Mid-City is located, as the name indicates, in the middle of New Orleans on what was once the back slope of the Mississippi River‘s natural levee, a gradually declining section of the river’s flood plain. As such, it was not settled as early as adjacent neighborhoods and was called the “back of town” – the city ended at the swamp, unlike today, when the city reaches the lake.
The Esplanade Ridge and the adjoining Metairie Ridge formed a natural spur from the river; but what is now Mid-City, surrounded by these higher-elevated sections, was part of the “back swamp” until development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Mid-City is the home of a number of landmarks. Canal Street, one of the most important thoroughfares of the city, bisects the neighborhood; the streetcar route follows Canal to Carrollton Avenue, another prominent New Orleans street that passes through Mid-City. Tulane Avenue, the terminus of U.S. Route 61, also runs just upriver from Canal Street; before the interstate highway system, this was the primary route into New Orleans from Baton Rouge. An important cross-street isJefferson Davis Parkway, named for the president of the Confederate States of America, who died in New Orleans’s Garden District during an 1889 visit.
The Orleans Parish Criminal Court, the Dixie Brewery, Jesuit High School, Warren Easton High School, and the Falstaff Brewery (now converted to apartments) are physically among the most prominent buildings scattered across Mid-City, in addition to a number of churches and large houses along Canal Street. Tulane Avenue in particular shows some remnants of the area’s industrial past. However, more characteristic of Mid-City today are the many shotgun housesand larger houses that make up most of this primarily residential neighborhood
Mid-City’s boundaries are City Park Avenue, Toulouse Street, North Carrollton/Orleans avenues, Bayou St. John, St. Louis and North Broad streets and the Pontchartrain Expressway. It is a historic district and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.