Stroll Down Freret!

The New New Orleans: A Stroll Down Freret Street

by Micheline Maynard (RSS feed) on Nov 14th 2012 at 11:00AM

Everyone who visits New Orleans has strolled through the French Quarter at least once (whether they remember or not). Many shoppers have walked some of the three miles of Magazine Street’s commercial zone, while football fans have made their way through the Central Business District en route to the Superdome.

But Hurricane Katrina created an opportunity for other parts of New Orleans to come into their own. One place that many visitors have yet to find is Freret Street, in Uptown New Orleans. And even some locals stay away, because of Freret’s checkered history – which merchants and restaurant owners are doing their best to obliterate.

Freret began as a commercial area for people who were left out of New Orleans’ most powerful social groups: the French Creoles, who governed old society, and the wealthy “English” traders and business owners, who dominated the CBD and built their homes in the Garden District. Instead, the neighborhood, named for brothers William and James Freret, became a refuge for Italian and Jewish residents, who shared the commercial district.