Like Paris, There’s a Lot of New Orleans to Love
Volume XIX, Issue 20
It doesn’t matter where you live or what you do, the subject of property almost always comes up. That’s because “shelter” is one of the six most basic of human needs. The other five are food, water, sleep, human touch and the opportunity to learn (according to Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, who defined a list of human needs that people now call the Hierarchy of Human Needs).
So, regardless of where I am or whom I’m with, it is virtually impossible to avoid talking about property. Even while in New Orleans for only a few days, we visited a property my sisters are buying and spent hours touring the city to visit homes where we once lived, passed by others once lived in by our friends and family and just cruised neighborhoods of interest. All four of us sisters enjoy doing house tours. It must be in our DNA.
My favorite drive in New Orleans is Saint Charles Avenue—the U-shaped, oak-lined avenue that follows the shape of the Mississippi River and on which the streetcar runs. It is the heart of the Garden District and the city’s best addresses. There are very few properties along the famous avenue for sale, except for condos in the multi-family buildings on the eastern end of the thoroughfare…here one can score easier. But either way, be prepared to spend a pretty penny for such gems of architecture and location…there’s not much under $1 million, if available at all.
My family now lives mostly in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans in Jefferson Parish. The 17th-Street Canal is the border between Orleans and Jefferson Parishes—the canal whose levee broke from the strong winds of Hurricane Katrina, causing the waters to flood the city. A house we lived in from the time I as nine years old until long after I left for college on the Orleans Parish side of the canal was rendered under about nine feet of water. It has since been completely refurbished and the neighborhood, “Lakeview,” has blossomed once again. We made a point of visiting it to see how much it might have changed.
There are 64 parishes in Louisiana, what all the other states call “counties.” The Louisiana term dates back to when it was a church-based system by the French and Spanish founders in the early 1800s. Our French heritage sticks with us like glue as you visit the city streets and realize how much influence the French had on the naming of the streets and the layout of the city. Bourbon Street in the French Quarter was not named after the alcohol, although there is plenty of it on Bourbon Street, but it was named after the French royal family in charge at the time back in 1721. Decatur Street used to be called “Rue de la Levee” because it was the original location of the Mississippi River levee.
The “Faubourg Marigny,” an area of the city just to the east of the French Quarter (which in spite of its name is actually Spanish architecture), owes its history to Bernard de Marigny, who came from a wealthy Creole family. He managed to gamble away most of his money playing his favorite dice game, “Craps,” and had to sell his family’s plantation to pay off his debts. “Elysian Fields Avenue” is of course in French, the “Champs Elysées” and Frenchmen Street is best known for the three-block section in the Faubourg Marigny that is home to some of the city’s popular live-music venues. No matter where you turn, however, there are remnants of the city’s French heritage.
Just to the east and following the shape of the river is an area called the “Bywater.” It wasn’t all that long ago that my mother flipped when she heard I had been to a restaurant in the Bywater—as her knowledge of the area was of a part of the city too dangerous to even consider visiting. Not anymore! Like the Faubourg Marigny, these are gentrified neighborhoods where the residents are now laughing all the way to the proverbial bank.
Uptown is where lots of New Orleanians feel most at home. These are handsome neighborhoods—such as the Garden District, the Irish Channel and Carrollton. Up until I was nine years old, we lived in a house on the corner of Milan and Johnson in the Broadmoor neighborhood of Uptown. This area was heavily resided in by the Jewish community. As we cruised the streets in the immediate vicinity, my sisters were able to point out the homes of dozens of friends and family who once lived within steps of our own house. Our house is no longer there, but has been replaced by a large three-level house that was recently on the market for $380,000. The neighborhood is clearly gentrifying and will ultimately be very valuable.
If you’re looking to generate a revenue from a New Orleans investment, it isn’t so easy in the Big Easy anymore. New rules (from August 2019) overhauled the short-term rental rules limiting short-term rentals in residential areas to owner-occupied properties, placed caps on rentals in commercial and mixed-use buildings, and banned them outright in most of the French Quarter and the entire Garden District. Sounds a bit like Paris, right?
While I understand why local residents don’t like transients infiltrating their neighborhoods, ultimately I believe these restrictions will be counter productive. We live in a more transient society, even more now than before the pandemic. If the cities don’t recognize the needs of these kinds of residents, the kind that come and go because they can live anywhere while working remotely, they will restrict themselves from real growth. They simply can’t see the long term side effects, but this is just my own conjecture.
Like Paris, as I often joke, there’s a lot of New Orleans to love when trying to decide where to land…that is if the Big Easy is your property destination.
The Adrian Leeds Group®
P.S. Interested in learning more about Fractional Ownership? Don’t miss our fun and informative webinar…June 12th at a time that’s convenient for people from the West Coast to Europe! Visit our Events page for all the details.