Soulard (soo-lard) located on the southern side of Downtown St. Louis is a historic French neighborhood. This neighborhood is named after Antoine Soulard, who first began to develop the land. Antoine Soulard was a surveyor for the Spanish government and a refugee from the French Revolution during the 1790s.
Soulard is a very old part of town with lot of history. It is a picturesque, residential neighborhood filled with corner restaurants, bars, and pubs, among other businesses. The neighborhood of Soulard hosts many events throughout the year, including Mardi Gras, Oktoberfest, and Bastille Day. It is also known as a neighborhood with a high density of bars, many of which play host to a variety of live music; especially the blues and jazz bands which the city is known for. The barrelhouse blues piano player James Crutchfield lived in the neighborhood from 1984 until his death in 2001, and performed in many of the nightclubs. The district is also host to regular pub crawls which are popular among locals and visitors alike. Coincidentally, the name soûlard itself is the French word for drunkard, though there are many other aspects to the neighborhood than just drinking. Many of the homes there date back to the mid-to-late 19th century and have unique architecture. Soulard is a thriving, eclectic area, and is home to the largest Mardi Gras celebration in the Midwestern United States. It also has a very active community with its own newspaper, “The Soulard Renaissance”, as well as organizations such as the Soulard Restoration Group and the Soulard Business Association helping to organize events and keep the neighborhood clean and safe. It is also home to a large popular Farmers’ market, several historic churches, and the North American headquarters of Anheuser-Busch. The opening scene of Alan Schroeder’s award-winning picture book “Ragtime Tumpie” takes place at the Soulard Market.