The Picayune Place Historic District boasts the city’s best collection of intact nineteenth-century commercial buildings.
The Picayune Place Historic District is a small rectangular area wedged between the Warehouse District and Canal Street historic districts in downtown New Orleans. It is under the jurisdiction of the Central Business District Historic District Landmarks Commission (CBD/HDLC). Encompassing just over six city blocks, it was designated in March 1978 in recognition of its “unparalleled collection of intact nineteenth-century commercial buildings.”¹ In particular, it is characterized by dense rows of three- and four-story common-wall masonry structures, many of which feature granite storefronts and decorative cornices and recall contemporaneous commercial buildings in the Northeast.²
As Americans began settling in the area following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, this section of town developed early on as a commercial hub for a variety of institutions, including banks and the offices of many of the city’s leading newspapers.³ The Daily Picayune, the most famous newspaper in town and the predecessor of The Times-Picayune, was headquartered in the neighborhood at 326-328 Camp Street from 1850 until 1917, drawing enough competing newspaper offices, publishers, and print shops to the area that this stretch of Camp Street became known as “Newspaper Row.”⁴ In fact, the district is named for Picayune Place, a one-block street behind the old Daily Picayune building.⁵
1. Dominique Hawkins and Catherine E. Barrier, “City of New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission: Picayune Place Historic District,” May 2011.
2. Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation, “Upper Central Business District,” National Register of Historic Places, June 24, 1991.
3. “Touring Picayune Place,” New Orleans Preservation in Print 10 no. 4 (May 1983): 3.
4. Richard Campanella, “Remembering Newspaper Row,” Preservation in Print 39 no. 6 (September 2012):22.
5. Hawkins and Barrier, “City of New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission: Picayune Place Historic District.”