Perhaps it’s the tree-shaded and spacious houses that make Carrollton feel nostalgic, or perhaps it is the influence of Tulane and Loyola universities that make the neighborhood feel like a college town. Established as a rural resort community outside of New Orleans, the neighborhood still has a laid-back feel.
In 1833, New Orleans Canal and Banking Co. purchased half of the McCarty Plantation to obtain right of way for a planned extension of the New Basin Canal. Investors Laurent Millaudon, Senator John Slidell and Samuel Kohn bought the other half and hired planner Charles Zimpel to create the street grid. By the 1850s, the town had a racetrack, fine gardens, a hotel, and an elegant train station.
New Orleans family lore often includes stories of the “long” train ride up St. Charles Avenue, sometimes with an overnight stop at Sacred Heart Convent for the Catholic Creoles coming from the French Quarter and beyond, to holiday in “The Historic Town of Carrollton.”
Oak Street, one of Carrollton’s main shopping districts, still has the look and feel of the 1950s, while Maple Street offers small stores, numerous coffee shops and a well established independent bookstore, Maple Street Bookshop, in converted Victorian houses.
Louisiana cuisine, in all price ranges, is plentiful in Carrollton. Experience restaurants like Mat and Naddie’s and Dante’s Kitchen, which sit across River Road from the Mississippi, while you dine outside and enjoy the pleasant rumbles as trains pass along the levee. For a late night bite, try famous Camellia Grill near the corner of St. Charles Avenue and Carrollton Avenue.
The sounds of the river, the railroad and the streetcar still color life in Carrollton, though this former resort is now solidly within urban New Orleans.