Metairie Road, which conferred its name on the bayou along which it ran, continues eastward as City Park Avenue. The bayou's continuation was named Bayou Sauvage and also Bayou Gentilly. It then conferred its name on the road along its bank, Gentilly Boulevard, or Gentilly Road. The name Gentilly was the name of a plantation in the area owned by two French brothers named Dreux, Mathurin and Pierre. They were attracted to John Law's Louisiana and were involved from the very beginning. Mathurin helped in the planning of the new city, it is said, and chose the high ground along the ridge built up by Bayou Sauvage. He and his brother prospered at their plantation so named because they had come from the commune in the department of the Seine of that same name. In French colonial Louisiana they became known as the Sieurs de Gentilly. The name for this large area of New Orleans has been Gentilly for all these many years, and there is also a Dreux Avenue in honor of the brothers.
Alexander Milne owned most of the lakeshore in 1830 when the Pontchartrain Railroad was authorized to begin construction. The third railroad in the country brought people out to the resort of Milneburg. Milne named many streets for famous cities, such as Paris, Hamburg, Madrid, New York and Pressburg. The railroad brought another subdivision, Darcantel, at the intersection of Elysian Fields (the railroad's route) and Gentilly Road. In 1909, development began in Gentilly Terrace, a neighborhood of impressive homes on the lake side of Gentilly Boulevard bounded by St. Roch and Franklin Avenues. The homes were all the more beautiful by being built up high upon the terraced lots. Edward Lafaye, Colonel R. E. Edgar De Montluzin and Michael Baccich were instrumental in its development. De Montluzin also purchased the Michoud lands in 1923, and these 32,000 acres were sold in 1959 to New Orleans East, Inc. Across Gentilly Boulevard to the south were the neighborhoods of Edgewood Park (with streets named for flowers and trees) and Forest Park (with streets with Indian names).
In the 1940s, the heirs of A. Miles Pratt subdivided lands owned by him near the London Avenue Canal. The Pratt Mansion still stands on Pratt Drive at Mirabeau. In the late 1940s, Higgins huts were coming down to make way for new homes in a neighborhood called Gentilly Woods, completed in 1950. The homes were attractive GI starter homes. Andrew Jackson Higgins had his Industrial Canal plant nearby, which supplied the amphibious landing craft for the D-Day invasion during World War II. Behind Gentilly Woods toward the lake is Pontchartrain Park and Southern University. Further north ist he University of New Orleans. One neighborhood near UNO has streets all starting with the letter "W."
The building boom continued into the fifties with many residences being constructed in new subdivisions such as beautiful Oak Park. Large oaks were saved in the planning of this neighborhood on the lake side of Mirabeau. Across the street the Parkchester Apartments were 1,114 units strong and one of the largest developments of this kind in the South. In the 1980s, new construction would replace these demolished units to make way for newly named Paris Oaks. Many of the streets in Gentilly were Bernard de Marigny's streets extending north to the lake. St. Bernard is named for him, and off St. Bernard is beautiful Park Island with magnificent upscale homes looking over Bayou St. John. Also on St. Bernard and Robert E. Lee is the Greek Orthodox Cathedral which holds a fabulous Greek Festival every Memorial Day Weekend. It is adjacent to the Vista Shores Club. Gentilly is also home to Dillard University, the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the New Orleans Fairgrounds.