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(all data current as of 5/25/2017)
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There has been a tremendous amount of redevelopment and building in the lake-area neighborhoods of New Orleans in the past five years or so. This not only includes homes and businesses, but infrastructure that has created a better means of flood protection and there has been a refurbishing of streets and green spaces in the area (although improved certain blocks despite having beautiful new homes, still seem to be lacking in this department). In addition to stronger levees and more pumping stations, home owners are more educated on how to build better and stronger, and this is something can be seen throughout the area with a lot of the newer homes.
Lake Area History
Even though the Lakeview area looks more modern than a lot of neighborhoods in New Orleans, it is among one of the oldest settlements in the Crescent City. This area was originally owned by an order of priests know as the Capuchins who later sold the land to Don Almonester y Roxas during the Spanish rule of New Orleans. While the name Almonester y Roxas may not be well known, his generosity is; he was responsible for rebuilding the St. Louis Cathedral following a devastating fire that burned down most of the French Quarter in 1788. His daughter also became the Baroness Pontalba, who built the famous Pontalba Apartment that still stands today surround Jackson Square.
Fast forward to the mid 1800s and that’s when more modern development of the area began. By 1880, a hotel, a restaurant and amusement parks were built along the lake in what is now called West End. During this time, the city began draining what was mostly swamp and by 1909, drainage ditches and streets were built and the New Orleans Land Company began selling land. By 1926, Lakeview had made a name for itself and eventually became what is still to this day, a beautiful recreational area along Lake Pontchartrain and City Park.
Fast forwarding a bit, there is no getting around the fact that the Lakeview has undergone the ultimate home improvement makeover in more recent years. The lake-area neighborhoods have come back strong along with the improved levees, and the area’s resilience can be gauged by the number of people who have rebuilt and moved back to the area. Lakeview was one of the first residential areas in New Orleans developed for a more leisurely and “suburban” way of life, mostly centered around the beauty of Lake Pontchartrain, the activities of the yacht and country clubs, and City Park. There was some activity along Lake Pontchartrain in the mid-to-late 1800s, but it wasn’t until the early 1900s that cottages and traditional homes started to fill the Lakeview landscape, followed by a mid-20th century boom of brick ranch-style homes filling the area. A lot has changed in Lakeview since 2005, after Hurricane Katrina. The character and close-knit community of Lakeview is still very much the same, but changes in housing include widespread elevation of existing homes, and new construction of larger, more stately homes. Another change is the addition of many rather large yards, thanks to the Lot Next Door program. The New Orleans Redevelopment Authority rolled out this program in some of the hardest hit areas, offering current homeowners the opportunity to buy adjacent lots that became vacant once damaged homes were removed. The result in Lakeview was the building of much larger homes that now have extensive green space including side and back yards, and existing homes doubling their lot sizes.
Another major development we’ve seen since Katrina has been along Harrison Avenue, which is being compared to a “mini-Magazine Street” with all of the new restaurants and businesses that have popped up (in addition to what was already there). There has also been a lot of progress on this street in addition to new businesses in recent years, including re-paving sidewalks, new benches and new landscaping. There is also a new event taking place on the second of every month on Harrison called the Harrison Marketplace, which has over 75 vendors of food and crafts, in addition to live music and activities for children.
In addition, City Park has undergone extensive renovation in the past five years or so, and is continuing to see increased interest among neighbors and tourists alike. Some of the biggest attractions in New Orleans can be found here, such as the Museum of Art and Sculpture Garden, Botanical Garden, the Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, Minature Golf, Story Land, the Train Garden, a huge Golf Course, playgrounds for children, a fantastic dog park (used frequently by some members of this company!) and the widely anticipated City Splash water park.
You won’t lack for cuisine as the Lakefront area has a variety of establishments for dining and socializing, including pubs, coffee houses and specialty dessert shops. A few favorites are Bittersweet Confections, Creole Creamery, Lakeview Brew Coffee Café, Koz’s Lakeview, Lakeview Harbor , Mondo, Reginelli’s, Russell’s Marina Grill, The Steak Knife, Tony Angello’s and The Velvet Cactus.