The Bywater is part of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, but is located along the natural levee of the Mississippi River, sparing the area from significant flooding. Its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Florida Avenue to the north, the Industrial Canal to the east, the Mississippi River to the south and Franklin Avenue Street to the west.
The area now known as the Bywater was mostly plantation land in the Colonial era. However, there was significant residential development beginning in the early 19th century as part of what was known as “Faubourg Washington”. The Bywater drew in residents from France, Spain, the French Carribean, Germany, Itlay, Ireland and many other areas from around the world. By the 1990’s, the New Orleans artistic community spread throughout the Bywater and its surrounding areas, which lead to the refurbishing of several 19th century houses. This neighborhood currently is filled with locally owned galleries, quirky shops, restaurants, bars and several small live music venues.