The Villere streetcar line was opened by New Orleans City & Lake Railroad Co. on October 15, 1895. The original route ran from St. Charles, out Canal, down N. Villere to Almonaster Ave. (later Franklin Ave.). It was extended in two phases out Franklin to Dreux Ave. and in Canal to the loop. In 1910 the New Orleans & Terminal Railroad Co. litigated New Orleans Railway & Light into building a grade separation (bridge) across their tracks. Later reroute of the Villere line had cars going up and down N. Rampart, out Dumaine and in St. Peter to reach N. Villere. Just before renaming, the line went down Burgundy and out Dumaine, returning in St. Peter and down Dauphine.

Villere was renamed Gentilly on February 1, 1926 by New Orleans Public Service. Later that year, the line was rerouted. Starting at Canal and Bourbon, down Bourbon, out Pauger, down Dauphine, out Franklin to Dreux, back in Franklin, up Royal and out Canal.

NOPSI replaced the Gentilly car line with buses on July 17, 1948; they used the identical route. The line was renamed Franklin on January 1, 1957 and later extended out to Leon C. Simon (formerly Southline). There was a short turn marked Franklin to Gentilly Rd. that may have used the bus terminal at Chef Menteur Hwy. and Iroquois St. Express 92 Franklin via Leon C. Simon was introduced on December 5, 1960; it ran nonstop between the French Quarter and Gentilly Road.

During 1973, when portable barricades were set up at various times of day to allow pedestrian traffic full use of Royal and Bourbon Sts., buses were rerouted out Orleans Ave., up Dauphine, out Canal, down Burgundy, in Esplanade, and down Dauphine. The Vieux Carré feeder bus line was introduced January 1, 1974, and Franklin was rerouted in Esplanade, up Decatur, out Canal, down N. Rampart, in Esplanade, and down Dauphine to the regular route.

RTA numbered Franklin as 57 and Express 92 as 58. Routing was changed after RTA takeover, up Royal, in Elysian Fields, up Decatur, out Canal, down N. Rampart to Franklin.Buses began serving Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), Press Dr. near Leon C. Simon. By 2001, the 5 Marigny Bywater replaced service on Royal, Dauphine, and Decatur; Franklin buses went down St. Claude/McShane Pl./N. Rampart, out Canal, down Basin, in Conti, down N. Rampart, and out Franklin.

After Hurricane Katrina, express route 58 did not resume service, but 57 Franklin continued.

With the opening of the Loyola/UPT streetcar line in January 2013, Franklin buses were routed across Canal via S. Rampart, Common, and Elk Place to allow transfers. This is the current routing as of March 2014.


Car 821 at the Franklin and Dreux Aves. terminal in a shot by Fred Victor DuBrutz taken July 23, 1947. There is dual trolley wire overhead to avoid the installation of a frog. One photo from H. George Friedman collection added 07/29/14.


Car 829 at Royal and Iberville Sts. during the 1940s. Two images from a scan of a slide in my collection added 04/12/14.

NOPSI GMC No. 1936:

GMC 1936 at Canal Station is signed for Franklin-Gentilly Road. Slide from my collection added 07/29/14.

NOPSI GMC No. 144:

GMC 144, a TDH-4517, is operating on Express 92 at Canal St. and Exchange Pl. during the mid 1970s. Routing would reflect the detour around the Vieux Carré after January 1, 1974. The cropped version emphasizes the parked Southern Tours van next to the Holiday Inn. Slide from my collection added 07/29/14.


Flxible 193 on Franklin Leon C. Simon at Bourbon and Conti Sts. in January 1975. Slide by Earl Hampton, Jr. added 04/12/14.


I can't identify the route of Flxible 337; it could be either Desire or Franklin, but the bus does represent the detour via Orleans to Dauphine in a slide dated January 1974. Slide by Earl Hampton, Jr. added 04/12/14.


AM General 498, recently repainted into RTA colors, is signed for the Franklin line and parked at Elysian Fields and Decatur Sts. on February 17, 1985. Scan of a slide in my collection added 04/12/14.

RTA ORION No. 97217:

Orion 97217 on 57 Franklin at Decatur and Dumaine Sts. in March 1997. Two photos added 04/12/14.

RTA ORION No. 219:

Orion 219 on 57 Franklin at Tulane Ave. and Elk Place on March 3, 2014. Ten photos added 04/12/14.

RTA ORION No. 239:

Orion 239 on 57 Franklin at Elk Place and Canal Sts. on March 3, 2014. Six photos added 04/12/14.

RTA ORION No. 267:

Orion 267 on 57 Franklin at Elk Place and Canal St. on March 3, 2014. Five photos added 04/12/12.