The History Behind 7 Of Louisiana’s Most Famous Streets
One thing famous streets will all have in common is all the staples of life. Many of these Louisiana roadways have been visited by tourists for more than a century. People come from all over to see historic neighborhoods featuring beautiful or highly unusual architecture.
Then there's the great food and drinks, the shopping, art galleries, museums, bars and pubs, and more. I can assure you, that people who live in Louisiana can get to know Louisiana a little better by researching the history of some of the state's most iconic streets.
Most people recognize the names, some even live on them, but very few know the history behind their name or fame. For your reading enjoyment here are some little-known historical facts about 7 of Louisiana's Most Famous Streets:
1.) BOURBON STREET, NEW ORLEANS
Here's a shocker: Bourbon wasn't named after a type of alcohol nor for wild nightlife, adorned balconies, and women raising their shirts for beads! The famous street with multiple side-by-side bars and strip clubs was named after royalty. The French Governor of Louisiana, Jean Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, founded New Orleans in 1718. He was appointed to develop a colony in the area and enlisted the royal engineer Adrien De Paguer to design the NOLA's street layout.
Feel free to blame these two geniuses for all the one-way roads and crazy street names no one can read or pronounce! Which, by the way, were named after French royal houses and Catholic Saints. Bourbon Street was named after France’s royal family, the House of Bourbon.
Next time you visit Bourbon Street, stop by the Galatoire’s Restaurant for fine dining. There, you will find a bit of luxury and exquisite French-Creole cuisine. It is one of the oldest restaurants in New Orleans, founded by Jean Galatoire in 1905. It's a well-known hot spot for upscale lunch on Fridays and dinner any night of the week in the French Quarter.
2.) RYAN STREET, LAKE CHARLES
Ryan Street is located in the heart of Downtown Lake Charles and stretches from the historic North to the South end of the city. The whole town is on Ryan just about! Find quant and upscale dining in the downtown area, with plenty of food choices.
Enjoy live entertainment, coffee shops, and downtown loft living. Not to mention several shops for shopping, barbershops, and beauty salons. Art enthusiasts will be right at home with the art galleries and cultural exhibits, with fresh works on display by featured artists.
Further down, there are novelty shops, furniture and grocery stores, gas stations, bars, pubs and clubs. Ryan Stree was named around 1891 and is also home to McNeese State University, the pride of SWLA.
During the 1900s, Ryan Street was bustling with trolley cars, but today most of the downtown area is great for parking and walking. This famous roadway is at the heart of Mardi Gras season in SWLA. Most of the main carnival parades in Lake Charles, LA. travel down, Ryan. So, just bring a lawn chair Cha!
3.) ANTIQUE ALLEY, TRENTON STREET, MONROE-WEST MONROE
This famous Louisiana street is known for hosting one of the biggest shopping malls in North Louisiana. In addition to finding the trendiest items, Antique Alley offers the holy grail for antiques for avid hunters far and wide.
Nearby Art Alley and DeSiard Street feature unique works of art and historic home tours. Check out the Monroe-West Monroe Visitors Bureau Office for a map and other must-visit historic homes and cruise DeSiard Street for a flavor of history.
4.) FRONT STREET, NATCHITOCHES
Front Street is situated in Louisiana's oldest city, Natchitoches. The centuries-old charm of this famous road is straight off a postcard. It runs right alongside the legendary Cane River and is home to one of the oldest Christmas festivals in North Louisiana, the Natchitoches Christmas Festival of Lights.
With incredible fireworks displays in the mid-1830s downtown, complete with weekly parades. Front Street looks over the Cane River Lake and is lined with excellent shops and boutiques with original century-old storefronts. Take a walking tour of the area to view historic sites dating back to the 1820s.
Also, get a meat pie at Lasyone's Meat Pies Restaurant for the full Natchitoches experience.
5.) THIRD STREET, ALEXANDRIA
Third Street is the place to be in Alexandria. This famous Louisiana street is part of the city’s Cultural Arts District. So, there's always something exciting going on, and Third also includes some of the city’s oldest buildings.
Third Street runs directly beside the iconic Hotel Bentley, which has an extensive military history. The Bentley would host WWII Generals before they were sent off for duty, and Third Street was the location of countless military parades during WWII.
Today, Third Street offers year-round events, with several great restaurants and the city's Cultural Arts District.
6.) MAGAZINE STREET, NEW ORLEANS
One thing is for sure: it wasn't named after any magazine. However, there are two theories about how Magazine got its name. Magazine Street is a major thoroughfare in New Orleans. Like Tchoupitoulas Street, St. Charles, and Claiborne Avenue, it follows the curving course of the Mississippi River.
Theory #1 - It took its name from an ammunition magazine in this vicinity during the 18th-century colonial period.
Theory #2 - The street may have been named after the Spanish word magazin or almazon, which means warehouse. Based upon a conspiracy involving General James Wilkinson of Kentucky. He came to New Orleans advocating for (Spanish American Provenance) Governor of Louisiana, Esteban Rodriguez Miro, to build a warehouse and allow his state to store and trade tobacco on the Mississippi. The street was called Calle del Almazen and later changed to Magazine Street.
I'm going to go with theory #2 being the most probable. Regardless, NOLA street is famous today and offers 6 miles of shopping, many cafes, restaurants, bakeries, unique novelty shops, boutiques, and more!
7.) COLUMBIA STREET, COVINGTON
Enjoy 10 blocks of galleries, shops, restaurants, and clothing boutiques. On Saturdays, visitors can get homemade unique arts & crafts made by the locals, as well as delicious jams and raw honey at the Covington Farmers Markets.
During the Spring Season, tourists flock to the area for free concerts staged at the Columbia Street Landing. In the fall, the famous street is home to the annual Three Rivers Arts Festival.
This festival attracts more than 50,000 visitors annually and highlights the artwork of numerous local and national artists. Take a walk down the beautiful street in Covington, beginning at the old Columbia Street Landing on the Bogue Falaya River.