A New Orleans-Style Commute: Streetcars

A Loyola Avenue Streetcar

One note: They’re “streetcars”, not “trolleys,” and New Orleanians will point that out.

Since at least 1835 when the first city rail service was created in New Orleans, streetcars have been the iconic form of public transportation in the city. The streetcar lines have gone from many to one, but over the last few years, New Orleans has increased the number of routes and the distances that they cover.

In South Market, all you have to do is walk outside The Paramount, cross the street, and jump onto the city’s newest line, the Loyola-UPT route. The line is an easy ride to a night out in the French Quarter or to the Union Passenger Terminal to catch a train. The cars on the Loyola Avenue route are the most recently built (even having air conditioning), unlike the St. Charles Line cars that date to the 1920s. Both the green and red cars of today are a far cry from the original mule and steam-powered cars that graced the city in the 1800s.

While many think of tourism as the purpose of streetcars, board one during the morning rush hour and you’ll find a host of locals on their way to work. That’s sure to continue as the Loyola line is expanded this year. So grab a dollar and a quarter and catch the next car toward Canal Street!

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