New Orleans offers long-term rental properties in a variety of neighborhoods and configurations. Known as America's Most Interesting City, people who move to New Orleans are astounded by the variety of housing options in many styles that are unique to the city. Knowing where to rent can be confusing, especially since directions in New Orleans are given as Uptown, Downtown, Riverside and Lakeside, rather than West, East, South and North. To add to the confusion, New Orleans is bisected by the Mississippi River. Algiers on the West Bank, is a part of the rest of New Orleans which is on the East Bank.
While New Orleans does have a city center, it isn't known as Downtown. In New Orleans, “downtown” refers to the parts of the city downriver from Canal Street, one of the main thoroughfares. “Uptown” refers to the neighborhoods upriver from Canal Street. When an address is closer to the Mississippi, it is referred to as being riverside to other properties. “Lakeside” means that a property is more toward Lake Pontchartrain on the city's norther border. To complicate matters further still, Canal Street is the dividing line for streets that cross it. South Tonti Street, for instance is uptown of Canal, while North Tonti Street is downtown of Canal, even though all the cross streets run roughly west to east. When looking for rental property in New Orleans, it is best to look at a map and get familiar with the neighborhoods before asking for directions from a local.
New Orleans is a city of distinct neighborhoods. Some of these correspond to historic locations. Faubourg Marigny was the first suburb in the city, just downtown of the famous French Quarter. Faubourg Treme, is the oldest African-American neighborhood in the United States, located just lakeside of the French Quarter, in the “back of town,” which is really in the middle of the current city. Central City is an uptown neighborhood that runs between St. Charles Avenue and Claiborne Avenue, while Mid-City is a large, peaceful neighborhood (zip code 70119) that straddles Canal Street from the back of town to the cemeteries in the middle of the city. Neither of these areas should be confused with the Central Business District (CBD), which would be considered downtown proper in other cities. The CBD is also home to the Warehouse District, which features luxury apartments and condominiums with modern amenities in refurbished cotton and sugar warehouses dating from the 19th century.
The rental stock in New Orleans varies by neighborhood. In the Bywater, downtown and close to the Mississippi, densely packed shotgun homes are available in an eclectic setting that is served by small groceries and restaurants. Uptown, in the Garden District, which includes the Lower Garden and the Irish Channel, one- and two-family shotguns are available for rent, as well as larger mansions that have been subdivided into apartments and condos.
A car is not necessary in New Orleans. The city's landscape is flat and easy to navigate by bicycle. Additionally, streetcars run during most hours on uptown St. Charles Avenue, along Canal Street, and on North Carrolton Avenue. New streetcar lines are being built on Loyola Avenue, where new luxury apartments are being constructed by the Superdome, and along St. Claude Avenue, connecting downtown neighborhoods with the CBD.