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Curbed Cup 1st Round: (4) Bywater vs. (5) Lower Garden District

The Curbed Cup 2013, our award to the New Orleans Neighborhood of the Year, is kicking off with eight 'hoods battling it out for the honor of a prestigious fake trophy and obviously, bragging rights. Voting for each match-up ends 24 hours after it begins. We'll showcase a neighborhood face-off per day through the week with results and the full tourney bracket reviewed on Friday. Let the eliminations begin!

Welcome Bywater and the Lower Garden District to the ring, a couple of trendy 'hoods that made our list for best places for renters. Once normal ole' neighborhoods with dirt cheap real estate, these spots are now more well-known for their dining destinations, hipster residents (okay, "normal" people and fams dwell here, too), and sky-rocketing home sales.

In one corner, we have Bywater, the downriver next door neighborhood to the Marigny. The Rice Mill Lofts and 511 Marigny Apartments introduced Bywater bougie to the scene in the form of swank warehouse living, but there are a couple semi-affordable places still available (although nothing of the pre-Katrina price range, sorry). Speaking of fancy folk, p.s., Beyonce's sister, Solange Knowles almost moved here. Things on are the food front are beserk: Mariza earned a whooping four beans rating from The Times-Pic (that's a good thing, non-New Orleanians); Pizza Delicious, The Joint, Booty's, and Maurepas Foods are all hot-spots; and Oxalis Provisions should be open any day now. Dive bars are a-plenty, too. Anytime Fitness will open in mid-January, Markey Park got a makeover, and Bywaterites will finally get riverfront access when Crescent Park rolls out the proverbial red carpet.

In the other corner, there's the Lower Garden District, the Garden District's hipper little sibling. From an 1860s mansion asking $1.7-million, to this grand estate on Coliseum Square for $1.595-million, there's no shortage of eye candy in the neighborhood. Coming attractions include rowhouses on an empty lot on Prytania Street, a CrossFit gym on Magazine Street, Courtyard Brewery in an Erato Street warehouse, and Chef Philip Lopez of Root will be opening Square Root in February.Craft beer lovers worship Avenue Pub, Hivolt coffee recently opened in a beautifully renovated corner building, and new shops and galleries (art gallery BRIO, Trashy Diva Lingerie to name a few) are recent additions to the Magazine strip.
Well, what neighborhood will it be?

Poll results

· Curbed Cup 2013 coverage [Curbed NOLA]
· Are these the trendiest New Orleans neighborhoods? [Curbed NOLA]
· The 10 best neighborhoods for renters in New Orleans [Curbed NOLA]
· Mariza coverage [Eater NOLA]
· Solange Knowles' Bywater move is a bust, what went wrong? [Curbed NOLA]
· Anytime Fitness opening in Bywater warehouse [Curbed NOLA]
· Crescent Park coverage [Curbed NOLA]
· Lower Garden District mansion from 1869 asks $1.7M [Curbed NOLA]
· Lower Garden District home on Coliseum Sq. asks $1.595M [Curbed NOLA]
· Prytania St. rowhouse coverage [Curbed NOLA]
· CrossFit coming to LGD [Curbed NOLA]
· Courtyard Brewery plans to set up shop in LGD warehouse [Curbed NOLA]
· Square Root plans to start a revolution, opens February [Eater NOLA]
· Hivolt coffee coverage [Eater NOLA]