This quiet bend on the west bank district was established in 1719 as King’s Plantation, just a year after the rest of New Orleans was founded.
Algiers Point is a quiet getaway that is even more chilled than the Big Easy’s center.
Algiers Point sits low on the banks of the Mississipi, protected by a broad levee, which isn’t as high as you would hope. The last time we visited New Orleans was as a hurricane was about to hit and the river was only a few feet below the levee. Surprisingly, Algiers Point wasn’t hit badly by Hurricane Katrina.
Behind it is a small suburban enclave that feels like an older Australian suburb. It could be the old red brick churches, the wide streets, the weatherboard houses from the early twentieth century, or the banana palms. Corner convenience stores feel more like something from home than New York’s bodegas and delis. At the same time, the architecture is different and quintessentially Deep South. This is a particularly white enclave as of the 21st Century, but it was once populated with minorities and some of the greats of New Orleans jazz lived on its quiet tree-lined streets.
The wide streets and quaint cottages show the strain of time and possibly the effects of 2001’s Hurricane Katrina. The pavement rises, falls, and twists. The roads have deep potholes. Ignoring these issues, the area is middle class and most residents are house proud – and team proud, flying the flag of the local gridiron team from prominent parts of their homes. The Point maintains the Franco-Hispanic look and feel of central New Orleans, albeit on the other side of the river. The street signs are in French and are named after French towns.
The heart of New Orleans is only a short ferry ride away
Algiers Point is connected to the CBD by twin bridges, which tower above the river, and by a ferry servicing the city to the suburb for a $2 fare (payable only by using two one-dollar bills). The Algiers Point terminal sits atop the levee, protected by a bronze statue of the city’s jazz hero, Louis Armstrong.
Things to do in Algiers Point: The Jazz Walk of Fame
Once off the ferry, you’ll immediately see a bronze statue of the legendary Satchmo – Louis Armstrong atop the levee. This marks the start of New Orleans’ Jazz Walk of Fame. In the 1920s, jazz musicians living in the area called Algiers Point “over da river” or the Brooklyn of the south. In many ways, it was a hipster enclave in its heyday, with its cheaper housing than in the center. These mostly black musicians are immortalized in the walk that traverses the pathway along the top of the levee.
Things to do in Algiers Point: The Courthouse
225 Morgan St., Algiers Courthouse, 1896.
Picturesque Algiers Point is somewhat different from 125 years ago. A wildfire in 1895 wiped out 200 homes including the Duverje Plantation Mansion which was built in 1812 and that at the time served as the Algiers Courthouse. The current Romanesque courthouse building was designed by Linus Brown and Alonzo Bell and constructed the year after the fire and is still very active. Its stylish facade makes it the perfect place for a wedding photo after signing a marriage license.
Things to do in Algiers Point: See one of the south’s oldest gas stations
The Gulf Gas Station at 446 Pelican Ave would have to be one of America’s most ornate gas stations. Operating from 1929 to 1990, it captures a class and style that has been long forgotten in industrial architecture. Although closed, it is well preserved and has from time to time operated as other business ventures. It’s also visible in the movie about the life of Ray Charles, Ray.
Wander Verret, Olivier, Valette, and Belville for gorgeous old houses
White picket fences, bougainvillea vine-wrapped porches, strands of green, purple, and silver beads, on a sunny day, you can really appreciate the sense of place and charm that Algiers offers. Seriously, we sat at a park nearby and browsed the real estate listings – it’s that lovely.
Visit Holy Name of Mary Church – hallowed ground with a dark past
400 Verret St., New Orleans, LA 70014
The Holy Name of Mary Church is a red brick building featuring 75 stained glass windows from Munich. Built in 1929 in the gothic style, its steeple windows appear to have been blown out over time. In the mid-1800s, this was a site for voodoo dancing and a Civil War-era prison camp. That’s a dark and diverse past!
Check out the mighty bells of the Trinity Lutheran Church
620 Eliza Street, New Orleans (Algiers), LA 70114
Like most Lutheran churches, the Trinity maintains the austere tradition within its weatherboard walls, though there are some beautiful stained glass windows within. What’s particularly fascinating is the collection of moulded church bells resting in the grounds, marking its evolution since being first built in 1875.
Stroll leafy Opelousas Avenue
One of the most picturesque streets in Algiers is Opelousas Avenue, a tree-lined road with a central colonnade of greenery creating a thick canopy for the harsh southern sun to gently filter through. You’ll pass old banks, masonic temples, and heritage bungalows – all with their own local touches.
New Orleans Fire Department, Algiers Point
425 Opelousas Ave., New Orleans, LA 70014
The current firehouse on Opelousas Avenue has stood proudly here since 1925, but there’s been one on this spot since 1897 – intended to reduce future fires in the area after the 1895 Algiers fire decimated 200 homes in the area.
Breakfast Brunch & Lunch: Toot de Suite
347 Verret St., New Orleans, LA 70114 P: (504) 362-2264
Bright and colorful decor and a chilled ambiance, local café, Toote de Suite offers a blend of traditional breakfast fare, with a Cajun edge – minus the blatant tourist-pleasers of the French Quarter. The breakfast menu is served daily from 7 am to noon, with lunch options available from 11 am to 3 pm.
For the full southern flavor experience, try the ATCHAFALAYA a Louisiana crawfish etouffee over creamy stone-ground grits with two eggs for $13.50, or go all-in on the traditional breakfast with the most generous-sized serve of Center Cut Bone-in-Ham. For lunch, our recommendation is the Croque Monsieur, which is made using thick, buttery brioche.
Coffees: One Stone
323 Verret St., New Orleans, LA 70114
Our top choice for coffee in Algiers Point is One Stone on Verret Street. The interior is airy and spacious, with paintings and photography by local artists.
If we had stayed in a Marriott (we saw three in the Downtown area alone), we would have enjoyed the beige comfort of standard queen beds, mini bars and pay Wi-Fi. By choosing accommodation in the ‘burbs, we gained a better understanding of the lives of New Orleans residents. It’s worth the extra ferry ride.
Drinks: The Crown and Anchor Pub
Enter through the Tardis-like blue English police phone booth and you’re transported back to the mother country. The Crown and Anchor is a favorite go-to for casual drinks in Algiers Point with its kitschy interior, black wood and white plaster walls, and antique nick-nacks.
Algiers Point is a small, homely pocket just across the Mississippi from the French Quarter.
It sits at the deepest point of the Mississippi, at a tight turn in the river.
We found the rather unique property through AirBNB. A local ferry gets you to the action of New Orleans in minutes for just $2 each way and $1 for pensioners over 65 and kids.Follow & Connect with us