French Quarter History

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

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...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: FrenchQuarter.com 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 French QuarTour Kids on Facebook While "child-friendly" or "family-friendly" may not automatically come to mind when, say, Bourbon Street is mentioned, New Orleans is packed with things you can do as a family, for kids of all ages. Here are our favorite family-friendly...

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Things to Do in the French Quarter This March

Photo by aLive Coverage At midnight at the end of Mardi Gras day, the city of New Orleans cleaned the streets of beads, glitter, bunting and all traces of revelry. It was all done so quickly, and with such finality, as to make the casual observer think all celebration in the city was simply done...

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Things to Do in New Orleans This February

Photo by David Fary New Orleans gears up for Mardi Gras this February, and there is a steady stream of events and entertainment coming down the pipe. Some upcoming highlights. Alexandra's Lonely Hearts Club Band: Valentines Show Local chanteuse Alexandra Scott leads her band in a sing...

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Saturday, February 11 Krewe du Vieux @ 6:00 PM (Note: this parade is very risque and may not suitable for children) Friday, February 17 Krewe of Cork @ 3:00 PM Oshun and Krewe Of Cleopatra @ 6:00 PM Saturday, February 18 Pontchartrain, Choctaw, and Freret @ 1:00 PM 'tit Rex Parade @5:00...

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From fireworks to balcony bashes, here's how to celebrate New Year's Eve in New Orleans It should come as no surprise that New Orleans does New Year’s Eve quite well; both the city and the holiday are closely tied to celebration, public revelry, and good fellowship. But many visitors may not...

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For 37 years, even on the muggiest of Louisiana days, it has been Christmas inside Santa’s Quarters in the French Quarter. Those who have never ventured into the store can’t help but wonder, How do they stay in business year-round? What is it a front for? But Santa’s Quarters (1025...

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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 - On December 17th, this annual event brings a pack...

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Let’s be honest: summer carried through in New Orleans almost all the way through October. But with Thanksgiving upon us, the weather has truly cooled off (for us locals anyway), which means you can enjoy some great New Orleans attractions without sweating through your shirt. Photo Courtesy of...

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The True History and Faith Behind Voodoo

By: Katy Reckdahl Every year now, The Voodoo Experience, with its taglines “join the ritual,” and “worship the music,” pegs its calendar to Halloween. This has become a tradition in New Orleans, much like All Saints’ Day, when families head to the graveyards of the French Quarter and...

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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...

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