Gentilly in New Orleans

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Gentilly is a large section of New Orleans generally paid little or no attention by visitors. None the less, Gentilly has a variety of local restaurants -- mostly very reasonably priced for local clientele -- some inexpensive accommodations, and a few unique sights.

St. Leo the Great Church, Paris Avenue, Gentilly
Old Gentilly Spicy Kitchen

Understand

Around 100 years ago, most development in Gentilly was confined to Gentilly Ridge, a narrow stretch of higher ground around Gentilly Road. Most of the rest of the area was farm and pasture land, which tended to get marshy in heavy rains or when Lake Pontchartrain rose above its banks. Starting in the late 1920s, land reclamation projects and the construction of a flood wall along the lakefront opened the area to development. Whatever land that was still vacant in the 1940s was quickly filled with new housing in the post World War II boom.

For generations Gentilly was perhaps the quintessential New Orleans middle-class residential neighborhood. Then in 2005 Gentilly, like the majority of Greater New Orleans, was severely flooded in the great levee failure disaster during Hurricane Katrina. As of summer 2011, Gentilly is back, but at half strength. The 2010 census showed a bit less than half the pre-Katrina population. There are new and rebuilt restaurants and businesses dotting Gentilly, but there are still about an equal number that remain vacant and boarded up.

Get in

Gentilly is about 3 miles north-east of the French Quarter. From out of town, drive in on Interstate 610, (a short-cut within the city of Interestate 10)

While there are some bus routes along major avenues, it's best to have a car to get around in Gentilly.

Bus 55, which travels the length of Elysian Fields from the UNO main campus down to the French Quarter.

See

  • Architecture New Orleans is mostly known for its Colonial and 19th century architecture, which Gentilly lacks. But people whose appreciation for historic architecture extends into the 20th century will find some interesting residential neighborhoods, some of which one might not expect to see in New Orleans: Spanish Revival Bungalows that look like something out of the 1920s Florida Land Boom, and Louisiana's biggest collection of California Craftsman style architecture (around 1909 a real estate developer brought in a foreman from Los Angeles to teach local carpenters the style). Just drive along Gentilly Road, and when you see a residential avenue with a big metal sign announcing its name (like "Gentilly Terrace", "Gentilly Woods", or "Sugar Hill") take a little drive to the side.
Um, McDonalds??
  • McDonalds (address: 4240 Louisa Street) (directions: between Chef Menteur Highway and Old Gentilly Road)
  • Hellenic Cultural Center, Robert E. Lee at St. Bernard, by Bayou St. John. Large Greek Orthodox Church and a building complex, puts on the popular Greek Festival each summer. The popular "Greek Fest" with Greek food and live music is held each year in the last weekend of May. If you go here, note that the ruins of Old Spanish Fort are just across the Bayou in the Lakeview & Lakeshore neighborhood.
  • University of New Orleans, [1] Main campus is near the lake end of Elysian Fields Avenue. The UNO Arena ( [2] ) is at a separate location at the lake end of Franklin Avenue. The modern campus has little to see and there is little reason for the visitor to come to the campus except for when special events, exhibitions, or concerts are held here.

Do

  • Krewe of Dreux (pronounced "Crew of Drew") Mardi Gras parade and party. The Saturday before Mardi Gras Day, forgo the big famous parades elsewhere in the city to check out New Orleans Carnival Gentilly style. People gather in "People's Park" (along People's Avenue around Filmore) for a big informal outdoor party; then parade around the neighborhood in the afternoon. Come in costume if you like; it should just be something comfortable for walking around in (serious costumers save their best for Mardi Gras Day). For fuller immersion in the local experience, bring some food or beverage to share, or if you happen to play New Orleans style/Dixieland jazz, bring your instrument.

Buy

Eat

Chicken + Box = McKenzie's
  • Big Shirley's (address: 5222 Elysian Fields) (directions: just off Filmore Avenue) +1 (504) 252-4835
    New Orleans Soul Food, bbq, po-boys.
  • Daddy's Donuts (address: 2051-A Caton St) (directions: in a stip mall at Norman Mayer Avenue; 2 blocks from the intersection of Gentilly Boulevard and Elysian Fields) +1 (504) 283-3388
    open: 6a-1p daily
    Good donuts and coffee.
  • Chinese Tea Garden (address: 2170 Filmore Avenue) (directions: just off the corner of Elysian Fields) +1 (504) 282-1493
    open: M-F 11a-10p, Sat Sun 12 noon-10p
    Feeding Gentilly Chinese food for 20 years
  • Fleury of Wings (address: 5325 Franklin Ave) (directions: just off Filmore Avenue) +1 (504) 302-9675
    open: Mon-Sat 11a-10p Sun noon-6p
    Chicken wings, po-boys
  • JuJu Bag Cafe & Barber Salon (address: 5363 Franklin Ave) (directions: half block north of Filmore Avenue) +1 (504) 872-0969
    open: Tues-Thurs 8a-8p, Fri 8a-11p, Sat-Sun 8a-3p.
    New Orleans style breakfast lunch and dinner, or stop in for a coffee or to get your hair done. Free wi-fi. Live jazz Friday nights.
  • Mc Kenzie's Chicken In A Box (address: 3839 Frenchmen St.) (directions: just off Gentilly Boulevard, a block up from Elysian Fields) +1 (504) 943-8908
    price: cheap
    open: breakfast and lunch
    Fried chicken and New Orleans Soul Food, eat in or to go. Neighborhood favorite.
  • Old Gentilly Spicy Kitchen (address: 4058 Old Gentilly Rd) +1 504 948-9800
    price: $4-12
    Big portions of tasty soul food served by friendly folks in an inconspicuous white house off the Chef Menteur Hwy. The dining room is hidden in the back, and late breakfast is the most popular time of day; closed for dinner.
  • Sweet Savor's Bakery (address: 5242 Elysian Fields) (directions: corner of Filmore Avenue) +1 (504) 286-1123
    Sweet bakery; donuts, cakes, etc.

Drink

  • Daiquiris and Company (address: 6301 Elysian Fields Ave) (504) 286-9514
  • JuJu Bag Cafe & Barber Salon (address: 5363 Franklin Ave) (directions: half block north of Filmore Avenue) +1 (504) 872-0969
    open: Tues-Thurs 8a-8p, Fri 8a-11p, Sat-Sun 8a-3p.
    Detailed above at "Eat"; also serves alcohol beverages
  • New Orleans Original Daiquiris (address: 4450 Chef Menteur Hwy) (504) 943-7060

Sleep

  • Econo Lodge (address: 4940 Chef Menteur Hwy) +1 504 940-5550
    price: $65-75
    Econo Lodge is a reliable bottom budget chain, but this one hits a bit below the usual reputation. The location is in a fairly charmless part of Gentilly near the Industrial Canal. It is, however, near a cluster of inexpensive national chain shops and restaurants, a frozen daiquiris shop, and local favorite Old Gentilly Spicy Kitchen (listed at "Eat"). And for cheap rooms, a much closer drive to New Orleans' most famous sights than similar accommodations in Greater New Orleans' further flung suburbs.
  • Motel 6 (address: 4200 Old Gentilly Rd) +1 504 324-9391
    price: $50-65
    While suffering from the location, similar to the nearby aforementioned Econo Lodge, the Motel 6 here is spectacularly cheap and serves its function fine.
  • Pontchartrain Landing RV Park (address: 6001 France Rd) (directions: Enter via Hayne Boulevard, turn right just before the Canal) +1 504 286-8157
    RV Park in the port facility area beside the Industrial Canal.

Contact

Free Wi-fi at Juju Bag Cafe listed above.

Computer time at branch Public Library, currently in temporary location in a strip mall at 2077 Caton Street off Gentilly Boulevard and Norman Mayer Boulevard. (The old Gentilly Branch Library was totaled in the 2005 flood disaster, and the new Gentilly Library building is still under construction.)



Source wikitravel.org/en/New_Orleans/Gentilly