When am I allowed to park on a
"Neutral grounds" are a unique
aspect of New Orleans. They are sites
of former railways, streetcar routes, canals and drainage ditches. Other cities use the term "medians," but New Orleanians call them neutral grounds because of their history as a dividing line between cultures.
The first neutral ground was on
Canal Street and separated Creoles
living in the French Quarter from Americans living in the present-day Central Business District. All other medians in the city were thereafter referred to as neutral grounds. Today, streetcars ride along the neutral grounds
of Canal Street and North Carrollton and
St. Charles avenues, and Mardi Gras paradegoers use the strips as a place to view processions.
According to the New Orleans Code
of Ordinances, it is a misdemeanor to drive on neutral grounds and violators can face a $150 fine. It's also illegal to stop or park on a neutral ground unless following directions from police or specifically allowed by law. Drivers who park illegally on a neutral ground can be fined $75 and the vehicle can be seized if it isn't moved. The city sometimes allows temporary parking on neutral grounds when bad weather is expected to bring flooding.