Nestled into the curve of the Mississippi as it winds its way downriver from the French Quarter and the Marigny, the Bywater is a relaxed neighborhood of shotgun houses and Creole cottages, and is home to the most thriving bohemian art scene in the city. Although the area endured moderate Katrina flooding, this vibrant, creative and eclectic place has barely missed a beat in digging out and transforming its trash into treasure. Here, corner groceries and neighborhood bars coexist with artists' studios and late-night cafes in a way that truly says New Orleans: funky, cutting-edge, and embracing and fiercely protective of its own unique energy. Whether you're looking for a home with lacy woodwork and heart-of-pine floors or a gallery selling fine jewelry and outsider art, Bywater has it all in a way that will charm, delight and astonish you.
A subdistrict of the Bywater District Area, Bywater's boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Florida Avenue to the north, the Industrial Canal to the east, the Mississippi River to the south and Franklin Avenue, St. Claude Avenue, Clouet, Burgundy, Lesseps, North Galvez and Mazant Streets to the west. Bywater is part of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, but is located along the natural levee of the Mississippi River, sparing the area from significant flooding. It includes part or all of the Bywater Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
During Mardi Gras, the Society of Saint Anne's marching krewe starts their procession on Mardi Gras morning in Bywater, gathering marchers as it travels through the French Quarter, and ending at Canal Street. This walking parade of local residents, artists, and performers is preceded by the Bywater Bone Boys Social Aid and Pleasure Club, an early-rising skeleton krewe made up of writers, tattoo artists, painters, set designers, musicians, and numerous other pre-7 a.m. revelers.
The area is home to young professionals, musicians, painters and photographers who find inspiration in its closely packed houses and unexpected gardens. Bywater isn't just an area where history is preserved: it's an area where the 19th and 20th centuries live in cheerful cross-pollination with the 21st, and tomorrow's creations are nurtured in the warm glow of an intact and colorful past.