Garden District: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Ask Garden District residents what distinguishes their neighborhood and they are likely to mention the select group of large Live Oaks that are individually inducted into the Live Oak Society, historic residential architecture so well maintained that movie and television producers use it for sets, families who have held on to their houses for up to six generations, the area's rich soil that once grew sugar cane and now supports private gardens, and cherished memories of growing up and living in the Garden District.
The Garden District is bounded by Government Street to the north; St. Rose Avenue and Eugene Street to the east; Magnolia and Broussard Streets to the south; and South 18th Street and Park to the west.
Less than two miles from downtown and the state capitol, the neighborhood is composed of three historic districts — Roseland Terrace, Drehr Place, and Kleinert Place. Boulevard medians are lined with live oaks, magnolia trees, and azaleas.
Remarkably, 88 percent of the neighborhood's houses built before 1930 are still standing and include Bungalow, Craftsman, English Cottage, Queen Anne, Tudor Revival, Classical Revival, and Colonial Revival styles. The oldest house in the neighborhood, Reiley-Reeves, was built in 1910 and is still owned by the original family.
Attracting everyone from university students and faculty to young professionals, families and elderly, the Garden District's tradition of activism and community engagement dates to 1976 when the Garden District Civic Association was organized to appeal a proposed rezoning affecting the neighborhood.
Defining Characteristics, Features
- Roseland Terrace originally inhabited by affluent Baton Rouge citizens seeking bucolic residential area just outside their city; at time, neighborhood thought to be too far away
- Before development Roseland Terrace was a racetrack where the fence line was planted with Cherokee roses, inspiring the name for Cherokee Street where the racetrack was located. Original developers hold competition to select Roseland Terrace name.
- From 1882 to 1930, Garden District attracted the newly affluent from New Orleans
- Many residents work at Louisiana State University located south of the neighborhood and also downtown where there is a concentration of governmental offices
- Earliest houses in Roseland Terrace reflect Queen Anne and Colonial Revival influences; bungalows mostly built during 1917-1930 construction boom
- Roseland Terrace one of best preserved, early 20th century neighborhoods in state
- Oldest house in neighborhood is Queen Anne-styled Reiley-Reeves House at 810 Park Boulevard (1910); added to National Register of Historic Places 1979
Planning and Design
- Roseland Terrace was Baton Rouge's first subdivision; exemplifies early 20th century "garden suburb" defined by, small lots, abundance of trees along streets and alleyways; utility poles located along alleyways to help keep rural character
- Garden suburb pattern used in Drehr Place and Kleinert Terrace
- Residential building design guidelines include retention of original sidewalks, fences, roofs, chimneys, and other architectural details; flora typically planted in historic districts also listed to keep garden-like characteristics intact
- Garden District Civic Association formed 1976; one of most active in city with St. Patty's Parade, Easter egg hunt, summer social, fall picnic, holiday lighting contest, Tour of Homes
- Neighborhood association holds clean ups along Park Boulevard, a neighborhood main artery; other projects involve replacing water oak trees with live oaks
- Social activities organized with adjacent neighborhoods, such as Old South Baton Rouge
Amenities and Attributes
- Roseland Terrace (1911–1930), Baton Rouge's first subdivision, added to National Register of Historic Places in 1982; Drehr Place (1920s), added to national historic register 1997; Kleinert Terrace (late 1920s), added to national historic register 1998
- Businesses serving neighborhood located along Government Street and Perkins Road
- Neighborhood adjoins City Brooks Community Park and City Park Lake; 155-acre park with dog park, playground, tennis, baseball, soccer, golf course, paths, fishing lake
- Bus service along Government Street, Park Boulevard, Broussard Street
- Shared bicycle lanes on Park Boulevard connect Garden District to Louisiana State University and downtown; lanes part of $2.5 million citywide safe bicycle routes project
- Live oaks found along Park Boulevard and Cherokee, Kleinert, and Terrace avenues