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In 1980 the New Orleans City Planning Commission divided the city into 13 planning districts and 72 distinct neighborhoods.

While most of these assigned boundaries match with traditional local designations, some others differ from common traditional use. This is a result of the City Planning Commission's wish to divide the city into sections for governmental planning and zoning purposes without crossing U.S. Census tract boundaries. While most of the listed names have been in common use by New Orleanians for generations, some designated names are rarely heard outside of the Planning Commission usage.

The French Quarter, also known as Vieux Carré, is the oldest and most famous neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. When New Orleans (La Nouvelle Orléans in French) was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, the city was originally centered on the French Quarter, or the Vieux Carré ("Old Square" in French) as it was known then. While the area is still referred to as the Vieux Carré by some, it is more commonly known as the French Quarter today, or simply "The Quarter." The district as a whole is a National Historic Landmark, and contains numerous individual historic buildings. It was affected relatively lightly by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as compared to other areas of the city and the region as a whole. The Quarter is subdistrict of the French Quarter/CBD Area.

The Central Business District is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the French Quarter/CBD Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Iberville, Decatur and Canal Streets to the north, the Mississippi River to the east, the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, Julia and Magazine Streets and the Pontchartrain Expressway to the south and South Claiborne Avenue, Cleveland and South and North Derbigny Streets to the west. It is the equivalent of what many cities call their "downtown", although in New Orleans "downtown" or "down town" was historically used to mean all portions of the city downriver from Canal Street in the direction of flow of the Mississippi River. In recent decades, however, use of the catch-all "downtown" adjective to describe neighborhoods downriver from Canal Street has largely ceased, having been replaced in usage by individual neighborhood names (e.g., Bywater). Originally developed as the largely residential Faubourg Ste. Marie (Eng. "Faubourg St. Mary") in the late-18th century, the modern Central Business District is today a dynamic, mixed-use neighborhood, home to professional offices housed within tall skyscrapers, specialty and neighborhood retail, numerous restaurants and clubs, and thousands of residents inhabiting restored historic commercial and industrial buildings.

Central City is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. It is located at the lower end of Uptown, just above the New Orleans Central Business District, on the "lakeside" of St. Charles Avenue. A subdistrict of the Central City/Garden District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: MLK Boulevard, South Claiborne Avenue and the Pontchartrain Expressway to the north, Magazine, Thalia, Prytania and Felicity Streets and St. Charles Avenue to the south and Toledano Street, Louisiana Avenue and Washington Avenue to the west. This old predominantly African American neighborhood has been important in the city's brass band and Mardi Gras Indian traditions.

Garden District is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Central City/Garden District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: St. Charles Avenue to the north, 1st Street to the east, Magazine Street to the south and Toledano Street to the west. The National Historic Landmark district extends a little further. The area was originally developed between 1832 to 1900. It may be one of the best preserved collection of historic southern mansions in the United States. The 19th century origins of the Garden District illustrate wealthy newcomers building opulent structures based upon the prosperity of New Orleans in that era. (National Trust, 2006)

Audubon is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Uptown/Carrolton Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: South Claiborne Avenue to the north, Jefferson Avenue to the east, the Mississippi River and Magazine Street to the south, and Lowerline Street to the west. The name Audubon comes from Audubon Park, one of the largest parks in the city, which is located in the southern portion of the district. The area is also known as the "University District," as it is also home of Tulane and Loyola Universities, as well as the former St. Mary’s Dominican College (now a satellite campus of Loyola), and Newcomb College (now part of Tulane). The section of the neighborhood upriver from Audubon Park incorporates what was the town of Greenville, Louisiana until it was annexed to New Orleans in the 19th century; locals still sometimes call that area "Greenville".

Black Pearl is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Uptown/Carrollton Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: South Carrollton Avenue and St. Charles Avenue to the north, Lowerline, Perrier and Broadway Streets to the east, and the Mississippi River to the west. The name "Black Pearl" was introduced in the 1970s, being derived from the historically majority Black population and the name of "Pearl Street". Most of the neighborhood is a section of what was the town of Carrollton, Louisiana in the 19th century; the designated neighborhood boundaries also include a portion downriver of Lowerline Street that was part of the town of Greenville. This later part includes "Uptown Square", a shopping mall complex more recently mostly converted to offices and residences. This area on high ground escaped the Hurricane Katrina flooding suffered by most of the city in 2005. However a tornado strike in the early morning hours of February 13, 2007 did significant damage. 

Broadmoor is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Uptown/Carrolton Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Eve Street to the north, Washington Avenue and Toledano Street to the east, South Claiborne Avenue to the south, and Jefferson Avenue, South Rocheblave Street, Nashville Avenue, and Octavia Street to the west. It includes the Broadmoor Historic District which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and increased in its boundaries in 2007. Broadmoor is low lying ground in New Orleans, and was only substantially developed beginning in the early 20th century after improved drainage was initiated. Before being developed, the area was a large marsh and was a fishing spot for Uptowners. Early construction were mostly high raised houses for fear of repeats of historic floods, but after decades with little problem more low lying residential structures were built in Broadmoor.

Leonidas (also known as West Carrollton) is a neighborhood designation in the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Uptown/Carrollton Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: South Claiborne Avenue, Leonidas and Fig Streets to the north, South Carrollton Avenue to the east, the Mississippi River and Jefferson Parish to the west. The designated neighborhood incorporates the upper-river half of what had been the town of Carrollton, Louisiana in the 19th century. It is commonly known to locals simply as "Carrollton, or to distinguish this section, "Upper Carrollton" or "West Carrollton". The portion closer to the river is often called the "Riverbend" or "Carrollton Riverbend." The section closer to the Jefferson Parish line is sometimes known as "Pigeon Town". Landmarks in the neighborhood include the Camellia Grill, Carrollton Streetcar Barn, Palmer Park, the Water Works, and the Oak Street commercial district including the well known Maple Leaf Bar.

Tremé (pronounced: IPA: [tɹəˈmeɪ], trə-MAY; historically sometimes called by its more formal French names of Faubourg Tremé or Tremé / Lafitte when including the Lafitte Projects) is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Mid-City District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are Esplanade Avenue to the north, North Rampart Street to the east, St. Louis Street to the south and North Broad Street to the west. It is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, and early in the city's history was the main neighborhood of free people of color. It remains an important center of the city's African-American and Créole culture, especially the modern brass band tradition. Parts of the Tremé neighborhood (particularly the area lakeside of Claiborne Avenue) have crime problems

Lakeshore/Lake Vista is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Lakeview District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Lake Pontchartrain to the north, Bayou St. John to the east, Robert E. Lee Boulevard to the south and Pontchartrain Boulevard and the New Basin Canal to the west. The neighborhood is composed of the Lakeshore and Lake Vista subdivisions, built on land reclaimed from Lake Pontchartrain. The Lakefront is a term sometimes used to name the larger neighborhood created by the Orleans Levee Board's land reclamation initiative in early 20th century New Orleans; it includes Lakeshore and Lake Vista, as well as Lakeshore Drive, the lakefront park system, the University of New Orleans, Lake Terrace and Lake Oaks.

West End (also referred to as West Lakeview) is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Lakeview District Area, its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Lake Pontchartrain to the north, the New Basin Canal and Pontchartrain Boulevard to the east, Robert E. Lee Boulevard to the south and the 17th Street Canal to the west. The area was largely built on land reclaimed from Lake Pontchartrain in the 1920s. It is a recreational and commercial seafood boating hub for the city and is known for its historic and renowned seafood restaurants. In recent years, the area has seen large condominium complex developments overlooking the lake, marinas and the centrally located 30 acre West End Park. he majority of the land and marinas located at West End are managed by the New Orleans Municipal Yacht Harbor Management Corporation, a public benefit corporation of the City of New Orleans, with much of it leased to private interests and individuals. The area is adjacent to the site of the levee breach on the 17th Street Canal during Hurricane Katrina which inundated and devastated all of West End. The heavy winds and storm surge also destroyed every restaurant and music club built out over the lake. Because West End was developed above sea level, it only flooded due to the storm surge coming in from the lake. After it rapidly receded, the area became a staging area for the US Coast Guard and the Louisiana National Guard conducting rescues of stranded residents.

Bywater is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. A subdistrict of the Bywater District Area, its 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 Bywater Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. During Mardi Gras the Society of Saint Anne marching krewe starts their procession on Mardi Gras morning in Bywater and gathers marchers as it travels through the French Quarter and ends at Canal Street. This walking parade of local residents, artists, and performers is preceded by the Bywater Bone Boys Social Aid and Pleasure Club (founded 2005), an early-rising skeleton krewe made up of writers, tattoo artists, painters, set designers, musicians, and numerous other pre-7 a.m. revelers. After Hurricane Katrina, many survivors flocked to the area as it was less affected by the storm, due to the slightly higher elevation closer to the Mississippi river. Bywater became part of what was known as "the sliver by the river", meaning neighborhoods that saw no flooding, including Faubourg Marigny, the French Quarter, Irish Channel Area, and parts of the lower Garden District including St. Charles Avenue.

Musicians' Village  is a new neighborhood built around a music center where musicians can teach and perform. Musicians Harry Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis teamed up with Habitat for Humanity International and New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity to create the village for New Orleans musicians who lost their homes to Hurricane Katrina. Per February 2007, the Musicians' Village is "the largest-scale, highest-profile, and biggest-budget rebuilding project to have gotten underway in New Orleans post-Katrina."

Lower Ninth Ward is a neighborhood of the city of New Orleans. As the name implies, it is part of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. The Lower Ninth Ward is often thought of as the entire area within New Orleans downriver of the Industrial Canal; however, the City Planning Commission divides this area into the Lower Ninth Ward and Holy Cross neighborhoods. The term "Lower" refers to its location farther towards the mouth of the Mississippi River, "down" or "below" the rest of the city in local geographic terminology. But the 9th Ward, like all Wards in New Orleans, is a voting district. The 9th Ward was added as a voting district in 1852. The "lower" 9th Ward is composed of Ward 9 Districts 1, 2, 4, and 7 which make up the Holy Cross Area and Ward 9 Districts 3, 5, 6, and 8. Higher voting district numbers in the 9th Ward (8-27) are on the upriver side of the Industrial Canal. The area came to national attention for its devastation in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

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