Holy Cross is nestled between the Bywater and Arabi on the river side of St. Claude Avenue, which is why we’re often referred to as the sliver by the river. View a map of the neighborhood.
What is now Holy Cross originated as plantations in the early 1800s, with sugar as the main crop. Truck gardening was a source of employment for many in the area, and products were sold to the restaurants in the French Quarter and at the French Market. After the early part of the 19th century, the population grew quickly, and shops, churches and small businesses began to pop up in the area.
In 1859, the Brothers of the Holy Cross purchased the Reynes plantation and founded educational programs for boys, which eventually led to Holy Cross School, for which the neighborhood is named.
The late 1800s brought an influx of poor African Americans and laborers from Germany, Ireland and Italy. Several African American benevolent associations and mutual-aid societies arose in the 1870s to assist the many families who were struggling.
The two Doullut Steamboat Houses were built in the early 1900s and were designated historic landmarks in 1977.
In 1912 the levee along the river was built and in 1923, the Industrial Canal was built to provide passage from the Mississippi to Lake Pontchartrain.
Holy Cross was listed on the National Register in 1986 and was named a Local Historic District in 1990.
As most people are aware, Hurricane Katrina had a devastating effect on the Lower Ninth Ward, and the area has struggled to recover. As families return and new residents discover Holy Cross as an affordable city neighborhood with a suburban feel, we are forming a stronger community, and we look forward to realizing our potential.
We are a friendly, diverse neighborhood that is proud of our New Orleans culture. Holy Cross has been home to artists, Mardi Gras Indians and well known musicians such as George “Kid Shiek” Colar of the Olympia Brass Band and Freddie Lonzo of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Deslondes. Don’t be surprised if you come across the next Trombone Shorty practicing along the levee.
Who Lived Here?
Learn more about the properties in the blocks near the Canal from this document prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers. The document lists the addresses of existing homes, who lived there and their occupations around the turn of the 20th century starting on page 151.