With a population of approximately 3,500 residents, Milan is a chill, soulful corner of NoLa, close enough to the action but far enough from the madness. It is, without a doubt, a great neighborhood.
Small Change first came across Milan through architect Jonathan Tate, whose Starter Home program turns odd-shaped vacant lots into affordable housing for first-time buyers. Tate is raising funds for his Starter Home Two project on S. Saratoga Street in Milan through Small Change.
Small Change partners only with developers whose projects meet our Change Index, and Starter Home Two demonstrates the potential to make a big impact on its surroundings, thanks in no small part to its location in Milan. Our proprietary Change Index considers factors like walkability, bikeability, and proximity to fresh food, a park or plaza, and a “third place” like a café or public library. With everything that Milan offers, it’s no surprise that Starter Home Two checks off 14 of 20 Change Index criteria.
Here are just 5 things that make Milan a great neighborhood:
1. Historic character
Milan is a great mix of the new and old. Starter Home Two will have a cool, modern aesthetic, which will add texture to the historic neighborhood. Bounded by wide, tree-lined avenues, and peppered with small parks, Milan has its fair share of historic houses, including Creole cottages, shotgun houses, double-gallery houses, Creole townhouses, and California-style bungalows. And then there’s the famed St. Charles Avenue on Milan’s southern boundaries. St. Charles Avenue, which has been called “The Jewel of America’s Grand Avenues,” and hosts a superb collection of 19th century Southern mansions you have to see to believe.
2. Social spots
Milan has no shortage of “third places” – that is, places separate from the home (“first place”) and the office (“second place”) — to build community and have a good time. You can join neighbors on St. Charles Avenue for a Sazerac on the grand porch at The Columns Hotel or grab a coffee at New Orleans Coffee & Beignet Co. Take your family shopping at the Freret Street Market on the first Saturday of the month – it’s a three-in-one food, art, and flea market. There are also three local parks in Milan, or you can grab your bike and head to Audubon Park for a picnic.
3. Culture and entertainment
Great neighborhoods are full of good things to do, see, eat, and drink. If it’s music you’re after, we hear Freret Street is a go-to spot for festivals. Or you can check out the Sunday Jazz & Gospel Brunch at The Fine Arts Center on Constantinople, or change things up at Gasa Gasa with its varied calendar of live tunes. Grab a cocktail at Cure, considered the best specialty bar in the city, or sit down for dinner at The Superior Seafood and Oyster Bar or The Delachaise, both on St. Charles Avenue.
Milan has bike-friendly streets (New Orleans drivers are courteous, too) and is surrounded on all sides by public transit. It’s an 11-minute bike ride to Downtown, or you can get there by bus or streetcar. The St. Charles Streetcar Line also allows easy access to the Warehouse District and the French Quarter, although you’ll get there much faster on your bike.
Milan is a super-walkable neighborhood. Grocery stores are just a short walk in each direction, as well as some specialty stores like Martin Wine Cellar, Langenstein’s, and St. James Cheese Co, a locals’ favorite. Magazine Street, great for shopping, dining, or just a casual stroll, is a 20-minute walk to the south. The Garden District is just an easy walk away, and Freret Street is even closer.