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A History of New Orleans Street Names


In 1718, Sieur de la Bienville founded a port city and named it La Nouvelle Orléans for Philippe, Duc d’Orléans. A host of historical names for streets and places came next.

So, ever wonder just who or what lies behind New Orleans street names? Here are some good ones:
  • Calliope St.
    Muse of epic poetry.
  • Clio St.
    Muse of history.
  • Dauphine St.
    This is the feminine form of "Dauphin," the prince in line to be the king of France.
  • Elysian Fields Ave.
    In the Greek underworld, if you were bad, you went to Hades, but if the gods smiled upon you, you got to hang out in the lovely Elysian Fields.
  • Erato St.
    Muse of lyric poetry.
  • Euterpe St.
    Muse of music.
  • General Ogden St.
    Frederick Nash Ogden (1837-1886), born in Baton Rogue and died in New Orleans. He served the Confederacy during the Civil War, organized and led the Crescent City democratic club and was president of the Louisiana Red Cross during the yellow fever outbreak of 1878.
  • General Pershing St.
    John Joseph Pershing (1860-1948) served the US military at its highest rank, General of the Armies.
  • General Taylor St.
    The twelfth President of the United States and 40-year military man known as "Old Rough and Ready." He rose to "fame" in the Mexican–American War.
  • Henry Clay Ave.
    Henry Clay, Sr. (1777-1852) represented Kentucky in the House and Senate and was Secretary of State from 1825 to 1829.
  • Jefferson Davis Pkwy.
    Jefferson Finis Davis (1808-1889) was the only President of the Confederate States of America.
  • Judge Perez Dr.
    Leander Henry Perez, Sr., (1891-1969) was a key political figure in Plaquemines and St. Bernard parishes, serving as a district judge, district attorney, and president of the Plaquemines Parish Commission Council.
  • Leon C. Simon Dr.
    (1881-1956?) Chairman of the Executive Council of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and one of the original members of the Zionist Commission to Palestine in 1918.
  • Martin Behrman Walk
    Martin Behrman (1864-1926) was the longest-serving mayor in New Orleans history.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
    1929-1968, King was a clergyman and hero of civil rights. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 for making the world a better place and then was assassinated four years later.
  • Melpomene St.
    Muse of tragedy.
  • Napoleon Ave.
    Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) became Emperor Napoleon I of France, but the Waterloo thing didn't work out so well after that.
  • Oretha C. Haley Blvd.
    Oretha Castle Haley was a vital figure in civil rights activism in New Orleans and a founding leader of the Congress of Racial Equality.
  • Polymnia St.
    Muse of choral poetry. (More usual spelling is "Polyhymnia.")
  • Robert E. Lee Blvd.
    Robert Edward Lee (1807-1870) served as General-in-chief of the Confederate forces during the Civil War.
  • Rocheblave St.
    Philippe-François de Rastel de Rocheblave (1727-1802) was a soldier and politician in Lower Canada.
  • Simon Bolívar Ave.
    Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte Blanco, (1783-1830) was vital in the liberation from Spain of lands that would become Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Bolivia.
  • Tchoupitoulas St.
    An extinct Native American tribe.
  • Terpsichore St.
    Muse of dance.
  • Thalia St.
    Muse of comedy.
  • Urania St.
    Muse of astronomy.
  • Walter Beech St.
    Walter Herschel Beech (1891-1950) started as a test pilot and went on to found Beech Aircraft Company, a major producer of planes for WWII, with his wife, Olive Ann.
(Considering how many streets there are in this town with special meaning, this reference is a work in progress. Want to add/correct something? Tell me at neworleans@aboutguide.com.)
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