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The Faubourg Marigny is the oldest part of New Orleans after the French Quarter; in fact, it was the city’s first suburb, or faubourg, back when New Orleans consisted of little more than the 78 square blocks of the Vieux Carré. These days, you can’t thumb a travel guide without coming across a mention of it, usually prefaced by the word “hip”. (Sometimes you’ll also see it accompanied by the words “artistic”, “funky”, or “bohemian”, though lately those adjectives are more often applied to the adjacent and more recently gentrified Bywater.)

I’ve lived here ever since moving to New Orleans nearly fourteen years ago, so it can be easy to take the Marigny for granted. Anyone coming here for the first time can see that it’s almost painfully photogenic—what with all the creeping jasmine and stray cats and century-old pastel colored shotgun houses and adorably sullen-faced crustypunks hanging outside of Mardi Gras Zone and everything. But ever since it’s become hard to walk down Royal St. on a weekend without being nearly run down by a bicycle tour or running into a Tremé shoot, I’ve tended to forget just how visually rich it is.

I decided to remedy that today with a walk around the Marigny to take some iPhone photographs of things I hadn’t noticed before, or things which I pass a couple or dozen times a day and never pay much attention to. I uploaded them to Instagram because that’s how the kids are sharing photos now, though I bypassed the filters in favor of some simple white balance correction and sharpening in the (very excellent) Camera+ app. These are some of the things I saw.

Artist Candy Chang‘s “Before I Die … ” project in an abandoned building on Burgundy St.

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Old filling station, Burgundy St.

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Ace Hardware, Dauphine St.

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Old SS. Peter & Paul, Burgundy St. There used to be a terrific Swoom piece in the doorway, but it was painted over years ago.

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This Creole cottage on Burgundy St. winds up in practically every published guide to the Marigny. I really should read that historical marker someday.

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If you walk by Hubig’s early in the morning you can smell the pies baking and sometimes the very nice ladies who work here will toss you some hot from the oven.

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This place has never been open the entire time I’ve lived here, but someone still paints the building and preserves the signage. (Also, this is where to get the best sno-balls in New Orleans.)

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Franklin Ave. (It’s not a bar.)

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N. Rampart St. These posters have been popping up all over the neighborhood this summer. I wish someone would give me one.

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Slim Thug as here, and he wants to know why his renovation is taking so long.

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For some reason, the historical marker here refers to the neighborhood as the “Suburb Marigny”. The historian who wrote the text was roundly criticized for doing so.

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Despite the sentiment, the guy working on the ladder was not happy that I took a picture of him.

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Where red Volkswagens go to die, or park.

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It’s always Mardi Gras on Royal St.

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Royal St.

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There are a lot of deconsecrated churches in the Marigny. This one is for sale.

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Where I am.

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Wish you were here.

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– – –

(P.S. – I take a lot of pictures of New Orleans. You can see more on my Flickr stream.)

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John d'Addario

John D’Addario is a veteran blogger (since 1996), adjunct professor of arts administration at the University of New Orleans, professional arts educator, photographer and man of the world. You can visit...

9 replies on “Postcards from New Orleans: Walking the Marigny”

  1. Am I imagining things, or is the phone number on that church’s for-sale sign “861-HELL”
    ?

  2. It’s actually 861-HELP (but don’t think I haven’t thought about sneaking around the corner to change it … )

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