French Quarter New Orleans
Founded in 1718, the French Quarter New Orleans is dripping with history.
From the old buildings, the magnificent architecture and
the old shops that grace its streets, the French Quarter
is a must-see on your list of things-to-do during your
next New Orleans
The original design and outline of the town plan was done in typical French style, reflected in the street layout, the central square and the impressive church of St. Louis. The Spanish took over in 1762 and during their 40 year legacy, they were responsible for the look of what makes the French Quarter so distinctive today: the wrought iron balconies, the wall courtyard gardens, and the plastered brick houses come from the Spanish influence during that time.
It was also during the Spanish rule that the birth of
the “French” market came about and the Cabildo,
or town hall, rose up. In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase
by the Americans brought a new golden age to New Orleans
and the French Quarter. The Americans opened up
the city to trade and over 10,000 refugees from other
wars around the New World. This contributed to the
growth of New Orleans and the French Quarter. The
Americans popularity in this mixed nationality city rose
when they fought and won a battle with the British in
1815. It became a very popular and powerful port
city as cotton, sugar and steamboats made there way here
from the Caribbean and up the Mississippi River. New Orleans became
the most popular location for slave trading as huge plantations
rose up in Louisiana and down the Mississippi. You
can still find the influence of the large influx of slaves
by the presence of Jazz music, the many Haitian voodoo
shops and the delicious African inspired soul food in
New Orleans, all brought by the African natives.
After the civil war, the decline of New Orleans was evident and the population was shaken up and moved about the city to deal with the loss of the trade that was so prominent in the 1880’s. As the early twentieth century rolled around, there were increasing numbers of artists attracted to the city. This is the time when the originators of New Orleans Jazz, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, started playing their unusual tunes in the French Quarter and writers like William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams flocked to the ancient town. Attracted by the French Quarter’s freewheeling urbanism and quaint surroundings, they gleaned creative inspiration from this diverse town, even as it was declining.
In 1936, the Vieux Carre Commission was created in order
to preserve the history of New Orleans in the French Quarter with its quaint atmosphere.
Antique and art stores sprang up, Dixieland jazz bands
played in the increasingly popular Bourbon
Street nightclubs and burlesque parlors. Thanks
to their preservation authority, the French Quarter of
today will take you on an amazing trip off the train of
time as you wind through the streets of New Orleans.
Today, tourism is the primary economy of New Orleans and the French Quarter. They locals welcome all tourists with a large selection of excellent nightlife, bars, restaurants, jazz halls, shops, tourist attractions and parties, like the famous Mardi Gras. There are many other festivals and events that take place in the French Quarter during the year, including the three day French Quarter festival. During the month April the French Quarter Festival lines the streets with musicians and food booths where you can sample more than 60 local restaurants delicious Creole, Cajun and African inspired fare. There are even events for children with prizes, games and entertainment for the whole family. The French Quarter Festival activities are free, so all you pay for are the food and drinks.
Some of the best historic hotels and buildings in Louisiana
are located on the streets of the New Orleans French Quarter.
You can also find the famous Preservation
Hall for listening to the New Orleans Jazz bands,
the historic French Market and some of the best food in the world. From the
middle of the French Quarter New Orleans you can catch
a horse drawn carriage ride, take a cruise on the Steamboats
on the Mississippi River and drink a good cup of coffee
at the nearby French Market before an afternoon of shopping
at the local boutiques. You can even find a few
Voodoo shops or local tarot card readers to indulge those
looking for the historic occult dealings on the streets
of the French Quarter.
Another famous aspect of the French Quarter New Orleans,
is the darker side of the French Quarter. This includes
the colorful characters that have performed legendary
voodoo curses and the murders that have lead to the many
rumored hauntings whispered about town for the last century.
The most famous hauntings have been sighted at 1140 Royal
Avenue where Madame Delphine LaLaurie, a famous socialite
in the 1800’s lived. The stories of how she
mistreated and tortured her slaves, which came to light
after two slaves chained to the stove set the house on
fire, are almost too gruesome to bear. The authorities
discovered in Madame La Laurie’s attic several badly
tortured slaves who later died. This location has
been the center of macabre ghost stories ever since.
There are also stories that the famous Voodoo Queen, Marie
Laveau of the early 1800’s still walks the street
to this day. Many people still visit her graveyard
in the St. Louis cemetery to catch a glimpse of her ghost.
For the not too light of heart, you can find several tours
that visit the New Orleans graveyards and haunted houses.
All this intrigue and passion in one city gives it a sexy, sultry, exotic feel that is unmatched in any place in the U.S. On your next trip to New Orleans, an intense, leisurely, and drawn out visit to the New Orleans French Quarter is something you can’t miss!