Cabildo and Presbytere - Louisiana State Museum, New Orleans

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701 Chartres Street 800-568-6968 or 504-568-6968

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    Fats Domino's Piano
    by JessieLang
  • Cabildo and Presbytere - Louisiana State Museum
    by JessieLang
  • Cabildo and Presbytere - Louisiana State Museum
    by JessieLang
  • Paul2001's Profile Photo

    The Cabildo

    by Paul2001 Written Jan 8, 2014

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    The Cabildo from Jackson Square
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    The Cabildo was built by the Spanish in the late 1790's as their seat of government. It was the site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 of the transfer. Today it houses a very fine museum dedicated to the history of Louisiana. There are exhibits here detailing the lives of the Pre-Columbian Native Americans, the arrival of Europeans (with their slaves) to the region, the American Civil War and reconstruction. The museum also hosts an interesting account of the roots of Rock and Roll in the region entitled Unsung Heroes: The Secret History of Rock 'n Roll. One of the oddities I found in the museum is the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte.
    It cost $6 to visit the Cabilbo but if you pay $9 you can visit The Presbytère which is on the other side of the St. Louis Cathedral.
    The Cabildo is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

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    Louisiana State Museum—the Presbytere

    by JessieLang Written Jul 17, 2013
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    The Presbytere, built in 1790, was originally a commercial building, and later was used as a courthouse. It became a state museum in 1911.

    The entire first floor of the museum is dedicated to Hurricane Katrina. One room was dedicated to the system of levees and pumps, and how they failed. In addition to the standard exhibits with pictures, signs and statistics, there was a lot of first-hand information. One room has taped stories by survivors—hospital patients, rescuers, people that were stranded on the bridge and shot at, and even one delusional guy who was convinced Air Force One was coming to pick him up. Another room had benches in front of 3 big screens with videos on a continuous loop. One video showed the oncoming hurricane through a car windshield; in another, a trapped dog looked out through a hole in the roof of a home. I sat for a while and watched the scenes unfold.

    The second floor was more cheerful—It was all about Mardi Gras history and customs. There were rooms dedicated to each aspect of it—costumes, krewes, balls, parades, etc.—all with good explanatory signs. The doors to the restrooms on this floor were designed to look like Porta-Potties.

    Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10-4:30. Admission: $6 ($5 for seniors.)

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    Louisiana State Museum—the Cabildo

    by JessieLang Written Jul 17, 2013
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    The Cabildo was built in the 1790s as the seat of the Spanish Colonial government, and was used for that purpose until the Louisiana Purchase agreement was signed there in 1803. After that it became a courthouse and then a city hall, and eventually a history museum.

    There are 3 floors, with elevator access between them.
    The first floor has earlier history—Indian tribes, exploration, and colonization.

    The second floor covers various rebellions, the Louisiana Purchase, and the war of 1812. There is also a room with information on the groups who were here, as well as entertainment and burial customs, etc.

    Room 2A (which is between floors 2 & 3) is one long room with the history of Louisiana rock & roll.

    The third floor covers the Civil War, reconstruction, slavery, and plantation life.

    Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 9-5. Admission - $6 ($5 for Seniors)
    701 Chartres St

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  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    New Orleans's past and present

    by Jefie Updated Jun 25, 2011

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    The Presbytere (Louisiana State Museum)
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    The Cabildo and Presbytere, built on either side of St. Louis Cathedral, both date back to the end of the 18th century. The Cabildo's original purpose was to serve as the seat of the Spanish government in New Orleans and it was also used as a courtroom. Another one of its claims to fame is that one of the official ceremonies surrounding the Louisiana Purchase Treaty took place there on December 20, 1803. As for the Presbytere, it was originally built to house the clergy, but in the end it took on a commercial purpose. Despite their stately architecture, neither building had quite the glorious history one would imagine them to have - at some point the authorities even thought about demolishing the Cabildo because it had been left to fall in a bad state of disrepair. In 1911, both buildings were saved when they became part of the Louisiana State Museum. While the Cabildo is dedicated to the fascinating history of New Orleans (it's possible to see, among other interesting artefacts, Napoleon's death mask), the Presbytere has more to do with the city's culture. An entire floor is dedicated to the colourful traditions surrounding Mardi Gras in New Orleans, and a new exhibition on Hurricane Katrina opened just a few months ago. For me, that exhibition alone was worth the price of admission - I was moved to tears as I recalled the horrible events that took place in 2005, but I also smiled quite a few times when faced with examples of the citizens' contagious sense of humour and outstanding sense of community. A good place to go to get a good sense of New Orleans, then and now!

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    What all the fuss is about

    by goodfish Updated May 2, 2011

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    Costume
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    Flanking one side of St. Louis Cathedral (the Cabildo is on the other side) is the Presbytere - a building constructed in the late 1700's as housing for the local priests and monks (but that didn't happen). Today it's the home of a fascinating Mardi Gras museum that explores the history and traditions of a festival with roots as far back as ancient Rome. Exhibits include costumes, masks, throws, photos and other memorabilia from New Orleans' carnivals as well as a self-guided narration about the origins and significance of everything from King Cakes to crewes. Interesting and fun! See the website for ticket prices either individually or in combo with other New Orleans Louisiana State Museum properties.

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    The Mardi Gras Museum @ The Presbytere

    by ChicagoGuy Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Let the good times roll!

    The Presbytere got its name from that fact that it was suppose to house monks. The building dates from 1791. To my knowledge, the monks never made it but it has an around the year Mardi Gras exhibit. It tells you the history of carnival from Europe to Louisiana to New Orleans. Learning about how the Cajuns celebrate is fascinating.

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    Presbytere museum

    by mindcrime Updated Dec 24, 2010

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    Presbytere museum

    Unfortunatelly, Presbytere museum(pic 5) was under renovation so we didn’t have the chance to check it.

    It’s dedicated to Mardi Grass festival and as we didn’t visit New Orleans during Mardi Grass carnival it would be nice to get/learn some details about this popular event which brings thousands of visitors in the city to celebrate, dance and drink. The museum (according to my guidebook) houses a lot of exhibits like pictures, costumes, masks etc from the carnival

    Actually Mardi Grass means Fat Tuesday!! It’s because after that day the catholics suppose to go into Lent period where no meat allowed.

    The building of the museum was built in 1791 in same style with the Cabildo which is located at the other side of the Cathedral. Presbytere was supposed to house catholic monks first but then it turned into a court. It was originally called Casa Curial(Ecclesiastical House)

    Presbytere museum is open 10.00-16.30 and the entrance fee is $6

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  • mindcrime's Profile Photo

    Cabildo museum

    by mindcrime Written Dec 24, 2010

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    Cabildo museum
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    We didn’t see many museums in New Orleans but Cabildo was one of them that we really enjoyed visiting. It’s located right at Jackson sq, it’s not very big and you can easily stroll through the history of New Orleans through it. It was here that France singed the transfer of Louisiana to USA in 1803.

    At the first halls you see how the local life was in the area since the era when native Americans lived here (pic3) but there is a lot of information on the signs next to each item, many old archives, paintings, the old Louisiana banknotes(10dollar notes known as dix, which is ten in french and that’s why we know Dixieland!), photos and posters (pic 5 advertize a slave bazaar!) and even a Napoleon’s death mask! (pic 4). Three floors full of history!

    The building was built in 1779 but destroyed during the fire and was rebuilt in 1799. It housed the capitol house, in our days is part of the Lousiana State Museum (there are other buildings too). A fire destroyed a big part of the museum in 1988 but it opened again 6 years later.

    Cabidlo is open 10.00-16.30 and the entrance fee is $6

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  • doug48's Profile Photo

    the cabildo

    by doug48 Updated Oct 29, 2010

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    the cabildo

    the cabildo was built in 1799 and was originally called the the casa capitular (capitol house). this historic building was the site of the transfer of louisiana from france to the united states in 1803. the cabildo was extensively remodeled in the 1840's. today the cabilda is home to the louisiana state museum. the louisiana state museum is housed in five historic buildings in the french quarter. the collections of the museum focus on louisiana history and culture. a very interesting museum to visit when in new orleans.

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  • apbeaches's Profile Photo

    The Cabhido

    by apbeaches Updated Apr 3, 2010

    The 1750's French Police Station was the statehouse of the Spanish governing body. The Lousiana Purchase was signed in a room on the seconds floor in 1803. We purchased tee shirts from a vending machine outside. There was a cafe outside and men in orange prison work shirts cleaning up all around.

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  • VeronicaG's Profile Photo

    A Taste of Mardi Gras

    by VeronicaG Updated Dec 9, 2008

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    Mardi Gras at the Museum
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    For a taste of the Mardi Gras any time of the year, visit The Louisiana State Museum, housed in the Presbytere, a National Historic Landmark. Learn about the celebration's roots and see the flamboyant costumes worn through the years. For those of us who haven't experienced Mardi Gras, it is an opportunity to learn more about this popular event.

    The Presbytere was designed in 1791 to complement the Town Hall's (or Calbido) design. These two structures sit on either side of the majestic St. Louis Cathedral and all were constructed due to the generous financing of Don Andres Almonester y Roxas.

    The building, used at first for commercial enterprises, became a courthouse in 1834 and was utilized as such until 1911 when it became part of the Louisiana State museum.

    Hours are Tues.-Sun./ 9am-5pm; closed Mondays and holidays. Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for students, seniors and active military; 12 and under free

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    Presbytere's Mardi Gras Museum

    by Tom_Fields Written Dec 17, 2006

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    Entrance to the Mardi Gras Museum
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    The word "presbytere" is derived from the French word for "monastery". Originally called the Casa Curial, this was the residence of Catholic monks in the late 18th century. Later, it was used as a courthouse. In 1911, it was added to the Louisiana State Museum.

    The best exhibit here deals with the annual Mardi Gras carnival. Mardi Gras means "Fat Tuesday"; this is the last day before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. During Lent, Catholics are expected to give up something (often meat). So the purpose of Mardi Gras is to enjoy oneself, and have plenty of things to give up.

    This is an excellent place to learn about Mardi Gras, for those who cannot actually be there for it.

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    Learn About New Orleans at the Cabildo

    by Tom_Fields Written Dec 17, 2006

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    The Cabildo
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    Completed in 1799, this building was the seat of Spanish government in colonial New Orleans. In the Council Room, the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803. Comprising not only present-day Louisiana, but also most of the mid-section of America, this more than doubled the size of the United States. Later, the Louisiana Supreme Court met here. It became the Louisiana State Museum in 1911.

    Of particular interest are the old Louisiana banknotes. The 10-dollar note became known as the "dix" ("dix" is French for "ten"). This is where we get the word "dixie".

    One thing that always intrigues visitors here is the apparent pre-occupation with death and mourning. New Orleans is known for its jazz funerals. The real point is to make the most of life while you can; no one guarantees that you'll live to see another day.

    Damaged by fire in 1988, it was carefully restored by 1994. With hundreds of exhibits on Louisiana history and culture, this is the ideal starting point for a visit to the city.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Take a history lesson at the Cabildo

    by goodfish Updated Sep 15, 2005

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    The Cabildo - New Orleans
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    Flanking the left side of St, Louis Cathedral and overlooking Jackson Square is the structure that once housed the colonial governing body. The first structure, built by the Spanish in 1779, burned in a fire and was rebuilt in 1799. Louisiana and/or its territory was managed from the current building by the French, then the Spanish, then again the French, the United States, the Confederate States and, finally, the United States again. Whew - what a turnover of landlords! Today it is a terrific museum that illustrates, over three floors, the evolution of Louisiana from Native American settlements to French colony, Spanish/French rule to American territory, and statehood to Civil War. There are many exhibits of interesting and well-explained artifacts from the different cultures, periods and events that have contributed to Louisiana's unique story. Of special note is the council room (Sala Capitular) on the 2nd floor in which the Louisiana Purchase was signed (see pix). They also have a death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte. Elevators to all floors make the museum fully wheelchair-accessible.

    You can spend hours here if you like history! The Cabildo is only one of 5 buildings comprising the Louisiana State Museum of NOLA so visit their website for info and visiting hours for all of the properties. Ticket prices are also best resourced on their site as they vary widely depending on single ticket, combo ticket, combo or single with coupon, etc. This is a very good activity for a rainy or oppressively hot day.

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  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo

    Cabildo and Presbytere

    by jadedmuse Written Aug 7, 2004

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    Cabildo & Presbytere, nex to Cathedral

    The Cabildo was originally built for the Spanish government in New Orleans, then later housed the Louisiana Supreme Court. It is also where the Louisiana Purchase transfer took place.

    The Presbytere is now the permanent home of the exhibit "Mardi Gras: It's Carnival Time in Louisiana". Other exhibits are routinely held there as well.

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