French Quarter History

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...

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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...

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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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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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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...

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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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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...

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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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Is the French Quarter French? Or Spanish?

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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