Is Hyde Park the Garden District of Tampa Bay?


  • Todd Bates

New Orleans’ Garden District is known for its stately historic homes, old brick patios, brilliant azaleas and canopied streets. Sound familiar?

Hyde Park and the Garden District certainly share a number of qualities: charm, old money, well-mossed oaks and front porches as favored living spaces.

The differences:

• They have a functioning streetcar. Ours (which traveled up Bayshore Boulevard and down Rome) is only a memory.

• We have Bayshore Boulevard — and better schools.

• Their oldest homes date from the early 1800s and our earliest examples are from the 1880s.

• Both areas have faced challenging economic times and, in my opinion, thanks to the attraction of historic preservation with protective legislation, have never been more attractive, polished and sought-after as neighborhoods to brag on.

• They have Mardi Gras and we have Gasparilla. Both feature prominent local leaders in heavy make-up, elaborate costumes and a markedly inebriated state during a parade past the best addresses in town.

Yep. Hyde Park is our Garden District, for sure.

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