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  • Ellen Mirro

Vieux Carré (French Quarter)

More snapshots from our visit to New Orleans during the AIA convention, this time of Vieux Carré, also known as the French Quarter. The French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans and is one of about twenty National Historic Districts in this amazing city. The French Quarter is one of America’s highly distinctive historic neighborhoods, and it certainly remains vibrant today.

It is interesting to note than many of the buildings in the French Quarter were built before New Orleans became part of the United States in 1803, as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The colonial French settlement was established in 1718 by the French Mississippi Company, lead by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. In 1788, a great fire destroyed most of the original French colonial buildings, and most of the extant 18th century buildings in the French Quarter were built after this fire, during a period of Spanish rule (1763 to 1801). Thus, many French Quarter buildings may show Spanish influences. New Orleans briefly was returned to French rule from 1801 to 1803.

The French Quarter’s rich architectural heritage also includes buildings by Benjamin-Henry Latrobe, who is considered America’s first formally-trained, professional architect. Latrobe and his son both worked on projects in the French Quarter between about 1807 and 1820. Buildings by the elder Latrobe around the French Quarter include the New Orleans Customs House (1807) and the central tower of St. Louis Cathedral.

The French Quarter is famous for its restaurants and lively nightlife, as well as its historic architecture. Actually, the Quarter seems lively 24 hours a day, and is wonderfully fun to visit!

Check back week after next for another post on New Orleans.

Royal Street

Colorful shops and residences in the French Quarter

Evening street scene from Arnaud’s restaurant balcony

Off-hours interior view of Arnaud’s, one the district’s historic fine dining establishments

Bourbon Street on a weeknight

Residence along Esplanade Avenue, along the edge of the French Quarter

Sunny morning in Jackson Square, looking toward statue of Andrew Jackson. St. Louis cathedral, shown in my first 2011 New Orleans post, fronts onto Jackson Square

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