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The Faubourg Marigny is New Orleans First Suburb

The Faubourg Marigny is New Orleans first suburb and it is only a few blocks to the east of Bourbon Street . Have you stayed there? Have you been there?

Let's discuss this Faubourg. First of all, the word Faubourg means neighborhood in French and we still use that term. 

The Marigny is an original Creole neighborhood named for New Orleans born, Bernard de Marigny. When his father died in 1800, the 14 year old de Marigny inherited a multi million dollar fortune along with the neighborhood’s namesake plantation. 

Bernard was sent to Europe to boarding school to become educated in the Mercantile business and learn how to handle business dealings. He didn't like it. Upon his return he had big dreams and the game of craps with him.

Beginning in 1805, de Marigny, now 20, petitioned the city to allow him to sub-divide his land located just outside of the Vieux Carre. With the French Quarter dangerously overpopulated, the city council approved de Marigny’s idea almost immediately, and people flocked to buy the new lots and begin building homes. Within two years, he’d sold 68% of the lots at a profit of around $80,000 or just over $2 million in today’s money.

When the Haitian slave revolt began in 1809, thousands of refugees fled to New Orleans. Many of them bought lots in the predominantly French speaking Faubourg Marigny, particularly free women of color and their slaves. The Haitian refugees also brought the now famous Creole Cottage design with them and, in just a few years, these four-room homes dotted the Marigny’s landscape alongside shotgun houses and the more prominent American mansions.

Streets included, Good Children (now St. Claude Ave.), Elysian Fields (after Paris’ Champs-Elysees), and Craps (changed to Burgundy St. after much protesting from four scandalized churches located on the street). The marginy also had a rotated grid system. This system accounted for a 135 degree turn in the Mississippi River, allowing “mother streets” like Royal, Chartres, and Bourbon to continue through the Marigny with no interruptions.

Elysian Fields was the first street in New Orleans to run from Lake Pontchartrain to the Mississippi River. In 1830, de Marigny sold the land running through the middle of the avenue to the newly formed Pontchartrain Railroad. The next year, the railroad opened a line which operated solely between Milneburg, a fishing village on Lake Pontchartrain, and the Faubourg Marigny. The steam engine, Smokey Mary, was the most famous train to haul goods and people from Pontchartrain Beach to the river along Elysian Fields from 1831 to 1930.

The Faubourg Marigny is New Orleans first suburb and is known for its bohemian, artistic and nightlife culture. It is chock full complete of Creole cottages, night art markets, indie shops, eclectic restaurants, and home to Frenchman Street! Three blocks of clubs, bars and live music where the locals go to hear Jazz, Rhythm and Blues and more. Where you will find tourists on Bourbon Street, you will find locals down in the Marigny hanging out of Frenchman Street. 

Mr Marigny’s loss turned out to be quite a gain for the city of New Orleans and its people. This well loved Faubourg is bustling! 

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