New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood is located on a crescent of the Mississippi River and is one of the highest point of land in the city. Known as the cultural hub of New Orleans, the heart of its history and artistic scene, is the French Quarter, known to locals as the Quarter. This district has historical landmark distinction, which was awarded in 1965.
Throughout its history, this warm and welcoming community has inspired artists and musicians to create some of the most famous works in American music, art and literature. Fresh artistic infusions from outside world, including Hollywood, help keep the French Quarter relevant. Yet, it is the year round residents that really keep the vibrancy of New Orleans alive.
New Orleans showcases a mix of cultures
Architecturally, New Orleans showcases a mix of cultures, including French, Creole, Spanish and American. Cast iron balconies came into fashion in the 1850s, when Baroness Pontabla added them to her row houses outside of Jackson Square. These distinctive balconies provide an exclusive architectural touch. The Gallier House was designed and built by James Gallier, who is one of New Orleans most famous architects. His design for the Gallier House provides a beautiful example of how culture and architecture are fused within the city itself.
For those who love shopping for the exotic, New Orleans’ Royal Street provides plenty of one of a kind boutique shops and galleries. Browse through art from local artists as well as unique antiques. Charles Street provides more contemporary shopping, including clothes, shoes and accessories. The French Market was revamped from a 1920s Italian Market and has become a treasure trove of distinctive artistic pieces.
The French Quarter
Of course, the French Quarter would not be complete without the music. Visitors from all over the world associate New Orleans with American Jazz and Blues. Corners are filled with local musicians, providing a soundtrack to the rhythm of New Orleans.
Food is also a huge draw, as the French Quarter houses some of the best places to find the unique blend of Creole and Cajun cuisine. Gumbo is available everywhere, with various blends that provide a kick of spice with every bite. The unique flavors are captured at such restaurants as Antoine’s and Tujague’s, both of which have been in business since the 19th century.
Bourbon Street is famous not only for the variety of food, but also the diversity of alcoholic drinks available. For example, the Jax Brewery is the original home of a local brew. The French Quarter is also one of the few areas where open containers of alcohol and its consumption are allowed on the street. Distinctive drinks are created by the various bars, each hoping to outdo the others.
Real estate prices throughout the French Quarter have gone up, reflecting the development as the area began to reflect a more tourist bent. Local artists and others were priced out of the district. Yet, their mark is still prevalent on street corners where musicians ply their trade for the public.
Truly, the French Quarter combines a rich sense of history with an artistic flavor. Those who love the original and distinct will fall in love with the French Quarter, where it combines several cultures to create a completely new and diverse one.