The Warehouse District Historic District Is Established

Mar 1, 1978

Since its 1978 designation, the once-deteriorated Warehouse District Historic District has transformed into a desirable urban enclave for residents and businesses alike.

The Warehouse District Historic District was established in March 1978 under the jurisdiction ofthe Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commission (CBD/HDLC). The boundaries were increased in 1985 and 2007.¹ Located along the river between the bustling business corridors of Poydras Street and the Pontchartrain Expressway, the district’s historic architecture reflects the ever-changing commerce and industry near the Port of New Orleans over the course of its history.²

During the early decades of the twentieth century, the characteristic brick warehouses, factories, foundries, and cotton and sugar presses began to give way to new concrete structures that better served the needs of area industries. By the 1950s, businesses began moving to more spacious quarters in surrounding parishes. By the 1960s, neglected historic buildings were crumbling and some were demolished, turning parts of the neighborhood into a slum. In the mid-1970s, the preservation community began fighting to save the area, with such initiatives as the creation of the Historic Faubourg St. Mary Corporation and, in the early 1980s, the New Orleans Historic Warehouse District Study, which was a collaboration of planning professionals, the Preservation Resource Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection, and others funded in part by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.³ The 1984 World’s Fair, which took place in and around the district, also had a major impact on its revitalization. Sensitive developers, both large and small, moved into the area to breathe new life into the neighborhood’s historic commercial structures. Around the turn of the twenty-first century, the district experienced a rebirth of commerce and residential use and became known as part of the city’s “Arts District.” Converted industrial structures now serve as art galleries, high-end condominiums, offices, and upscale restaurants, among other uses.⁴

 

1. Dominique Hawkins and Catherine E. Barrier, “City of New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission: Warehouse District Historic District,” May 2011.

2. Ibid.

3. Jim Amdal, “Warehouse District Update: 1985,” New Orleans Preservation in Print 12 no. 9 (November 1985): 6.

4. Patricia Gay, “The 1984 World’s Fair, the Warehouse District, and the Preservation Industry,” Preservation in Print 31 no. 5 (June/July 2004): 6; andKatherine Sayre, “Warehouse District historical renovation targets New Orleanians willing to pay top rents,” nola.com, July 3, 2013.

 

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