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Mid-City is a neighborhood that has carved out its own unique identity. It is a generally local, middle-class neighborhood in that it contains fewer tourist destinations than other parts of the city. Restaurants and bars rely heavily on local clientele, giving the area a quirky local flavor. It is egalitarian, cheerful, a little more blue-collar, and a lot more diverse than its staid Uptown neighbor.

A subdistrict of the Mid-City District Area, Mid-City's boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: City Park Avenue, Toulouse Street, North Carrollton and Orleans Avenues, Bayou St. John and St. Louis Street to the north, North Broad Street to the east, and the Pontchartrain Expressway to the west. It is a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. Colloquially, a somewhat larger area surrounding these borders is often also referred to as part of Mid-City.

Mid-City is located, as the name indicates, in the middle of New Orleans on what was once the backslope of the Mississippi River's natural levee, a gradually declining section of the river's flood plain. As such, it was not settled as early as adjacent neighborhoods and was called the "backatown (back of town)," as the city ended at the swamp back then. The Esplanade Ridge and adjoining Metairie Ridge formed a natural spur from the river, but what is now Mid-City, surrounded by these higher-elevated sections, was part of the "backswamp" until development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Mid-City offers younger people looking to purchase historic homes a great value. Residences boasting original architectural features, including gas jets, cypress cabinetry and wide-plank wooden floors, can be purchased for a fraction of the price of similar Uptown properties.