This area was formerly a neighborhood of Irish working class immigrants who fled Ireland during the potato famine in the early 19th century. Many of these Irish workers helped build the New Basin Canal, which connected Lake Pontchartrain to the city. There were other immigrants as well, such as, Italians, Germans, and free African Americans. During the 20th century, most of the immigrants living in the Irish Channel worked in the nearby Port of New Orleans, and the many breweries that were common. They found the small cottages and rows of shotgun houses very affordable compared to the adjacent, more affluent, Garden District neighborhood.
In the last few years, the Irish Channel has become a hugely popular, and still affordable, place to live, with many new arrivals intermingling with local multi-generational families. Many popular restaurants, shops, and bars are within walking distance. The charming single and double shotguns are irresistible, and many are being converted to camelbacks (with a second floor). The hugely popular annual St. Patrick's Day parade draws a huge crowd every year and there is an equally large festive block party at two Irish neighborhood bars, Parasol's and Tracy's.