The Central Business District

1. Main Page ◄ 2. City Geography ◄ 3. The Central Business District
“The American Quarter—or the Central Business District, as the kine have long since renamed it—is my domain, but I do not consider it my home. It is true the district has many museums, art galleries, and civics centers. It is not bereft of culture as some of its most ardent critics would claim. Yet I find it little different from the financial districts of other American cities. I can watch the St. Charles Streetcar roll down Canal Street on a balmy summer night as palm trees sway against the breeze, and some part of my mind cannot do aught but contemplate that streetcar’s terminus in the Vieux Carré—or its previous stop in the Garden District. The American Quarter shall always be a waypoint to me; an acquaintance whose familiarity is only owed to a mutual association with older and dearer friends.”
“But perhaps these are simply the prejudices of one who is old and set in his ways. I have never grown entirely accustomed to the presence of Americans in our city.”
Philip Maldonato, regent of the Central Business District

NewOrleansAtNight-IMG_9461.JPG

Overview

The Central Business District (the CBD) is New Orleans’ commercial sector, financial district, and downtown hub. It’s the only part of New Orleans where one can find skyscrapers (the soil elsewhere is too soft to support such heavy buildings) and many visitors describe it as feeling identical to the downtowns of other major cities.

The CBD was established after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Once the Americans took over officially, city planners aimed to create an American commercial sector, and this district (along with its sub-district, the Arts District, also known as the Warehouse District) is the result of those efforts. A host of merchants, bankers and manufacturers moved into the city, and in short order their entrepreneurialism transformed the area into a bustling port. In its earlier incarnation as the Faubourg St. Mary, the “American Quarter” eventually become the city’s nexus of commerce and attracted a network of banks, government buildings, private offices and warehouses, all centered around the central locus of Lafayette Square. In those days, Canal Street was the dividing line between the American and French parts of the city, and it still marks the boundary between Downtown and Uptown.

Officially, the CBD is the territory east of Claiborne Avenue to the river, bordered by Canal Street to the north, and the Ponchartrain Expressway to the south. Toward the lake is a host of modern buildings, built on an old African-American neighborhood called “Back o’ Town.” (This was the location of Black Storyville, an extension of the seamiest red-light district of the day.) Tonight, the CBD is the site of several important structures, including City Hall and the Louisiana Superdome, host to several Super Bowls.

Kindred Residents

Prince Vidal was eminently pleased to welcome American entrepreneurs and the wealth they brought to his city in 1803. The “American Quarter” was brand new and uninhabited by any of the city’s extant vampires and Vidal spared little expense in bringing those elements he found desirable to the fore in this, “his” district. He spared an equally small amount of expense in the crushing of those intrusions he would not tolerate. Over time, the prince and his mortal cohorts (both known and unknown) pushed, bought and bulldozed their vision of a bustling downtown into reality. Eventually, the CBD supplanted the French Quarter as New Orleans’ commercial hub.

As important as it is, the entire CBD couldn’t possibly be the personal domain of a single vampire, but Vidal’s grip on the district certainly comes close. He allows all Kindred to move through it freely, and even grants them feeding rights within a few blocks (locally nicknamed “Storyville”), but is otherwise stingy with how and when other vampires interact with the area.

The Regent

Pic.jpeg Augusto Vidal
Lineage: 6th gen. childe of Urcalida, e. many centuries ago
Status: Camarilla ••••• •, Hardline Sanctified •••••, Ventrue ••••• •
Vidal’s many interests in the CBD make him the area’s co-regent by de facto, more or less, although he typically delegates the task of dealing with other Kindred in the area to Maldonato. The prince has many economic holdings in the CBD, and contrary to popular belief, he also has a haven here—inside an office building on Loyola known as Perdido House that serves as the center of his rule. The CBD’s “Americanized” character is not to Vidal’s liking, though, and he makes his permanent haven elsewhere in the Garden District.

Pic.jpeg Philip Maldonato
Lineage: 7th gen. childe of Shu’ayb al-Mohager, e. many centuries ago
Status: Camarilla •••••, Hardline Sanctified ••••, Lasombra ••••
Maldonato serves as the CBD’s regent for night-to-night matters, such as allocating domain and feeding rights to other Kindred. Maldonato also has a variety of mortal and economic interests in the CBD and spends a great deal of there. Like he prince, however, he prefers to make his haven in the Lower Garden District’s more staid environs.

Other Kindred

In addition to the Kindred below, several further vampires hold domain and feeding rights in the parish. The proliferation of bars and after-evening establishments makes for good hunting.

Anthony_Brodowski.jpg Anthony Brodowski
Lineage: 10th gen. childe of Marcel Guilbeau, e. early 21st century
Status: Camarilla •, Invictus •, Ventrue

Caroline_Malveaux.jpg Caroline Malveaux-Devillers
Lineage: 7th gen. childe of Augusto Vidal, e. early 21st century
Status: Camarilla •, Hardline Sanctified •, Ventrue

Christopher_Guilbeau.jpg Christopher Guilbeau
Lineage: 10th gen. childe of Marcel Guilbeau, e. early 21st century
Status: Anarch ••, Camarilla 0, Ventrue 0

Pic.jpg Conroy Westphal
Lineage: 9th gen. childe of Suleiman ibn Abdelmalek, e. early 21st century
Status: Camarilla 0, Invictus 0, Lasombra ••

Pic.jpeg Marcel Guilbeau
Lineage: 9th gen. childe of Jereaux Guilbeau, e. mid 19th century
Status: Camarilla •••, Invictus •••, Ventrue •••

Pic.jpeg Marguerite Defallier
Lineage: 8th gen. childe of Accou Poincaré, e. late 19th century
Status: Camarilla •••, Invictus •••, Toreador

Sheila.jpg Sheila Packard
Lineage: 11th gen. childe of Robert Landau, e. early 21st century
Status: Camarilla 0, Invictus •, Ventrue 0

Locations

cityhall.jpg City Hall (Elysium)

(1300 Perdido St.)
This 11-story international style low-rise serves as New Orleans’ city hall. The building houses a labyrinth of offices that run the mammoth bureaucracy for the combined city-parish government of Orleans Parish and the city of New Orleans. The building was built between 1956 and 1957 at a cost of $13.5 million and is a modernist structure made of steel, glass, and limestone. It has a green-tinted glass facade and a distinctive crown top. The building is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM, but back room dealings involving the notoriously corrupt public officials can happen late into the night.

WTC1.jpg Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences New Orleans

(2 Canal Street)
Historic 34-story tower that was originally built as the World Trade Center in 1968 and the tallest building in the city until 1972. For decades, the building served the headquarters for the World Trade Organization in New Orleans and housed numerous foreign consulates, as well as the headquarters for the Port of New Orleans. The World Trade Center closed in June 2011 and the building was purchased by the city of New Orleans.
In 2014, 2 Canal Street was renovated and reopened as the Four Seasons Hotel. The luxury hotel has 341 rooms and suites, with numerous amenities including two restaurants (one fine dining, one casual), a bar and lounge, spa, fitness center, rooftop pool, and business center. The hotel is also home to a number of private residences, which offer residents access to all of the hotel’s amenities, as well as their own private amenities, such as a private pool and fitness center. The penthouse unit was sold for just under $13 million to an anonymous buyer.

CBD11Oct07GallierHallFront.jpg Gallier Hall (Elysium)

(545 St. Charles Ave.)
Gallier Hall is the former New Orleans city hall and continues in civic use. Built in 1845–1853, it is a nationally significant example of Greek Revival architecture, and one of the finest works of architect James Gallier. Gallier Hall served as the New Orleans city hall for over 100 years, from 1853 to 1959, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1974. The building has also been used for a variety of other purposes, including a courthouse, a post office, and a museum. Today, Gallier Hall is a popular venue for weddings, corporate events, and other special civic occasions, including mayoral inaugurations. The building is also open to the public for tours. The remains of particularly distinguished citizens sometimes lie in state here following their death, as a sign of deep citywide respect.

building2.jpg The Giani Building

(600 Canal St.)
Originally designed by New Orleans native architects Thomas Sully and Theodore Toledano, and built in 1889, the Giani Building was a staple of the Central Business Distinct for many years, the first high rise built along Canal St and a major center of business. Eventually, as the building (or rather buildings, for originally it was three separate structures) aged they fell out of use, and by the time Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005 it was largely abandoned, deemed too expensive and impractical with its ancient design, wiring, and other impediments. While the hurricane did no favors with the exodus it prompted from the Crescent City, the subsequent renewal brought about by the rebuilding of New Orleans eventually gave birth to plans—and funding—needed to renovate the Giani Building into something new: a combination first floor retail development and high class apartment building downtown, within walking distance to the French Quarter (a meager block away) and with amenities such as an upper deck lounge, pool, and deck. Renovation began in 2014 and finished in mid 2015.
Today the Giani Building is as much a symbol of the New Orleans that was as the New Orleans that is: a renewal of the past and a step into the future. The building boasts more than forty apartments across six floors (the first floor is exclusively retail, management, and the lobby) and caters to wealthy up-and-coming professionals that lack families (most of the units are one bedrooms) and enjoy the proximity to many of the signs and sounds of the city’s major attractions. Much of the interior was gutted during the renovation, with new wiring, piping, and ventilation installed throughout as part of a massive (and expensive) project in part funded by ‘historical preservation’ funds designed to preserve the look and feel of the city as a whole. Sharing a street corner with three major hotels, the Giani Building, once a ‘high rise’ and beacon of development, is today dwarfed by it neighbors. Despite that, it brings something that its towering peers cannot match: history and authenticity, complete with its old second story wrap around balcony for festival times. It has also, if tales are to be believed, fallen heavily under the influence of a darker force of late that brings a gravitas all her own to the luxury property.

Harrahs-Casino-Nova-Orleans-vxla-flickr.jpg Harrah’s New Orleans

(228 Poydras St.)
Harrah’s New Orleans is a casino hotel and the largest casino in the city with over 1,500 slot machines and 130 table games. The building also offers a variety of other amenities, including a spa, fitness center, outdoor pool, several restaurants, shopping stalls, and a bowling alley, making it a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. The casino offers a variety of gaming options, from slots to table games to poker. Harrah’s also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, sporting events, and trade shows. The hotel features over 450 well-appointed rooms and suites with sweeping views of the city skyline and Mississippi River. Less spoken of are the criminal elements that lurk in the casino’s back rooms, skimming off its profits and keeping things “running smoothly”.

Le_Pavillon_2.jpg Le Pavillon New Orleans

(833 Poydras St.)
Le Pavillon is a historic hotel, originally built in 1907, notable for its baroque Old World decor paired with modern amenities. The hotel was renovated and reopened in 2018. Its 209 rooms feature high ceilings, marble bathrooms, and plush bedding. Many rooms also offer views of the Mississippi River. Amenities include a restaurant and bar, spa, fitness center, rooftop pool, and business center. The hotel is also home to a number of event spaces, which can be used for weddings, meetings, and other special events. The building is adjacent to the exclusive whiskey bar Clemens’.

10166948-essay.jpg Louisiana Superdome

(1500 Sugar Bowl Dr.)
Mlti-purpose stadium and home stadium of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. It is the largest fixed domed structure in the world, with a diameter of 680 feet (207 m). It has a seating capacity of 76,455 for football games and concerts, and up to 87,500 for basketball games.
The Superdome was built in the early 1970s and opened in 1975 at a cost of $163 million. The Superdome was one of the first stadiums to be built with a fixed dome, and it was considered to be a marvel of engineering at the time.
The Superdome has been the site of a number of major sporting events, including seven Super Bowls, five NCAA championships in men’s college basketball, and the Sugar Bowl every year since 1975. The Superdome has also been the site of a number of concerts and other events, including the Rolling Stones’ 1981 concert, which was attended by over 80,000 people.
In 2005, the Superdome garnered international attention when it was used as a shelter of last resort for displaced refugees unable to leave the city during Hurricane Katrina. Squalid conditions proved notoriously inadequate for the thousands of refugees and there were widespread reports of rapes, robberies, and several killings.
The stadium was severely damaged by the hurricane, but it was repaired and reopened in 2006. Today, the stadium is a popular tourist destination and vital part of the city’s economy.

civic-nola.jpg New Orleans Civic Theater (Elysium)

(510 O’Keefe Ave.)
Historic performing arts venue. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious theaters in the city, and has hosted a wide range of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, dance recitals, and comedy shows.
The theater was originally built in 1906 as the Shubert Theatre. The theater was a popular destination for vaudeville and burlesque performances in the early 20th century. In the 1930s, the theater began to show movies, and became one of the most popular movie theaters in New Orleans.
The theater fell into disrepair in the 1970s and 1980s, but was renovated and reopened in 2011 as the New Orleans Civic Theatre. The renovation preserved the theater’s historic character, while also adding state-of-the-art amenities such as a new stage, lighting system, and sound system, as well as 1,200-seat capacity.
Today, the New Orleans Civic Theatre is a thriving performing arts venue. The theater hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including Broadway shows, concerts, dance recitals, and comedy shows. The theater is also a popular venue for weddings and corporate events.

a98851b6-ceef-4311-b949-8672716372eb.jpg New Orleans Public Library

(219 Loyola Ave.)
Main branch of the New Orleans Public Library system and popular destination for residents and visitors to the city. The building was built in 1958 and has a collection of over 2 million items. The library offers a wide range of resources and services, including books, magazines, newspapers, movies, music, and computers. The library also hosts a variety of events and programs throughout the year, including storytime for children, book clubs for adults, and computer classes.

Orpheum.jpg Orpheum Theater (Elysium)

(129 Roosevelt Way.)
The Orpheum Theater is a historic performing arts venue located in the heart of the Central Business District. The theater was originally built in 1921 as part of the Orpheum Circuit, a chain of vaudeville theaters across the United States.
The Orpheum Theater was designed by G. Albert Lansburgh, a New York architect who was known for his use of terra cotta and other decorative elements in his designs. The theater’s facade is a striking example of the Art Deco style, with its polychrome terra cotta panels and geometric shapes.
The Orpheum Theater was a popular destination for vaudeville performers and audiences alike. The theater’s stage was one of the largest in the country, and it was equipped with state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems. The theater also had a luxurious interior, with plush seats and ornate chandeliers.
In the 1930s, the Orpheum Theater began to show movies, and it became one of the most popular movie theaters in New Orleans. The theater also continued to host live performances, including concerts, plays, and comedy shows.
In the 1970s, the Orpheum Theater began to decline, and it closed its doors in 1978. The theater remained vacant for over two decades, and it fell into disrepair. However, in the early 2000s, the theater was renovated and reopened.
Today, the Orpheum Theater is a thriving performing arts venue. The theater hosts a variety of events, including concerts, plays, comedy shows, and dance performances. The theater is also a popular venue for weddings and corporate events.

Perdido_House.jpg Perdido House

(601 Loyola Ave.)
Perdido House’s name is a minor misnomer, for the building is truly no house, but a 40-story office building in the middle of the downtown core. Perdido House is one of the tallest structures in New Orleans with a glass and steel facade. Fascist-inspired architecture lends the building a brutal and imposing appearance.
Perdido House is home to a variety of businesses, including offices, retail space, restaurants, and apartments and condominiums. The building is also a popular venue for corporate gatherings. The ballroom and conference rooms can accommodate a variety of group sizes, and the building’s staff is experienced in planning and executing successful events. The roof includes a helipad. Since 2016, the building has served as the headquarters for the law firm Monument Law. The city’s mayor, Martin Borges, is a regular visitor to Perdido House and thought to have financial ties to businesses there.
Full article: Perdido House.

Piazza_d_Italia.jpg Piazza d’Italia

(377 Poydras St.)
Piazza d’Italia is a public plaza located behind the American Italian Cultural Center. It is controlled by the New Orleans Building Corporation, a public benefit corporation wholly owned by the City of New Orleans. The plaza debuted in 1978 to widespread acclaim on the part of artists and architects.
The Piazza d’Italia is a modern interpretation of a traditional Italian piazza, with a variety of features that evoke the Italian landscape and culture. The centerpiece of the piazza is a large fountain in the shape of a map of Italy, with cascading water that represents the country’s rivers. The piazza also features a number of other water features, including a canal and a waterfall.
The Piazza d’Italia is also home to a variety of sculptures and other works of art. One of the most notable sculptures is the “Three Graces,” a bronze sculpture by artist Niki de Saint Phalle. The sculpture depicts three nude women dancing in a circle, and it is a popular spot for visitors to take photos.
The paza is a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike. Visitors can enjoy the piazza’s unique architecture and atmosphere, as well as its variety of restaurants and shops. The piazza is also a popular venue for events such as concerts, festivals, and weddings.

Plaza_Tower.jpg Plaza Tower

(1001 Howard Ave.)
The building was completed in 1969 and originally intended to be a mixed-use skyscraper with both residential and office space. However, due to financial difficulties, the building was only partially completed when it opened, and the office space was never built.
The Plaza Tower was the tallest building in New Orleans for four years, until the completion of One Endron Square (now Whitney Hancock Center) in 1972.
Plaza Tower was originally marketed as a luxury residential building, but it quickly fell into disrepair. The building was plagued by problems such as mold, asbestos, and poor maintenance. In 2002, the building was closed due to safety concerns.
The Plaza Tower has been abandoned for over 20 years, and it has become a symbol of urban decay in New Orleans. However, there have been recent efforts to redevelop the building. In 2020, the building was sold to a new owner who planned to renovate it and convert it into a mixed-use building with apartments, offices, and retail space. It is hoped that the building’s redevelopment will help to revitalize the Central Business District and bring new residents and businesses to the area.

Roosevelt_New_Orleans.jpg The Roosevelt New Orleans

(130 Roosevelt Way.)
The Roosevelt New Orleans is a historic luxury hotel and one of the most iconic hotels in the city. It was built in 1893 and originally named the Hotel Grunewald. It was renamed the Roosevelt Hotel in 1923 in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt. Today, the hotel is a member of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, and it offers guests a variety of luxury amenities, including 504 rooms and suites, a rooftop pool and sundeck with stunning views, a spa, and variety of bars and restaurants. Its Sazerac Bar is known for its plush banquettes, elegant old world vibe, and signature Sazerac cocktail. The hotel is also a popular venue for weddings and other special events.

Tulane_University_Medical_Center__3629702117_.jpg Tulane Medical Center

(1415 Tulane Ave.)
Tulane Medical Center is a 447-bed academic medical center. It is part of LCMC Health, a local healthcare system with hospitals, clinics, and practices across the New Orleans area. The hospital is affiliated with the Tulane University School of Medicine and is one of the leading teaching hospitals in the country.
Tulane Medical Center opened in 1834 as a small medical college with only seven doctors, all of whom shared the vision of ridding the South of the “peculiar diseases which prevail in this part of the Union”. Yellow fever and malaria bred TMC out of necessity, and the hospital was founded as the 15th teaching hospital in the United States. The school was brought into Tulane University’s fold 40 years later and remains so to this day. The medical center is a major contributor to the city’s economy, with over 2,000 employees and over 100,000 patients served each year.

Univ_hospital.jpg University Medical Center

(2000 Canal St.)
University Medical Center New Orleans (UMC) is a 446-bed non-profit, public, research and academic hospital providing tertiary care for the southern Louisiana region and beyond. It is the flagship hospital of the Louisiana State University Health System. It is a Level I trauma center and one of the busiest trauma centers in the country. The hospital also has a number of other specialized centers and is the primary teaching hospital for the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans. The $1.1 billion hospital opened on August 1, 2015, as a replacement for Charity Hospital (which was closed by Hurricane Katrina) and University Hospital. Today it employees over 2,700 employees and serves over 100,000 patients each year.

One_Shell_Square.jpg Whitney Hancock Center

(701 Poydras St.)
Whitney Hancock Center is a 51-story, 697-foot skyscraper, and the tallest building in both the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. It is also taller than Louisiana’s tallest peak, Driskill Mountain. The building is primarily used for leasable office space, with some retail space on the ground level.
The building was completed in 1972 and originally named One Endron Square after Endron International, a multinational oil company that was the building’s largest tenant at the time of its completion.
In 2016, Whitney Hancock Bank announced that it would be relocating its headquarters to One Shell Square in 2017. The bank completed its relocation in 2018, and the building was renamed the Whitney Hancock Center.
Today, the building is a prominent landmark in the New Orleans skyline and a major contributor to the city’s economy. The building is home to a variety of businesses, including law firms, accounting firms, and financial services companies. Amenities include a fitness center, conference center, and food court. The building is also a popular destination for tourists, who can enjoy stunning views of the city from the building’s observation deck. Its basement is home to the Corner Club.

16452102325_d07538041a_b.jpg Whitney Hancock National Bank

(3311 Canal St.)
Former headquarters of Hancock Whitney Bank (formerly Whitney Bank). Founded in 1883, Whitney Hancock is the oldest continuously operating bank in Louisiana and a major player in the Gulf South banking industry. Whitney branches are distinguished by a characteristic clock, sometimes known as a “Whitney clock”. The distinctive clock is used by the Bank as their symbol. The bank has relocated its headquarters several times, with the most recent move being to 701 Poydras St. in 2018. The 3311 Canal Street location continues to serve as a bank branch on its lower floors. The upper floors are home to apartments and condominiums.

Windsor-Court-Hotel-Exterior.jpg The Windsor Court

(300 Gravier St.)
Once a beacon of old New Orleans wealth and charm, the Windsor Court Hotel played host to royalty, ambassadors, and heads of state (including a U.S. presidential visit in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina). Large and opulently furnished rooms with a distinct French-inspired Creole feel in the heart of the Central Business District, only a few blocks from the French Quarter.
The hotel fell on hard times in the fall of 2015 and was rocked by a number of scandals (including allegations by a woman who claimed to have been sexually assaulted on the premises). Several of its employees went missing, including its former head of security. The departure of its owner and long-time night manager, socialite and philanthropist Wayne Thompson, caused the hotel to lose much of its prestige. Absent his presence, the area’s competitive real estate market and the hotel’s relatively small footprint next to industry giants led many to fear the Windsor Court Hotel was not long for this world.
Those fears proved well-founded. In late 2015, the building was extensively damaged by arson at the hands of a family member to the assault victim. Repairs were deemed too costly to be worthwhile in the aftermath of the hotel’s declining prestige, and the building was subsequently demolished. Its former land currently sits vacant, but that is not likely to be for long given the still-excellent location.


Poydras_Street_at_Night_New_Orleans1.jpg

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The Central Business District

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