French Quarter History

Block Parties in Motion: the New Orleans Second Line Parade

By: Ian McNulty Visitors experience a city’s culture on the walls of museums and galleries, on the stages of theaters and musical halls and even on the plates of local restaurants. But in New Orleans, culture also comes bubbling up from the streets and one of the most unique local expressions of...Read More

Gardens of the French Quarter – St. Anthony’s Garden

By: Sally Reeves Detail, Ignace Broutin, Plan de la Nouvelle Orléans telle qu'elle estoit le premier janvier mil sept cent trente-deux. French Centre des archives d'outre-mer 04DFC 90A. Broutin's plan of the garden and the Capuchin complex in 1732. Several drainage features seem to be...Read More

The Many Lives of the Steamboats Natchez

By: Sally Reeves First-ever Natchez, built 1823. The 206-ton fledgling made history in 1825 transporting General Lafayette through the Mississippi Valley. The Natchez of racing fame, built 1869. A colosal gamble to preserve the steamboat freight buisiness, it was not the most elegant of...Read More

Grand Chorus Without End at the Old Cathedral in Jackson Square

By: Sally Reeves Every quarter-hour, the thin peal of bells at St. Louis Cathedral calls saints and sinners, mostly the latter. They clang out a slightly off-key sound, as if they well know the offbeat rhythms of the neighborhood below them. The pulse of a circus atmosphere around the church...Read More

Type Spotting: Historic Building Styles in the French Quarter

By: Sally Reeves A keen eye and quick list can unveil the salient patterns of French Quarter building types. Most antebellum sorts come in "Creole," "American," and a mix of the two. Those built after the Civil War and later are generally "Eastlake," or sometimes "Craftsman" cottages. There are...Read More

Brief History of the French Quarter

By: Sally Reeves Founded as a military-style grid of seventy squares in 1718 by French Canadian naval officer Jean Baptiste Bienville, the French Quarter of New Orleans has charted a course of urbanism for parts of four centuries. Bienville served as governor for financier John Law's Company of...Read More

French Quarter Fire and Flood

By: Sally Reeves Top to bottom: Notable French Quarter Fire Survivors - Ursulines Convent, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, Madame Johns Legacy Of all the forces that conspire to destroy a city – time, storm, neglect, need – fire does the most harm. Without Prometheus, we might have more of our...Read More

French Speaking ‘Hommes de Couleur Libre’ Left Indelible Mark on the Culture and Development of the French Quarter

By: Sally Reeves Top to Bottom: 933 Rue St. Philip, home of builder and community leader, Jean-Louis Dolliole; 1440 Rue Bourbon, another home built in 1819 by Dolliole Jean-Louis Dolliole, 19th century builder and community leader, was the son of a Provencal Frenchman and Genevieve Laronde,...Read More

Searching for Laffite the Pirate

By: Sally Reeves From top to bottom: Jean Lafitte "The Corsair" by E.H. Suydam, Detail of an authentic Jean Lafitte signature Laffite the pirate, curious fellow, has been evading the establishment. If once he escaped the sheriff, today he still eludes the historical authorities. Who was the real...Read More

Vintage Bourbon Street Burlesque

By: Rick Delaup New Orleans in the Forties and Fifties was often heralded as "The Most Interesting City in America." Bourbon Street was its epicenter, and it became world famous for its concentration of nightclub shows featuring exotic dancers, comics, risque singers, and contortionists,...Read More

First Notes: New Orleans and the Early Roots of Jazz

By: Ian McNulty Top to bottom: Buddy Bolden; Sidney Bechet; Bunk Johnson New Orleans has always been different, complex and intriguing, so it’s fitting that jazz, the musical style the city created and gave to the world, should follow the same tune. Jazz is a byproduct of the...Read More

Still We Rise Again

By: Sally Reeves Images taken by the U.S. Corps of Engineers following Hurricane Betsy 1964 Aged and weathered cities all have their darkest hours, but somehow the ruins get better. Rome is still beautiful and has lived to tell the tale of its sackings by the Gauls, the Goths, the...Read More

Rubbing the Right Way: The Infectious Sounds and Long Evolution of Zydeco Music

By: Ian McNulty Louisiana Zydeco Musicians It's Thursday night at the Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n' Bowl (4133 S. Carrollton Ave., 504-482-3133), a vintage, second-floor bowling alley located near the geographic center of New Orleans. Bowlers are rolling strikes and gutter balls on the lanes, but...Read More

Faubourgs Tremé and Marigny Are French Quarter Neighbors Rich in History and Architecture

By: Sally Reeves Top two Faubourg Marigny images by Alexey Sergeev, bottom image courtesy Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism The historic Faubourgs Marigny and Tremé sit just beyond the French Quarter like old Parisian quartiers. Faubourg, literally "false town,"...Read More

By: Staff Raising the Restored Presbytere Cupola Most people gaze upon the beautiful panorama of Jackson Square and observe the symmetrical layout of the buildings. The Presbytere and the Cabildo flank St. Louis Cathedral like mirror images. Yet, astute observers will...

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Photo courtesy of Cemetery Tour New Orleans at Basin St. Station on Facebook Former New Orleanian William Faulker famously wrote, “The past isn’t dead and buried. It’s not even past.” Nowhere is this truth more evident than in St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. In this storied “city of the...

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Best Muffulettas in the French Quarter and Nearby

One of New Orleans' most celebrated creations is a tall, bready Sicilian-Cajun invention that reflects the city's diverse cultural and culinary heritage. The muffuletta goes back to the 19th century, when the French Quarter was sometimes referred to as "Little Palermo," and its Sicilian...

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New Orleans’ Haunted History

The LaLaurie Mansion, photo by Tom Bastin For the rest of the country, things that go bump in the night move to the forefront of the imagination for one month out of the year. But in New Orleans, often called the most-haunted city in America, every day might as well be Halloween. Stroll...

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Ghost Tours in the French Quarter

Photo courtesy of Cemetery Tour New Orleans at Basin St. Station on Facebook Halloween in New Orleans has grown into an extremely popular party holiday for pleasure seekers, with its active nightlife, dining scene and seasonal festivals booming this time of year. But the city holds a much...

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Over-the-top Gravesites in New Orleans

Italian Benevolent Society Tomb, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA—photo by traveljunction on Flickr From Ernie K-Doe to the fictional Ignatius P. Reilly, many over-the-top personalities comprise the city of New Orleans. Not surprisingly, these larger-than-life characters often take their...

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Creole Queen photo by Brian Norwood on Flickr A city that will be celebrating its tricentennial in 2018 will always have much to offer, and, like any multicultural place steeped in history and tradition, the French Quarter in particular has a non-wild side worth exploring. It may be tempting...

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Streetcars on Canal Street— Photo by Tom Bastin on Flickr At a grand 171 feet wide, traversed by streetcars, taxis, automobiles, cyclists and pedestrians, Canal Street is more than just a major downtown thoroughfare. Throughout its 210-year history, it also has served as an entertainment...

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The Historic New Orleans Collection Presents Storyville: Madams and Music

Postcard showing view of Storyville courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection Many know Storyville as the red light district where prostitution and jazz music flourished in New Orleans from 1895 to 1917. A lineage of musical geniuses, including Jelly Roll Morton, Buddy Bolden and Pops...

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By: Adam Karlin What to See During the holiday season in New Orleans, the city’s predilection for spectacle goes into overdrive. Here are some of the sights and shows that make for an unforgettable December visit. Running of the Santas - This annual event brings a pack of St Nicholi...

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Must-See French Quarter Museums

Photo courtesy of New Orleans Pharmacy Museum on Facebook New Orleans tends to be known more for her food, music and nightlife than her museums, but this city actually excels at visitor friendly educational institutions. Our museums tend to focus on local knowledge subjects that exist close to...

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Plan your trip to New Orleans with the official French Quarter travel site. We give you the inside scoop on where to eat, stay, and play. Join us for a good time!
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