Soulard is a historic neighborhood in St. Louis named after Antoine Soulard, who first began to develop the land. Soulard was a surveyor for the Spanish government and a refugee from the French Revolution in the 1790s. Many of the houses in the area date to the mid-to-late 19th century. The neighborhood also has several historic churches.
Soulard is one of the oldest cities in St. Louis and is now a residential neighborhood home to several restaurants and bars. The North American headquarters of Anheuser-Busch, which houses the St. Louis Brewery, is also located in the Soulard neighborhood.
Many of Soulard's bars host live music. These bars are especially known for their local blues and jazz bands. The barrelhouse blues piano player James Crutchfield resided in Soulard from 1984 to 2001 and performed in many of these nightclubs. The Soulard district also hosts regular pub crawls.
Soulard is most known for being home to the oldest farmers market west of the Mississippi River. Today, the Soulard Market has more than a hundred vendors that sell produce, meat, spice, flowers, food, and other local goods. The Soulard Market is featured in the opening scene of Alan Schroeder's picture book "Ragtime Tumpie".
Soulard hosts many events throughout the year, including celebrations of Mardi Gras and Oktoberfest.
The St. Louis Mardi Gras Festival in Soulard has attracted hundreds of thousands of tourists and locals in the past. The festival is said to be the second-largest Mardi Gras party in the country.
Similar to the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration, the Soulard version features several parades throughout Mardi Gras season. One unique parade hosted in Soulard is "Krewe of Barkus", which features people and their costumed pets. The parade is then followed by the informal wiener dog races. The St. Louis Mardi Gras Festival is a free event and usually invites a national recording artist to perform on the main stage, usually on 7th Street. The St. Louis Mardi Gras Festival occupies the streets north of Soulard to downtown St. Louis.
Information sourced from Wikipedia. Cover image by Whitebox and licensed under CC BY 3.0