French Quarter History

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...

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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...

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Oldest Features of the French Quarter

By: Sally Reeves Secluded in the muddle of the French Quarter's raucous street life linger elements that still impart a kind of stately antiquity. They are Spanish and French-era pieces. Some are rightly celebrated for their survival of the epochs; others, dressed in garish costumes at the shop...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

Block Parties in Motion: the New Orleans Second Line Parade

By: Ian McNulty New Orleans Second Liners 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...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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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...

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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...

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By: Sally Reeves Jackson Square, and the land around it, was always for the use of the public, or so it seemed. There was the church, and the priests' house, and the town hall with the prison. There was the square itself, with its parade ground, and the view of the river. The idea of flanking...

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By: Sally Reeves If "the seed must die to generate new life," it was the post Civil War demise of the old Creole society in the New Orleans French Quarter that gave rise to a world of romantic reminiscences about it. Those enigmatic Creoles-- be they private, penurious, prideful in their...

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By: Sally Reeves Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba - Photo Courtesy of Louisiana State Museum Micaela Almonester Pontalba was the wealthiest woman in New Orleans, but her biographer called her a frump for her lamentable everyday wardrobe. Like most Creoles, she married a cousin,...

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By: Sally Reeves Come see the open-hearth cooking demonstrations at the Hermann-Grima House Nineteenth century foodways are on the menu Thursdays in season at the open-hearth kitchen of the historic Hermann-Grima House on St. Louis Street. Where Samuel and Emerante Hermann's enslaved cooks...

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By: Sally Reeves Spanish Influences: Memorial Signage of Original Spanish Street Names, Arched Entresol Building Design, Mezzanine & Courtyard View, and a Covered Courtyard Entryway The age-old battle between the French and Spanish influence on New Orleans lives on. An...

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