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GoNOLA Neighborhood Guide: The Irish Channel

The Irish Channel (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Nestled between Uptown, the Garden District, and the Mississippi River, the Irish Channel is full of vibrant shotgun houses and cottages set close together on narrow lots. Residents’ proximity makes for a close-knit community where neighbors invite you to sip a beer on their porch, offer treats to passing dogs, or pull out your trash cans on trash day – simply out of kindness. You don’t want to miss spending some time in the Irish Channel while you’re in New Orleans, so we’ve created a guide to this ultimate locals’ neighborhood.

Photo: Ann Marshall Tilton

History of the Irish Channel

The construction of the New Canal Basin in the 1830s drew Irish workers to the New Orleans area. This waterway, connecting Lake Pontchartrain with Uptown New Orleans, required miles of swamp to be drained and cleared out. The work was dangerous and thousands died from yellow fever before the canal was completed. Those who survived made their new home in what was once the City of Lafayette, the area adjacent to the Garden District between Magazine Street and the Mississippi River. Today, locals fondly call it “the Irish Channel.”

Tracey’s is a laid-back pub nestled in the Irish Channel (Photo: Rebecca Ratliff)

Most of the Irish immigrants who stayed after the New Canal Basin construction took jobs in the nearby Port of New Orleans. Those who didn’t work at the port often worked at the breweries along Tchoupitoulas Street. Even today, this corridor is home to some of the city’s best craft breweries, such as Port Orleans, NOLA Brewing, and Urban South Brewery .

Though many Irish immigrants settled in the area, like much of New Orleans, the Irish Channel has always been a melting pot. Primarily a working class neighborhood, Italians, Germans, and freed African Americans all settled there and brought pieces of their heritage to the neighborhood.

Today, the Historic District Landmarks Commission defines the boundaries of the Irish Channel as Jackson Avenue to Delachaise Street, Magazine Street to Tchoupitoulas Street.

A delicious feast at Coquette (Photo: Ann Marshall Tilton)

Irish Channel Today

Today the Irish Channel is still a close-knit locals’ neighborhood, full of dive bars, neighborhood restaurants, breweries and shops mostly along Magazine Street. We’ve got a few recommendations to help you make the most of your visit to the neighborhood.

Coffee

Sip bold New Orleans coffee at French Truck, one of the city’s most popular local coffee roasters, or get funky with a strong cold brew and a rotating selection of donuts and other treats at District: Donuts.Sliders.Brew.

Brunch

Try some Eggs Louisianne or Duck Hash at Atchafalaya, then wash it all down with a visit to the Bloody Mary Bar. Or, check out Molly’s Rise n’ Shine, a BYOB brunch spot along Magazine Street serving fun twists on classic breakfast items.

A tasting flight at Miel Brewery (Photo: Greg Tilton, Jr.)

Lunch

If you love sandwiches, the Irish Channel has you covered with Stein’s, a New York-style deli featuring a great beer selection, and Turkey and the Wolf, serving everything from bologna sandwiches to craft cocktails.

Dinner

Coquette is the special occasion destination for Irish Channel residents, with a menu featuring local produce. Warbucks is a diner-inspired spot serving craft cocktails and eclectic dishes like the muffuletta hot dog.

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Magazine Street shopping (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Breweries

The Irish Channel has historically been home to New Orleans breweries. NOLA Brewing and Miel Brewery and Taproom are keeping up that tradition today.

Bars

Laid-back bars are the lifeblood of the Irish Channel with Parasol’s and Tracey’s at the epicenter. Bonus points if you venture over to Pete’s Out In The Cold.

Shopping

Magazine Street is full of boutiques and gift shops. We love Funky Monkey, a vintage and costume shop for all your Mardi Gras needs, DNO for New Orleans-inspired gifts, and Petcetera so Fido doesn’t feel left out.

St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)

St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations

Though the number of Irish immigrants has diminished over the years, the Irish Channel has not forgotten its roots. Every year, the neighborhood comes together for St. Patrick’s Day revelry.

Irish Channel Parade

Preceded by mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church at noon on March 16, The Irish Channel Parade, the neighborhood’s biggest annual celebration, will begin at 1 pm. That same day Tracey’s throws an all-day block party where revelers can find refreshments, po-boys and green beer. Tracey’s will also host a party on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.

Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club block party

This all-day block party is happening from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 14. Irish music, food, and drinks will be available with proceeds benefiting St. Michael Special School.

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