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Soaking up the atmosphere
Walk the Quarter and imagine yourself back in time, at a slower pace, absorbing not only the sights but the pungent smells and the sounds of the jazz music played on the river banks and the calliope, and the ships horns blown in the distance. Take a trip to the top of the Trade Mart to the revolving bar at sunset so you have a view of the city in daylight and in darkness then go on the free pedestrian ferry across the river the Algiers Point to get another perspective of New Orleans and the best view of the river.
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- Historical Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Wrought Iron in the Quarter
Wrought iron balconies lining the narrow streets of New Orleans historic Vieux Carré are one of the French Quarter's most prominent and memorable features.
A French Quarter balcony often serves as a means of expression for the buildings inhabitants. Balconies frequently resemble a tropical garden teaming with ivy, bromelaids, begonias and ferns. Others use their elevated display cases to exhibit personal treasures — everything from art to suits of armor.
The adjective most often used to describe New Orleans French Quarter balconies is lacy. Lacy wrought iron strikes me as an oxymoron, but the unique characteristics of wrought iron, especially its strength, resistance to rust and malleability do make wrought iron the ideal material for balconies and other ornamental ironwork.
The French Quarter
As soon as we got to New Orleans we went to our hotel located in the Garden District . dropped off our bags and headed off to the French Quarter. At first we drove around to see where we wanted to be then we parked the car and walked around. It was still pretty early when we got there and some places were just beginning to open. We walked a few blocks in every direction. I loved this area. Everyone knows or has heard of Bourbon Street but the French Quarter is much more than just that.
There are some beautiful homes, lots of small shops, and tons of balconies.
Many people thought that the French Quarter was affected during hurricane Katrina but it was mostly spared because it sits on high ground.
There's tons of entertainments and restaurants here. And of course lots of history.
French Quarter Festival
It’s “The World’s Largest Block Party” and you’re invited. It’s open to everyone and there is something for everyone -- from kids to adults. The annual French Quarter Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2008.
From Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13 you can enjoy 250 hours of free entertainment, featuring more than 150 musical performances on fifteen stages throughout the French Quarter. Nearly 60 food and beverage booths located in Jackson Square, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, and elsewhere will make up the “World's Largest Jazz Brunch,” a signature event featuring authentic local cuisine from renowned area restaurants.
For an entire weekend the French Quarter is magically transformed into a vast outdoor mall offering the best in local musical entertainment, culinary delights and colorful, imaginative works of art that capture the joie de vivre (joy of life) that makes New Orleans the unique place it is. While enjoying the sounds of New Orleans music and the tastes of New Orleans’ celebrated cuisine, you can also enjoy the sights at your own pace. Our centuries-old French and Spanish architecture, with iron lace balconies looking out over Royal, Bourbon and other famous streets, is renowned the world over. You can take it all in on foot, which is the best way to really absorb it, and if you want to take the memories home with you, our talented artists have their works for sale on Jackson Square or in the galleries of Royal Street.
Next Generation Brass Band
If you're in the Fench Quarter on a nice evening stop at the corner of Bourbon and Canal and check out a group of young musicians playing for tips. The Next Generation Brass Band plays loud and proud outside the Foot Locker store. Full of horns and percussion the music is entertaining and usually draws a crowd. They are very talented and I assume they are also trying to be noticed by the heavily influential music industry in New Orleans.
- Theater Travel
St. Joseph's Day Parade in the French Quarter
After a scrumptious dinner at Fire of Brazil, we headed out to watch the St. Joseph’s Day Parade.
If you have never experienced parades in New Orleans, but aren't sure that Mardi Gras is for you, or if you're looking for a more family-oriented experience, consider going around St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day. Recently, we enjoyed the St. Joseph's Day parade in the French Quarter.
Our daughters got lots of great throws and a few kisses on the cheek from some cute drunken Italian boys. There was a great marching band, and lots of beautiful little girls on floats. One little girl really stood out. While all of her friends on the float were standing still, with the painted on smiles and the parade waves, this girl was getting down…I mean she was dancing to beat the band! Probably about 8-10 years old, and cute as a button. While all of her cohorts stood by watching incredulously, this girl really let loose. Very cute.
We had a great time and took home a bag of great beads and other throws. One of the Italian Marchers gave my daughter the bag he was carrying throws in. Pretty Cool!
The parade started at 6:00, and was still going on when we finished a Vampire Tour at 10:30!
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
The French Quarter
The French Quarter is New Orleans' oldest and most lively neighborhood. This area was originally founded by the French in 1718 then taken over by Spain in 1763. Major fires burned much of the city in 1788 and 1794, making much of the old-European style architecture from the early 1800s. The oldest buildings that survive today were built in 1727; they are the old Ursuline Convent and and Madame John's Legacy.
The most famous street in New Orleans is certainly Bourbon Street with its 24/7 party atmosphere along with live jazz, strip shows, restaurants and hotels. Perhaps more impressive is Royal Street, long the most fashionable address in the French Quarter and home to countless historical structures with amazing wrought iron railings and balconies.
Music is the art of choice in the French Quarter, as this is where jazz was born. Bourbon Street has several jazz venues such as the Famous Door, the Storyville District, and Fritzels European Jazz Pub, while other musical interests can be found throughout this section of the city. Music is not the only art available as fine art and antiques can be found on Royal Street and street artists are common around Jackson Square.
What would the French Quarter be without its Creole and Cajun food? Creole is a mix of French, Spanish, and African influences and features rish dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller, Bananas Foster, and Shrimp Remoulade. For authentic Creole in a casual atmosphere try the Gumbo Shop and Napoleon House; the more formal establishments include Galatoire's and Antoine's. Cajun food is considered slightly lower class than Creole, but in my opinion it is even better offering such tasty dishes as jambalaya, andouille sausage, gumbo, etoufee, dirty rice, and crawfish boils.
Other things to do and see in the French Quarter are the Riverwalk, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, Louis Armstrong Park, and the French Market.
You Have To See It To Believe It
This playground for adults has more to it than just bars. As one of the oldest cities in the US that has bounced from one European empire to another, it has more history concentrated in this few block area than most U.S. cities will ever have. To learn about the real New Orleans, you really must take a tour. Most tours will run you from $10-$20, but there are some free tours. Download a free Geogad French Quarter tour to your favorite MP3 player (www.geogad.com). Another free option is the free guided walking tours from the Jean Lafitte National Park (http://www.nps.gov/jela/french-quarter-site.htm), but they quickly fill up and you have to show up first thing in the morning at least half and hour before they open to reserve a place, if you are lucky. Jackson Square is a green patch among these crowded streets that is great for sunbathing. When it gets too hot, stop by the Cabildo museum to learn more about New Orleans history, and its virtual twin, the Presbytere, to view the Mardi Gras Museum. Don’t forget the free jazz concerts located near the old French Markets (http://www.nps.gov/jazz), which is like a hands-on and ears-on jazz experience that compliments the Jazz Museum, which is housed at the old U.S. Mint. Due to Hurricane Katrina, the Old Mint is closed for repairs.
But of the all the things that you have to do, the most enjoyable is sampling the local food. Food in New Orleans is respected by everyone. Almost every person raised around New Orleans has a dish that they make that they are extremely proud of. You can imagine how good the chefs have to be in a city that loves food this much. Check out great restaurants for top-of-the-line like K Paul’s for great Cajan and Creole, the Acme Oyster House for fresh oysters, the Central Grocery for huge Italian muffuletta sandwiches, and save room for coffee and beignets at that French Quarter institution, Cafe du Monde. Open 24 hours, it serves this deep fried, powered sugar-covered treats. For late night drinks, try an original Hurricane from Pat O’Briens.
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
French Quarter Architecture by Daylight
The narrow streets and cramped buildings can make photography difficult, so as soon as you've had your latte and beignet, wander the streets aimlessly. A full day plus some can be spend wandering the French Quarter looking at the mostly Spanish style facades with ornate ironwork. The French Street names are on the signs, but many buildings have the Spanish occupation names as well.
- Hiking and Walking
This is a beautiful historic center that most people associate with New Orleans. The buildings here date to the times when this city was under French and Spanish rule. Many of them are well maintained and a joy to see. There are a lot of great restaurants and bars here, and every year this area becomes the centerpoint of the carnival Mardi Gras.
Dazzling Floors in French Quarter
Don't ask me why I even bothered to look down - NO I was not fall down drunk either. At least not when I took this picture. The floors in many stores and bars in the French Quarter have these incredible tile designs. Many are made out of glass and bottles. This particular one was in a Fat Tuesday type of bar with the frozen drinks. The pool design was created with Malibu rum bottles! This one was on Bourbon Street but I noticed others through out the French Quarter.
Walk, Gawk, and Drop
There are so many things to see in the French Quarter. Every corner brought a whole new street to explore. There were times I walked down the same street more than once but it looked different everytime because there was so much to see. Oh my aching feet!
- Historical Travel
The heart of New Orleans, the French Quarter
One of the most charming (but also wildest) area in the US is located in the heart of New Orleans: "the French Quarter" also known in French as "le Vieux Carre", tthe old square (as in square shapped), a rectangular area neighbourhood that has Bourbon Street as a main axis. This landmark of New Orleans has architecture you’ll find nowhere else in the country with its little houses ornated with iron balconies, patios, hidden courtyards… Funny detail… it should really be called the "Spanish Quarter" because the city was almost completely destroyed by 2 fires in 1788 and 1794 when it was under Spanish rule. The Governor, Don Francisco Luis Hector, had it rebuilt in Spanish style and most of the buildings in the French Quarter were built at that time. Since its creation, New Orleans had a reputation of being a very tolerant city… maybe a little much for certains and you can witness it during Mardi Gras but also, every night on Bourbon Street. So… you’ve been warned. If seeing young ladies take off their shirts and bras so they can get a plastic beads from unknown guys who are having a drink on one of the balconies… if feeling like you're in a live edition of "Girls Gone Wild" is not your cup of tea, try to avoid the area during the night and especially the week-end. I think you can put that on account of the “Hurricane” the local cocktai, that you can recognize easily thanks to its red colour and it should be served in a glass that vaguely looks like a giant champagne flute.
Look for hidden courtyards in the French Quarter
If you can swing it, try to catch a glimpse into an actual residential courtyard. This is not easy to do, and the buildings themselves are so often deceiving from the outside. But if you catch a resident opening up the gate, ask if you can take a peek inside - you'll be stunned to see a fountain with running water and lush vegetation and bougainvillea spilling out from every balcony facing into the interior courtyard - it's like something out of a movie, and everything you'd secretly imagined a French Quarter courtyard to be.
A friend of mine was renting one such apartment on Royal Street, and I had the privilege of watching it while he was on vacation one time. It was a thrill to turn the key in the gate and open it up to a secret garden inside...I felt transported back in time! My mother and sister were visiting me during that summer and I brought them there to see for themselves how charming life in the French Quarter could be, once you get past the lewdness of the superficial.
Appreciate the French Quarter by day
Established in 1718 by the French as a military outpost, the French Quarter passed into Spanish hands about half way through the 18th century. Soon thereafter, the Americans took over (thanks to the Louisiana Purchase, mon dieu, what a bargain for us!!!)
One of the most ironic things about the French Quarter is that it is (architecturally speaking), more Spanish and American than it is French! It is also one of the most widely recognized places simply by seeing a photograph of one of its narrow streets. The architecture is reknown for its colorful and close-knit buildings with wooden doors, shuttered windows and the beautiful iron balconies, many with plants spilling out over the grillwork to add to its charm.
The city gives a respectful nod to this trifecta inheritance by maintaining attractive stone and cast iron signs which you'll find on the street corners, inlaid into the buildings themselves - some in Spanish, French and English.
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