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 .
New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans in French) was founded in 1718
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
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. It is both a prime tourist destination
and attractive for local residents.
Because of its distance from areas where the levees were breached
Hurricane Katrina (2005) as well as the strength and height of
the nearest river levees in contrast to other waterway levees or flood
walls , Katrina flood damage was relatively light in the Quarter as
compared with other areas of the city and the greater region.
* 1 Geography
* 1.1 Boundaries
* 1.2 Adjacent neighborhoods
* 2 Demographics
* 3 18th and 19th centuries
* 4 20th century and beyond
* 4.1 Effect of
* 5 Landmarks and attractions
* 5.1 Restaurants
* 5.2 Hotels
* 6 See also
* 7 References
* 8 External links
French Quarter is located at 29°57′31″N 90°03′54″W /
29.95861°N 90.06500°W / 29.95861; -90.06500 and has an
elevation of 1 foot (0.3 m). According to the
United States Census
Bureau , the district has a total area of 0.66 square miles (1.7 km2).
0.49 square miles (1.3 km2) of which is land and 0.17 square miles
(0.4 km2) (25.76%) of which is water.
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.
National Historic Landmark district is stated to be 85 square
blocks. The Quarter is subdistrict of the French Quarter/CBD Area.
Neighborhoods in New Orleans
Faubourg Marigny (east)
Mississippi River (south)
* Central Business District (west)
* Iberville (north)
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,176 people, 2,908 households,
and 509 families residing in the neighborhood. The population density
was 8,523 /mi² (3,212 /km²).
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,813 people, 2,635 households,
and 549 families residing in the neighborhood.
18TH AND 19TH CENTURIES
Many of the buildings date from before 1803, when
New Orleans was
acquired by the
United States in the
Louisiana Purchase, although
19th-century and early 20th-century buildings were added to the area.
Since the 1920s, the historic buildings have been protected by law and
cannot be demolished; and any renovations or new construction in the
neighborhood must be carried out in accordance with city regulations,
preserving the historic architectural style. Elaborate ironwork
galleries on the corner of Royal and St. Peter streets
Most of the French Quarter's architecture was built during the late
18th century and the period of Spanish rule over the city, which is
reflected in the architecture of the neighborhood. The Great New
Orleans Fire (1788) and another great fire in 1794 destroyed most of
the Quarter's old French colonial architecture, leaving the colony's
new Spanish overlords to rebuild it according to more modern tastes.
Their strict new fire codes mandated that all structures be physically
adjacent and close to the curb to create a firewall. The old French
peaked roofs were replaced with flat tiled ones, and wooden siding was
banned in favor of fire-resistant stucco , painted in the pastel hues
fashionable at the time. As a result, colorful walls and roofs and
elaborately decorated ironwork balconies and galleries, from the late
18th and the early 19th centuries, abound. (In southeast Louisiana, a
distinction is made between "balconies", which are self-supporting and
attached to the side of the building, and "galleries," which are
supported from the ground by poles or columns.) The balconies and
windows are an example of late 18th-century Spanish architecture built
after the Great Fires of 1788 and 1794 .
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
there. (In 1905, the Italian consul estimated that one-third to
one-half of the Quarter’s population were Italian-born or second
20TH CENTURY AND BEYOND
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. The Rue Bourbon, or Bourbon
Street , was named for the former ruling dynasty of France.
World War II
World War II brought thousands of servicemen and war
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
Louisiana Supreme Court Building
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
Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway
Vieux Carré Riverfront Expressway that utilized the newly
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 .
EFFECT OF HURRICANE KATRINA
Main article: Effects of
Hurricane Katrina on
As with other parts of the city developed before the late 19th
century, and on higher land predating New Orleans' levee systems, the
French Quarter remained substantially dry following Hurricane Katrina.
Its elevation is five feet (1.5 m) above sea level. Some streets had
minor flooding, and several buildings suffered significant wind
damage. Most of the major landmarks suffered only minor damage. In
addition, the Quarter largely escaped the looting and violence that
occurred after the storm; nearly all of the antique shops and art
galleries in the French Quarter, for example, were untouched.
Ray Nagin officially reopened the
French Quarter on September
26, 2005 (almost a month after the storm), for business owners to
inspect their property and clean up. Within a few weeks, a large
French Quarter businesses had reopened. The Historic New
Orleans Collection 's Williams Research Center Annex was the first new
construction completed in the
French Quarter after Hurricane Katrina.
In September 2015, SBP (a disaster relief organization that began
after the hurricane), broke ground its new headquarters, moving from
Chalmette to a 25,000-square-foot former salvage company on Toulouse
Street as part of a $7.2 million relocation effort. The organization
moved into its new space in May 2016. The building is also serves as
the national hub for the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Lab.
LANDMARKS AND ATTRACTIONS
* 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
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 .
See also: Canal Street,
New Orleans § Hotels
* 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.
* 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.
Hotel St. Pierre is a small hotel also consisting of historic
French Quarter houses, with a courtyard patio.
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.
New Orleans portal
* Buildings and architecture of
French Quarter Festival , early April
* Jackson Square
* List of streets of
Louisiana Creole cuisine
Satchmo SummerFest , early August
* List of National Historic Landmarks in
National Register of Historic Places listings in Orleans Parish,
National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register
Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National
* ^ A B C "Vieux Carre Historic District". National Historic
Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
French Quarter History, Architecture and Pictures
* ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-30.
* ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States
Census Bureau . 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
* ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".
United States Geological Survey
. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
* ^ Greater
New Orleans Community Data Center. "French Quarter
Neighborhood". Retrieved 2008-06-21.
* ^ A B Patricia Heintzelman (February 1975). "National Register of
Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Vieux Carré Historic District"
(PDF). National Park Service.
* ^ A B "
French Quarter Neighborhood". Greater New Orleans
Community Data Center. Retrieved 5 January 2012.
* ^ Ellis, Scott S. (2010). Madame Vieux Carré: the French Quarter
in the Twentieth Century. University of Mississippi. p. 7. ISBN
* ^ Madame Vieux Carré, p. 20-21
* ^ Madame Vieux Carré, p. 21
New Orleans 1900 to 1920 by Mary Lou Widmer. Pelican
Publishing: 2007. ISBN 1-58980-401-5 pg 23
* ^ Madame Vieux Carré, p. 24
* ^ Madame Vieux Carré, p. 43
* ^ Souther, J. Mark. "
New Orleans on Parade: Tourism and the
Transformation of the Crescent City." Baton Rouge:
University Press, 2013. pp. 41-50.
* ^ Souther, "
New Orleans on Parade," pp. 66-71
* ^ Souther, "
New Orleans on Parade," pp. 54-63, 203
* ^ "Officials rescue Katrina\'s survivors amid \'chaos\'".
Archived from the original on September 11, 2005. Retrieved
2016-01-29. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link ) By
Rick Wilking, Wed Aug 31, 2005, retrieved on 2009-11-27.
* ^ FrenchQuarter.com: The Essential Guide to New Orleans\' Oldest
Neighborhood Archived 2005-11-04 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ Rosenblatt, Susannah; Rainey, James (September 27, 2005).
"Katrina Takes a Toll on Truth, News Accuracy – Los Angeles Times".
Los Angeles Times.
* ^ THNOC - WRC Addition
* ^ A B Shannon, Robin (September 9, 2015). "Disaster recovery
nonprofit plans new Mid-City headquarters".
New Orleans CityBusiness
* ^ Hodges, Quincy (May 19, 2016). "St. Bernard Project looks for
tenants in new space".
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Wikimedia Commons has