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Historic Streets of New Orleans: Oak Street

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Welcome to New Orleans’ Oak Street 

The Carrollton neighborhood is the farthest upriver section of New Orleans’ Uptown area. This beautiful neighborhood was actually an independent city of its own until it was annexed by New Orleans in 1874. While Carrollton Avenue is the neighborhood’s main transportation thoroughfare, the area’s commercial main street has always been found on Oak Street. Today, Oak Street remains a popular destination for all of the qualities that make New Orleans great: music, art, food, community, and architecture.

The History of Oak Street 

New Orleans Oak Street Nightlife

Oak Street served as “Main Street” for Carrollton both before and after annexation. This street supplied the essentials for people who lived far away from the booming downtown corridors of Canal Street and Julia Street. In the early days, Oak Street was lined with all the services that a small town would need: grocers, barbers, community meeting places, clothing stores, and so forth. Over the course of the times, the suburbs of the city became a more popular shopping destination, and Oak Street began to decline. Its activity levels dwindled, while its historic buildings fell into disrepair.  

Beginning in the late 20th century, Americans nationwide began to reassess the value of their walkable urban neighborhoods. Like many formerly bustling corridors, this popular thoroughfare began to experience a trickle of reinvestment that gradually became a wave. Over the past 50 years, Oak Street has experienced an impressive revitalization. The street is now home to one of New Orleans’ finest collections of boutiques, bookstores, restaurants, music venues, coffee shops, and more. Most importantly, Oak Street is once again the center of a proud and vibrant neighborhood community! 

Popular New Orleans Oak Street Destinations 

New Orleans Oak Street inside Jacques-Imo's Cafe

Jacques-Imo’s Café 

Jacques Leonardi, who once worked in the great Chef Paul Prudhomme’s kitchen, opened Jacques-Imo’s Café in 1996. Since then, Jaques-Imo’s has become one of Uptown’s most popular places to eat. This beloved destination for Creole culinary classics is cleverly named in reference to the lyrics of the traditional New Orleans song “Iko! Iko!.”   

Maple Leaf Bar New Orleans 

The Maple Leaf Bar is one of New Orleans’ music venue institutions. This storied performance space, which looks like little more than a hole-in-the-wall from the street, has been hosting New Orleans musical legends for over 40 years. Ongoing weekly performers currently include bassist George Porter, Jr. of The Meters on Mondays, TBC Brass Band on Tuesdays, and drummer Johnny Vidacovich on Thursdays.    

The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival 

new orleans oak street

The po-boy sandwich is one of New Orleans’ most famous and enduringly popular culinary specialties. Oak Street business owners and residents host a neighborhood festival celebrating this iconic sandwich every November. Local vendors sell timeless po-boy classics like fried shrimp, fried oyster, and smoked sausage alongside exciting new twists on the po-boy formula. The Oak Street Po-Boy Festival is also a loving celebration of Oak Street’s history and present-day community.  

Experience Uptown with a New Orleans Garden District Tour 

Once you’ve enjoyed your time on Oak Street, a Garden District walking tour is the best way to learn more about Uptown’s culture and history. The Garden District is the oldest and most majestic part of Uptown. This historic neighborhood’s mansions were built by 19th century New Orleans’ most prominent business magnates. Each of them tells a unique story, and they represent some of the Crescent City’s finest architecture. Reserve your Garden District walking tour now with New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours and be amazed at the wonders that await! 

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours

New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours
French Quarter Tour  |  Garden District Tour  New Orleans Ghost Tour  |  New Orleans Cocktail Tour

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