Any Mid-City neighborhood profile almost has to start with acknowledging its convenience to other places in New Orleans, after all it is midway between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain.
But there are plenty of reasons to just stay in the Mid-City neighborhood. It's a great place to eat and drink. Mid-City is home to some iconic New Orleans establishments such as Mandina's, Liuzza's, Venetia's, and Brocata's, as well as popular new restaurants and neighborhood bars. The neighborhood is known for reasonably prices, ethnic, and sometimes quirky restaurants. Check out this list of Mid-City restaurants.
Mid-City was originally swampland with development beginning in the late 19th century. It was once known as Back of Town.
The Mid-City Neighborhood Association reports that pre-Katrina, the neighborhood had about 20,000 residents in 5,830 households. There were about 575 businesses. It was hard hit by the post-Katrina flood with flooding up to 8 feet, although the organization also reports it was up to 80 percent re-population by spring 2010.
The borders of Mid-City sometimes are hard to distinguish from it's neighboring neighborhoods of Carrollton and Lakeview. North and South are rarely used in New Orleans for directions of streets, but in Mid-City they define streets such as North and South Carrollton.
Mid-City shares a border with Old Metairie, another unique neighborhood in Jefferson Parish. There's another business and shopping area that is super convenient to Mid-City, as is the Harrison Avenue area in the adjoining Lakeview neighborhood and the Carrollton neighborhood amenities.
The borders of Mid-City are generally: City Park Avenue, Toulouse Street, North Carrollton Avenue, Orleans Avenue, Bayou St. John, St. Louis Street, North Broad Street and the Pontchartrain Expressway. Running through the middle of Mid-City is Canal Street.
It's a non-touristy area and very real New Orleans. It's mostly residential, which is mostly rental, and the architecture is also very New Orleans, from the large Canal Street estates to the many iconic shotgun homes.
Speaking of architecture, there's a dense deceased population in the "cities of the dead" in this area.The cemeteries are another dominant feature of Mid-City. The interstate highway runs right through the cemetery area. Those iconic above ground tombs are probably the second thing, after the blanket of humidity, that tells tourists they aren't in Kansas anymore.
The Metairie cemetery, which was once a racetrack, and its historic tombs that include sculpture and stained glass is well worth a visit. You can borrow a tour tape from the main office or just drive or walk around.
Other dominant neighborhood features which are arguably right over the the Mid-City border: New Orleans City Park and the main campus of Delgado Community College.
Delgado College draws a diverse student body from across the metropolitan area. It offers associate degrees, two years of college courses, technical and career training, and life long learning opportunities. Xavier University, a private historically black school, is located right on the outskirts of Mid-City.
Among the many schools in Mid-City, Jesuit High School, a leading local Catholic school for boys only, is located on Banks St. in Mid-city. Warren Easton is a large and long-lived public high school on Canal Street.
Right across the street from Delgado is New Orleans City Park or at least part of it. The huge park is internationally known for its magnificent collection of ancient live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss. Hurricane Katrina flooded the park and destroyed many of these treasures, but many more remain.
There are so many landmarks and things to do, some obvious and some rather hidden, inside City Park, along with miles of winding roads and trails in the park to explore, not to mention the lagoons. And places like Storyland, the Botanical Gardens, the Casino cafe, an historic Carousel, the Carousel Garden Amusement Park, tennis courts, golf courses along with a two-story driving range, a forest trail, horse stables, sport fields, a dog park, and the New Orleans Museum of Art and world-class Sculpture Garden.
City Park is a major dog-walking venue and has a dog park, City Bark. Actually, Mid-City in general is a very dog-friendly New Orleans neighborhood.
The re-establishment of the Canal St. streetcar is a welcome addition to the City Park neighborhood. It takes you from Mid-City all the way downtown. And unlike it's older cousin, the green historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar, the red streetcar is a new version and its air-conditioned.
Bayou St. John is another feature of the area and the site of festivals. Deutsches Haus has plans to build a new Haus near the bands of Bayou St. John.
A newly developed American Can building complex houses the Mid-City library branch, apartments, cafes, shops, a yoga studio, and more. Carrollton Avenue has a cluster of businesses around the Canal Blvd. intersection including a couple of truly iconic New Orleans places like Venezia's, a family Italian restaurant and Brocata's, a back-in-time experience with home made gelato, ice cream, ices, pastries and other treats.
Also part of Mid-City is Tulane Ave., an older industrial business section in need of renovation. The Criminal Courts complex is located where Tulane Ave. crosses Broad St.
On bright improvement in the area, the old Falstaff brewery has been renovated into apartments with plans for retail development. It's also revitalized an traditional and useful New Orleans landmarks after decades. The Falstaff tower is lit up every night to forecast the weather for the next day. You just have to know the very simple code about the Falstaff sign and globe lights.