Built St. Louis > > On the Road in New Orleans

Central Business District
Photographs from December 26 and 28, 2006

We didn't spend much time downtown on this trip; my CBD time was pretty much limited to a short stroll down Canal Street.

Canal Street (which has never actually had a canal on it) is the dividing line between the French Quarter and the American Sector, which would be called downtown in most cities. Streetcar service was restored to its dividing "neutral ground" several years ago, but service has been greatly reduced in the wake of the hurricanes.

Canal Street famously flooded during the hurricanes. Though the water was not very deep, it innundated basements throughout the CBD, inflicting considerable damage.

Dating from 1938, this Walgreens features streamlined architecture and a spectacular wall of neon signs that still works. Would that they had kept with this template!

Looking uptown along Canal from Dauphine. At right is the Ritz-Carleton Hotel converted in 1997 from a 1909 building which originally housed the Maison Blanche department store. The hotel re-opened only a few weeks before our visit.

A small but delightful Art Deco building with Egyptian influences, labeled "Mangel's". It can be seen in a 1962 view on this page, with a sign reading "Sutton's Fairyland".

A strange 1960s facade cover, delightfully intricate. Most of the damage was hurricane-related; the building's ornate metal screen was mostly intact when I photographed it in 2004. A store sign (not quite legible before -- possibly "Mirage") has also vanished.

This small commercial building, most lately home to a Popeyes Fried Chicken, was gutted by fire in the days after the hurricane, when emergency services were unavailable.

The World Trade Center, a punctuation mark at the base of Canal Street. New Orleans has some of the ugliest 1960s skyscrapers to be found anywhere -- even I can't find much redeeming value in this one.

The festive architecture of the Aquarium at the riverfront, where Canal Street ends.

The Crescent City Connection twin bridges, massive spans that cross the Mississippi River to the West Bank. They are the last bridges over the Mississippi; all transit downstream from here must be accomplished by boat. One bridge was completed in 1958; the other three decades later in 1988.