Algiers Point Walking Tours and Things to Do
If you are looking for an off the beaten track idea for your visit to New Orleans, then consider taking a self-guided Algiers Point Walking Tour. Algiers Point, the only part of the city located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, is the 2nd oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. It originally was a separate entity but was annexed to the city in 1870. It stands out for its more bohemian vibe. New Orleans Online dubbed it New Orleans’ Brooklyn without the bustle.
Below is our self-guided walking tour of Algiers Point. Be sure to check out our full selection of self guided New Orleans tours.
How to get to Algiers Point
To visit Algiers Point, which is only 1/4 mile across the Mississippi River, you can drive across the Crescent City Connection, a bridge just downstream from the French Quarter, but we highly recommend taking the free Canal Street Ferry from the food of Canal Street. The ferry is free for pedestrians and $1 for cars that make the return trip back to Old New Orleans. Be sure to check the schedule before riding, but generally, the ferry runs every 30 mintues on the hour and 30 past the hour from 7:30 am – 8 pm Mondays through Fridays and from 10:45 am till 6 pm on weekends. Riding the ferry to Algiers Point is a great way to gain a different visual perspective on the city.
Old Point Bar – While you are in Algiers, be sure to stop in at this great place for some drink and live music.
Self-Guided Tour of Algiers Point
Algiers was founded on the West Bank of the Mississippi River in 1719; a year after New Orleans was founded. Initially, this area was called Kings Plantation and it was where enslaved Africans were held after their arrival into the region, before they were ferried to New Orleans. When the Spanish gained control of Algiers, they sold off much of the property to private owners, and plantations sprung up. After the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Algiers gained a more diverse population, including Americans, Germans, Irish, and Italians.
Industry in this neighborhood included shipbuilding, lumber, wax, sugar, coal depots, and stockyards. In the 1850s Algiers became a major hub in the railroad industry, where freight and passengers were moved across the Mississippi River on barges.
In 1895 a great fire destroyed about 200 homes, including the Duverje Plantation house which had been used as the Court house. Algiers Point is a neighborhood of New Orleans, although it is on the West Bank of the Mississippi River. It is the 15th Ward.
Stop 1 – Algiers Ferry
Since 1827 the Algiers Ferry has been a city run means of Public Transportation. The Louisiana Legislature awarded August Coycault and Barthelemy Gosselin a contract to operate a steam ferry from the foot of Patterson Street on the west bank to Jackson Square on the east bank. Two other lines were added brining passengers from de la Ronde Street in Algiers to St. Louis Street in the French Quarter and from Verret St. to Esplanade Ave. The cost of the ferry is $1 each way.
Upriver, there was also a ferry that connected Walnut Street (above Audubon Park) to Westwego.
In 1952, the Greater New Orleans Bridge opened spanning the River which created a drop in need for so many ferries heading across the river. Today there are two ferries which leave from the Canal Street dock. These ferries are the 4th busiest ferries in the United States. Fares for the ferry are $2 per person each way.
Stop 2 – Algiers Courthouse, Morgan Street
The impressive building you see before you was built in 1896 to replace the Duverje Plantation house that had served as the court and had burned down the year before. This building was designed by Linus Brown and Alonzo Bell in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. This building is the 3rd oldest continuously used courthouse in the State of Louisiana. Services include small claims court, access to property ownership information, voter registration and absentee balloting, marriage licenses and weddings, and more.
Stop 3 – Canal Commercial Trust and Savings Bank, 501 Patterson Drive.
The Canal Commercial Trust and Savings Bank was built in 1907, and designed by prominent New Orleans architect Emile Weil, who also designed many theaters, churches and banks from Texarkana to Pensacola in the early 1900s. This building has features of the neoclassical style that was popular in that time.
A merger between Canal Bank (1831) and Citizens Bank of Louisiana (1833) created the Canal Commercial Trust and Savings bank in 1924. Canal Commercial bank failed in 1933, and its assets became part of National Bank of Commerce in New Orleans – also known as First NBC.
Stop 4 – Seger/Rees House, 405-407 Delaronde St.
This magnificent two family home was built in 1850 for Augustin Seger and Thomas Rees, who made their living as in the transportation industry on sea and by rail. The home is known as a double gallery house, named for the two front porches. The style of this home is Greek Revival.
The Live oak on the side of the home is estimated to be 200 years old.
Stop 5 – Gulf Gas Station, 446 Pelican Ave.
From its beginning in 1929 until its closure in 1990, the Gulf Gas station was the longest continually operated gas station in the South. This building later became the Gulf Pizza restaurant which is now closed.
Stop 6 – Mount Olivet Episcopal Church, 530 Pelican Ave.
The parish of The Mount Olivet Episcopal Church was founded in 1846. The building before you is the second church on this site as the first was completely destroyed by fire in 1866. With its wooden features such as the pointed arch windows this church is built in the Carpenter Gothic Revival style. The plaque dating the church as 1854 is not for this current building.
Stop 7 – Vallette House, 705 Pelican Ave.
This two story center hall dwelling was built in 1848 for Francois Vallette. Francois Vallette had been born in Belle Chase in Plaquemines Parish and moved to Algiers where he became very successful with the Vallette Drydock Company.
During the Civil war, Vallette feared that the Union Army would commandeer his shipyards so he dynamited them, sacrificing his business to prevent helping the enemy.
Later, the Barrett family operated a funeral parlor out of this building.
Stop 8 – Algiers Point Branch Library (also known as the Hubbell Branch) 725 Pelican Avenue.
According to their website, this library is the oldest public library in New Orleans opening on December 28th 1907. Andrew Carnegie donated money to open five libraries in New Orleans of which only two are still open – the Algiers point branch and the Napoleon Avenue library located in the neighborhood of Uptown.
This branch library was closed in 1966 when a newer Algiers library was built 4 miles away. Cita Dennis Hubbell organized a group of volunteers who fought to get the Italianate structure reopened to service the community. Their hard work was rewarded as the library reopened in 1975 with over 20,000 books! After her death in 2001, the library was named the Cita Dennis Hubbell Branch Library.
This incredibly preserved Art Deco style theater was built in 1940. In 1993, this building was bought by Mark Rosenbaum, who had been awarded a grant by the Louisiana Division of the Arts to establish the first privately owned glassblowing studio in the state of LA.
Stop 10 – Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 620 Eliza Street.
In June 1875, it was decided that a new Lutheran Congregation was needed in in the Algiers neighborhood. The first service was held in a hotel belonging to John Hughes. A church was built in the amazingly short time of 10 weeks and the congregation moved into it. This present church was built in 1911, right next door to the older building to provide a larger house of worship for the growing German population. The building has Gothic Revival details and incredible art glass windows.
Stop 11 – Holy Name of Mary Church, 400 Verret Street
This parish was originally established in 1848 in much smaller building on Morgan Street. A growing parish drove a need to make a bigger church so this building was built in 1929. This brick Gothic style building has over 75 stained glass windows, many that were created in Munich Germany.
This site had once been a Civil War prison camp.
Stop 12 – Philip Foto’s Folly Theater, 501 Opelousas Avenue
Philip Foto’s Folly Theater was opened in 1915 and entertained residents with concerts, vaudeville acts, and silent films. This theater was frequented by Emmet Hardy and “Papa” Jack Laine’s Reliance Band. By 1920 the theater was upgraded from hold 2000 people instead of its previous 900. This building was later called The Metropolitan Tabernacle and was occupied by the First Baptist Church of Algiers. Damage during Katrina caused the congregation to move to Walker, Louisiana.
Stop 13 – New Orleans Fire Department, 425 Opelousas Avenue
This site has been home to the fire department since 1897. This current firehouse was built in 1927.
This structure is known as a Creole Cottage. It has a roof that slopes toward the sidewalk and the front openings are matched with openings in the back with the hope that this arrangement might catch a breeze. This house was built in 1856 as a convent for the Sisters of Mount Carmel, a group who had been called to New Orleans in the 1830s to open school for free young ladies of color. Their first school in Algiers was built at the corner of Alix and Seguin Streets in 1857.
Stop 15 – Behrman House, 228 Pelican Avenue
Martin Behrman was born in New York, but his family moved to Algiers when he was a baby. He was New Orleans’ mayor for almost 17 years (1904-1920, 1925-1926). His most famous quote is about closing the city’s vice district named Storyville in 1917. He claimed, “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.” Martin Behrman died at the beginning of his 5th term in 1926.