Canal Street: The Broadway of New Orleans
   Canal Street is the main thoroughfare for the New Orleans downtown district.  It has the distinction of being the widest main street in America.  It once separated the French in the Vieux Carre from the newly arrived Americans who'd begun settling in Faubourg St. Mary, neither of whom thought much of the other.  While waiting for a canal to be built in the middle of the street (which was never constructed) folks on both sides of Canal Street began referring to the space as the "neutral ground" and that's what medians are called to this day by New Orleanians.  There's another distinction Canal Street can boast about:  Vitascope Hall, the world's first movie theater, was established on Canal Street in 1896!  Notice the bond drive and blood drive signs on the WWII era images.
   Most of the images on this page are postcards.  They represent a time period from about 1870 to about 1950, except for the one picture above, which is from the late 1960's.  But they're not in chronological order and not all are dated.  
I love this can so clearly see the bend in the river...
which gave New Orleans its nickname of "Crescent City."
Favorite Vintage Photos of Canal Street

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Bet. 1886 - 1901 by Mugnier
1895 - With many thanks to a visitor to the page who identified the building above as the predecessor to the Maison Blanche department store.  This building burned and the new building was, for almost one hundred years, Maison Blanche-the Christmas home of the renowned Mr. Bingle!  The building is currently the site of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
1890 by William Howell
View of Canal from Camp Street
View from Chartres by Mugnier
Loew's State Theater, 1920's
1890 by William Howell
About 1875
About 1940
These 3 black & white photos are of the D. H. Holmes Department store-a fixture on Canal Street for over one hundred years; shown here during World War II.