*Editor’s Note: While there are no travel restrictions to New Orleans due to the Covid-19, out of an abundance of caution and consideration for staff, vendors, performers, and guests, the Irish Channel parade has decided to cancel. Please check the event website for details and updated information.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Coquette is the special occasion destination for Irish Channel residents, with a menu featuring local produce.
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.
*Editor’s Note: The Irish Channel Parade has been cancelled.*
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 Saturday, March 14, The Irish Channel Parade, the neighborhood’s biggest annual celebration, will begin at 1 p.m. That same day, Tracey’s and Parasol’s both throw all-day block parties where revelers can find refreshments, po-boys, and green beer.
Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club block party
This block party is happening from 1 p.m. – till on Tuesday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) at Annunciation Square. Irish music, food, and drinks will be available with proceeds benefiting St. Michael Special School.