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 ReevesDetail, 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 ReevesFirst-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 LegacyOf 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 ReevesTop 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 DelaupNew 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 McNultyTop to bottom: Buddy Bolden; Sidney Bechet; Bunk JohnsonNew 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 ReevesImages taken by the U.S. Corps of Engineers following Hurricane Betsy 1964Aged 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 McNultyLouisiana Zydeco MusiciansIt'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 ReevesTop two Faubourg Marigny images by Alexey Sergeev, bottom image courtesy Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation and TourismThe historic Faubourgs Marigny and Tremé sit just beyond the French Quarter like old Parisian quartiers. Faubourg, literally "false town,"...Read More

By: StaffRaising the Restored Presbytere CupolaMost 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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Must-See Mardi Gras Museums

Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras World on FacebookThe magic of the Carnival is perpetually captured by these museums listed below, even outside of the season, which falls between January 6 (Twelfth Night, or Epiphany) and ends on Fat Tuesday, followed by the Lenten season starting on Ash...

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NOLA ChristmasFest

Photo courtesy of NOLA ChristmasFest on FacebookThere’s no shortage of unique opportunities this December to experience the holiday spirit, New Orleans style. We can’t promise snow, but the city will dazzle and enchant — as it does every year — with thousands of twinkling lights,...

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Holiday Cocktails in the French Quarter and Nearby

New Orleans is rife with culinary traditions — all 300 years’ worth of them. One of those wonderful traditions is Reveillon. For a few years now the increasing number of restaurants (68 this year) is participating in bringing special Reveillon menus to the table.Alongside the turtle...

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French Quarter Hotels with Pools

When the weather is just right, why not take a dip? Whether you're visiting New Orleans or staycationing, you can cool off and enjoy the city (or take a break) at any of the three charming, one-of-a-kind outdoor pools located inside these boutique hotels in the French Quarter: French Market Inn,...

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Exploring the French Quarter with Kids

Photo courtesy of French QuarTour Kids on FacebookWhile "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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New Orleans’ Tricentennial Celebration

Happy birthday to New Orleans, 300 years in the making! The year 2018 marks the city of New Orleans's 300th anniversary, and the city is going all out on the monthslong celebration of its illustrious history, diverse culture and unique traditions. The extensive program, put forth by city...

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Photo courtesy of Cemetery Tour New Orleans at Basin St. Station on FacebookFormer 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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New Orleans’ Haunted History

The LaLaurie Mansion, photo by Tom BastinFor 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 FacebookHalloween 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 FlickrFrom 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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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!
501 Basin Street
New Orleans, LA 70112