The French Quarter in New Orleans

Monday, 30 April 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Living, Working, Building

Bourbon Street © flickr.com - Lars Plougmann/cc-by-sa-2.0

Bourbon Street © flickr.com – Lars Plougmann/cc-by-sa-2.0

The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré or the Vieux Carre Historic District, is the oldest section of the city of New Orleans. After New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans in French) was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, it developed around the Vieux Carré (“Old Square” in English), a central square. The district is more commonly called the French Quarter today, or simply “the Quarter,” related to changes in the city with American immigration after the Louisiana Purchase. Most of the extant historical buildings were constructed in either the late 18th century, during the city’s period of Spanish rule, or during the first half of the 19th century, after U.S. annexation and statehood. The district as a whole has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, with numerous contributing buildings that are separately deemed significant (buildings and architecture of New Orleans). It is both a prime tourist destination and attractive for local resident (4,000 are living permanently in the quarter). Katrina flood damage was relatively light in the Quarter as compared with other areas of the city and the greater region.

The most common definition of the French Quarter includes all the land stretching along the Mississippi River from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue (13 blocks) and inland to North Rampart Street (seven to nine blocks). It equals an area of 78 square blocks. Some definitions, such as city zoning laws, exclude the properties facing Canal Street, which had already been redeveloped by the time architectural preservation was considered, and the section between Decatur Street and the river, much of which had long served industrial and warehousing functions. Any alteration to structures in the remaining blocks is subject to review by the Vieux Carré Commission, which determines whether the proposal is appropriate for the historic character of the district. Its boundaries as defined by the City Planning Commission are: Esplanade Avenue to the north, the Mississippi River to the east, Canal Street, Decatur Street and Iberville Street to the south and the Basin Street, St. Louis Street and North Rampart Street to the west. The National Historic Landmark district is stated to be 85 square blocks. The Quarter is subdistrict of the French Quarter/CBD Area. Adjacent neighborhoods are: Faubourg Marigny (east), Mississippi River (south), Central Business District (west), Iberville (north), and Tremé (north).

When Anglophone Americans began to move in after the Louisiana Purchase, they mostly built on available land upriver, across modern-day Canal Street. This thoroughfare became the meeting place of two cultures, one Francophone Creole and the other Anglophone American. (Local landowners had retained architect and surveyor Barthelemy Lafon to subdivide their property to create an American suburb). The median of the wide boulevard became a place where the two contentious cultures could meet and do business in both French and English. As such, it became known as the “neutral ground”, and this name is used for medians in the New Orleans area. Even before the Civil War, French Creoles had become a minority in the French Quarter. In the late 19th century the Quarter became a less fashionable part of town, and many immigrants from southern Italy and Ireland settled there. (In 1905, the Italian consul estimated that one-third to one-half of the Quarter’s population were Italian-born or second generation Italian-Americans.)

Pontalba Buildings © Jan Kronsell/cc-by-sa-3.0 Jackson Square © Sami99tr/cc-by-sa-3.0 Example of late 18th-century Spanish architecture, built after the Great Fires of 1788 and 1794 © Elisa.rolle/cc-by-sa-3.0 Chartres Street between St. Philip and Dumaine © flickr.com - Ken Lund/cc-by-sa-2.0 Bourbon Street © Jan Kronsell/cc-by-sa-3.0 Bourbon Street © flickr.com - Lars Plougmann/cc-by-sa-2.0 Royal Street at Dumaine © Jan Kronsell/cc-by-sa-3.0
<
>
Example of late 18th-century Spanish architecture, built after the Great Fires of 1788 and 1794 © Elisa.rolle/cc-by-sa-3.0
In 1917, the closure of Storyville sent much of the vice formerly concentrated therein back into the French Quarter, which “for most of the remaining French Creole families … was the last straw, and they began to move uptown.” This, combined with the loss of the French Opera House two years later, provided a bookend to the era of French Creole culture in the Quarter. Many of the remaining French Creoles moved to the University area. In the early 20th century, the Quarter’s cheap rents and air of decay attracted a bohemian artistic community, a trend which became pronounced in the 1920s. Many of these new inhabitants were active in the first preservation efforts in the Quarter, which began around that time. As a result, the Vieux Carré Commission (VCC) was established in 1925. Although initially only an advisory body, a 1936 referendum to amend the Louisiana constitution afforded it a measure of regulatory power. It began to exercise more power in the 1940s to preserve and protect the district. Meanwhile, World War II brought thousands of servicemen and war workers to New Orleans as well as to the surrounding region’s military bases and shipyards. Many of these sojourners paid visits to the Vieux Carré. Although nightlife and vice had already begun to coalesce on Bourbon Street in the two decades following the closure of Storyville, the war produced a larger, more permanent presence of exotic, risqué, and often raucous entertainment on what became the city’s most famous strip. Years of repeated crackdowns on vice in Bourbon Street clubs, which took on new urgency under Mayor deLesseps Story Morrison, reached a crescendo with District Attorney Jim Garrison‘s raids in 1962, but Bourbon Street’s clubs were soon back in business.

The plan to construct an elevated Riverfront Expressway between the Mississippi River levee and the French Quarter consumed the attention of Vieux Carré preservationists through much of the 1960s. On December 21, 1965, the Vieux Carre Historic District was designated a National Historic Landmark. After waging a decade-long battle against the Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway that utilized the newly passed National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, preservationists and their allies forced the issue into federal court, eventually producing the cancellation of the freeway plan in 1969. The victory was important for the preservation of the French Quarter, but it was hardly the only challenge. Throughout the 1960s, new hotels opened regularly, often replacing large sections of the French Quarter. The VCC approved these structures as long as their designers adhered to prevailing exterior styles. Detractors, fearing that the Vieux Carré’s charm might be compromised by the introduction of too many new inns, lobbied successfully for passage in 1969 of a municipal ordinance that forbade new hotels within the district’s boundaries. However, the ordinance failed to stop the proliferation of timeshare condominiums and clandestine bed and breakfast inns throughout the French Quarter or high-rise hotels just outside its boundaries. In the 1980s, many long-term residents were driven away by rising rents, as property values rose dramatically with expectations of windfalls from the planned 1984 World’s Fair.

The neighborhood contains many restaurants, ranging from formal to casual, patronized by both visitors and locals. Some are well-known landmarks, such as Antoine’s and Tujague’s, which have been in business since the 19th century. Arnaud’s, Galatoire’s, Broussard’s, and Brennan’s are also venerable. Less historic—but also well-known—French Quarter restaurants include those run by chefs Paul Prudhomme (K-Paul’s), Emeril Lagasse (NOLA), and John Besh. Port of Call on Esplanade Avenue has been in business for more than 30 years, and is recognized for its popular “Monsoon” drink (their answer to the “Hurricane” at Pat O’Brien’s Bar) as well as for its food. The Gumbo Shop is another traditional eatery in the Quarter and where casual dress is acceptable. For a take-out lunch, Central Grocery on Decatur Street is the home of the original muffaletta Italian sandwich. The French Market is the oldest of its kind in the United States. It began where Café du Monde (famous for its beignets) currently stands and has been rebuilt and renovated a number of times.

Accommodations in the French Quarter range from large international chain hotels, to bed and breakfasts, to time-share condominiums and small guest houses with only one or two rooms (hotels on Canal Street). The Audubon Cottages are a collection of seven luxuriously-appointed Creole cottages, two of which were utilized by John James Audubon in the early 19th century when he worked in New Orleans for a short time. The Hotel St. Pierre is a small hotel also consisting of historic French Quarter houses, with a courtyard patio. The French Quarter is well known for its traditional-style hotels, such as the Bourbon Orleans, Hotel Monteleone (family-owned), Royal Sonesta, the Astor, and the Omni Royal Orleans. These hotels offer prime locations, beautiful views, and/or historic atmosphere.

Read more on FrenchQuarter.com, French Market, Wikitravel French Quarter, Wikivoyage French Quarter and Wikipedia French Quarter (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.








Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

The seaside resort of Dinard in Brittany

The seaside resort of Dinard in Brittany

[caption id="attachment_160657" align="aligncenter" width="590"] View towards the Atlantic Ocean © Joergsam[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Dinard is a commune in the Ille-et-Vilaine department in Brittany in northwestern France. Dinard is on the Côte d'Émeraude of Brittany. Its beaches and mild climate make it a popular holiday destination, and this has resulted in the town having a variety of famous visitors and residents. The towns of Pleurtuit and Saint-Malo are nearby and the Dinard Pleurtuit Saint-Malo Airport is about 4 km s...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Recife, the Venice of Brazil

Recife, the Venice of Brazil

[caption id="attachment_153667" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Recife and its bridges © flickr.com - Américo Nunes/cc-by-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Recife is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Brazil with 4,000,000 inhabitants, the largest metropolitan area of the North/Northeast Regions, the 5th-largest metropolitan influence area in Brazil, and the capital and largest city of the state of Pernambuco. The population of the city proper was 1,600,000 in 2012. Recife is located where the Beberibe River meets the...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Atlanta in Georgia

Atlanta in Georgia

[caption id="attachment_193193" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Piedmont Park and Downtown skyline © flickr.com - seanpinto/cc-by-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5.8 million people and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County and a small portion of the city extends eastward into DeKalb County. Atlanta was founded as a transportation hub at the intersection of two railroad lines in 1837. Aft...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Antalya on the Turkish Riviera

Antalya on the Turkish Riviera

[caption id="attachment_151015" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Erencet/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Antalya is a city on the Mediterranean coast of southwestern Turkey. It is Turkey's biggest international sea resort, located on the Turkish Riviera. In 2011 the city had a population of 964,886 and the metropolitan municipality 1,041,972. The Turkish Riviera is also the home for the internationally known Blue Voyage, which allows participants to enjoy a week-long trip on the locally built gulet type schooners to an...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation

[caption id="attachment_4522" align="alignleft" width="590" caption="© guggenheim.org"][/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1937 by philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim and his long-time art advisor, artist Hilla von Rebay. The foundation is a leading institution for the collection, preservation, and research of modern and contemporary art and operates several museums around the world. The first museum established by the foundation was The Museum of Non-Objective...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Theme Week Berlin - Sony Center

Theme Week Berlin - Sony Center

[caption id="attachment_146321" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Joaquin Casares[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]At Potsdamer Platz, the originally bustling heart of old Berlin, the Sony Center and the buildings in the surrounding brought the district back to life. Events, concerts, film premieres and lots more are great reasons to revisit and rediscover the Sony Center over and over again. The Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz, home to the corporation’s European headquarters, consists of an ensemble of buildings surrounding...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Theme Week New Zealand - Wellington

Theme Week New Zealand - Wellington

[caption id="attachment_150752" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Wellington Harbour © flickr.com - margaritanitz[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Wellington is the capital city and third most populous urban area of New Zealand. It is at the southwestern tip of the North Island, between Cook Strait and the Rimutaka Range. It is home to 389,700 residents. The Wellington urban area is the major population centre of the southern North Island, and is the seat of the Wellington Region – which in addition to the urban area covers t...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

The Erzgebirge in Ore Mountains

The Erzgebirge in Ore Mountains

[caption id="attachment_160977" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Weather Station on Fichtelberg © Wikijunkie/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Ore Mountains in Central Europe have formed a natural border between Saxony and Bohemia for many centuries. Today, the border between Germany and the Czech Republic runs just north of the main crest of the mountain range. The highest peaks are the Klínovec and the Fichtelberg. The area played an important role as the setting of the earliest stages of the early modern transforma...

[ read more/mehr lesen ]

Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲
Municipal Palace in the Plaza Grande © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0
Theme Week Ecuador – Quito

Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350...

Centro Histórico © flickr.com - amalavida.tv/cc-by-sa-2.0
Theme Week Ecuador – Cuenca

The city of Cuenca — in full, Santa Ana de los Cuatro Ríos de Cuenca — is the capital of...

© Myrabella/cc-by-sa-3.0
Piazza Navona in Rome

Piazza Navona is a square in Rome. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in...

Schließen