Walking in the oldest part of New Orleans is much more fun than driving. It is also more practical; you can do it at your own pace. Allow about 3 hours for the tour, or longer if you wish to stop at those sites that are open to the public. In case you wish to take an abbreviated tour, Items 15-17 and 18-26 are recommended as especially representative of the French Quarter. This map offers only a glimpse of the historic French Quarter landmarks. We recommend taking a professional history tour. Visit www.neworleanscvb.com/tours, or call (800) 672-6124 for a complete list of companies and their tour offerings.
You'll love the French Quarter with all its Old World shops and buildings. You won't find anything like it, anywhere else in the world. Be sure to stop at one of our always-hospitable Visitor Information Centers at 529 St. Ann Street, 501 Basin Street or 2020 Saint Charles Avenue.
Because New Orleans is located in a crescent of the mighty Mississippi river, (hence the nickname, "the Crescent City"), directions are often referred to as Lakeside (North), Riverside (South), Downtown (East) and Uptown (West), and watch out for the many one way streets.
*Items marked with an asterisk may be open to the public. Check for dates and hours.
1. 301 Chartres Street. Site of Kolly Townhouse First Ursuline Convent and Charity Hospital. The townhouse built on this site shortly after the founding of New Orleansin 1718 was later leased for use as a provisional convent for the Ursulinenuns, and then used for the first Charity Hospital. Walk 1 block down Bienville to Royal Street. Turn right.At the end of the block is
2. *334 Royal Street. Old Bank of Louisiana. This beautiful building was completed in 1826 to house the Bank of Louisiana. For years this intersection was the city's financial hub, with a bank on three of the four corners. Currently the site of the French Quarter Police Station. Walk across Royal to
3. 343 Royal Street. Old Bank of the United States. This structure, built in 1800, is the oldest of the many buildings in which banks have been located. Its balcony railings are exceptionally good examples of hand forged (wrought) ironwork. Next, cross Conti Street to
4. 403 Royal Street. Old Louisiana State Bank. The bank opened for business in 1821; designed by one of the architects of the U.S. Capital in Washington: Benjamin H. Latrobe. The large white building across the street is the entire
5. *400 block of Royal Street. Louisiana Supreme Court Building. Erected in1908-09, this marble edifice was occupied by the Louisiana Wild Life Museum and the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Judicial District. Across from the main entrance of the court building is
6. *417 Royal Street. Casa Faurie. Built soon after 1801 for the maternal grandfather of the French Impressionist painter, Edgar Degas. When General Andrew Jackson revisited New Orleans in 1828, he attended lavish banquets here. The cross-street ahead of you is St.Louis. Turn left. Go a block and a half to
7. *820 St. Louis Street. The Hermann-Grima House. This house was constructed in 1831 by William Brand for Samuel Hermann, Sr., a well-to-do commission merchant. Hermann sold the premises in 1844 to Felix Grima, a prominent attorney and notary. Retrace your steps to Royal . Turn left. In the middle of the block is
8. 520 Royal Street. Maison Seignouret. Francois Seignouret, a French wine merchant, built this splendid house in 1816. Hewas a talented furniture maker. Across Royal is
9. *533 Royal Street. Merieult House. In 1794, fire swept through the center of the city. Only two principle structures escaped the flames. One of them was this dignified building, built in 1792 by Jean Francois Merieult. It now houses the Historic New Orleans Collection of maps, prints, drawings, documents and artifacts. Cross the street to
10. 536 Royal Street, Casa de Comercio. An excellent example of forthright Spanish architecture in New Orleans. This building was built shortly after the December 1794 fire. Re-cross Royal to
11. 537 Royal and 710 Toulouse Streets. Court of Two Lions. The feature which gives this building its name is visible on the Toulouse Street side; a wide wooden gate in a high wall, the pillars surmounted by a pair of stone lions. Returns to Royal. Walk one block to St. Peter. Turn left and go to
12. 714 St. Peter Street. LeMonnier House. Built in 1829. This house acquired its most notable occupant in 1860, Antione Alciatoire. Antoine operated a boarding house preparing such succulent dishes that his fame spreadand eventually led to his opening the restaurant which gave him an international reputation and which his direct descendants still own and operate. Only a few steps away is
13. *718 St. Peter Street, Maison de Flechier. This ancient structure is believed to have been commissioned by the well-known planter, Etienne Marie de Flechier, after the fire of 1794. A famous-name bar now occupies both the building and the magnificent courtyard behind it. Return to Royal. At the opposite corner is
14. 640 Royal Street, Maison LeMonnier (First Skyscraper). Frequently described as the first skyscraper, this three-story structure was built in1811, and the third-floor study is regarded as the most beautiful chamber, architecturally, in New Orleans. Wrought into the iron balcony railings can be seen the doctor's initials, "YLM". Now turn off Royal onto St. Peter. A little more than half a block along is
15. 615 S. Peter Street. Louisiana State Arsenal. During the years of Spanish dominance, this was the site of the prison, or calabozo. After the American takeover in 1803, the state of Louisiana constructed a state arsenal on this spot for the Louisiana Legion, a military organization made up of sons of the state's best families, Creole and American. Now, the building is a part ofthe Louisiana State Museum complex, but the insignia of the Louisiana Legion - crossed cannons above apile of cannonballs - and its monogram, "LL", can still be seen in the wrought-iorn railing of the right-hand balcony fronting Pirates Ally (see16). As you face the Spanish Arsenal, walk left for a couple of steps and turn right into a short alley, Cabildo Alley. Ahead of you is another longer passageway. It is
16. *Pirates Alley. Alas for its romantic name, and for the legend that somewhere along this passage Major-General Jackson conferred with the freebooters Jean and Pierre Lafitte about the forthcoming defense of New Orleans, the alley simply did not exist at that time! It was cut 16 years later (1831), and given the official name, Ruelled'Orleans, meaning something like Orleans Walkway, South (see also No.19). Now walk toward Royal Street and stop at
17. Royal at Orleans Street, behind the St. Louis Cathedral Garden. The marble monument is the center of this small, iron-fenced garden was erected by the Minister of the Navy under Napoleon III. Cross Royal to Orleans. Walk half a block. On your right is a hotel. Note the section above the main entrance at
18. 717 Orleans Avenue. The Orleans Ballroom. John Davis opened his famed Orleans Ballroomin 1817. Here, for the next 20 years, Davis would operate his Orleans Theatre and establish French Opera in America. In 1881, the Sisters of the Holy Family, an order of black nuns devoted to teaching, acquired the property for a mother-house and school. Finally, in1964, the sisters, pressed by a need to expand the facilities, sold the property to hotel interests. New additions replaced some of the structures built by the nuns, but the old Orleans Ballroom remains. Go back to Royal and turn left on the far side of the Cathedral Garden from Pirates Alley.
19. *Royal to Chartres Street, between the Cathedral and Presbytere. Pere Antoine's Alley. Cut in 1831, this passage was given the official name, Ruelle d'Orleans, Nord, or Orleans Walkway, North, a twin to Ruelled'Orleans, Sud (see No. 16). Follow this passage to its further end (Chartres Street). As you emerge, turn left. The large gray building with the iron fence in its arches is
20. *The Presbytere. In 1791 on Andres Almonester y Roxas began construction of what he , a Spaniard, called the Casa Curial. In French, it is Presbytere, or residence for the clergy serving the parish church. The U.S. took over the Territory in 1803, and completed the building in 1813. It never served as either Casa Curial or Presbytere. In 1853, the city purchased the Presbytere from the wardens of the Cathedral, and is now part of the Louisiana State Museum. As you face the front of the Presbytere, to your left is the
21. *St. Louis Cathedral. This is the oldest cathedral in the United States and the third church on this site. The present church dates from 1849-51. It was constructed to the specifications of the architect J.N.B. de Pouilly. The first two had been parish churches only; when the third was dedicated, on Christmas Eve of 1794, it was acathedral. In 1964, Pope Paul VI designated this a minor basilica. Next door, again to the left is
22. *The Cabildo. During Spanish rule, this structure housed the governing council, or Cabildo, of the colony. The structure was erected in 1779, but burned in 1788. Don Andres Almonester y Roxas then contributed the funds for construction of a replacement. Build in 1795-99. The splendid wrought-iron balcony railing, called the finest work from the Spanish period in New Orleans, is attributed to Marcelino Hernandez. From this building France, then Spain,the France again, then the United States, the Confederate States and finally, the United States again, have governed. In a second floor room, known as the Sala Capitular, France ceded the territory of the Louisiana Purchase to the U.S. in 1803. Today a part of the Louisiana State Museum, the Cabildo displays such important items as the "founding stone" of the colony (1699) and the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte. Presbytere, Cathedral and Cabildo face the green oasis called
23. *Jackson Square. Established in 1721 as a drill field, Jackson was known for more than a century as the Placed'Armes (under the French flag) or the Plaza de'Armas (when Spain owned the colony). The statue of General Jackson on his rearing horse, the work of sculptor Clark Mills, was put in place in1856 and is the world's first equestrian statue with more than one hoof unsupported. Bordering Jackson Square on two sides you will see the
24. Pontalba Buildings. Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, the daughter of the colony's richest man in the Spanish period, Don Andres Almonester y Roxas, built the great twin buildings which bear her name, as luxury apartments and fine ground floor offices and shops. Work was began in 1840 on the 16 row houses and completed in 1849. The almost identical row on the opposite side of Jackson Square was finished in 1851. In the middle of the Pontalba Building on St. Ann Street is
25. *525 St. Ann Street. 1850 House. Here a three-story section of one of the two Pontalba Buildings has been beautifully restored to present a typical New Orleans dwelling of 1850. Furnished in authentic New Orleans furniture of the mid-nineteenth century. As you leave the 1850 House, go to your left on St. Ann. At the first corner (Decatur Street), that long, low structure across the street is part of
26. The French Market. Its buildings have been avibrant part of the New Orleans scene for more than 165 years. The French Market is anchored at its down river end by the popular farmer's market areas of long open sheds filled with fresh fruits and vegetables. Long-time shopkeepers, many new shops, fine restaurants, bistros, coffee stands, crafts stalls; and a galaxy of shopping pleasures are offered for the entire family. Continue down Decatur Street to Ursuline Street. Turn left. Go one block to Chartres. To your right will be
27. *400 Block of Esplanade. The Old United States Mint. Fort SanCarlos stood here in the 1700's. The United States completed construction of the Mint in 1839. Now a Louisiana State Museum, the Mint housed both a Jazz and Mardi Gras exhibition. Walk back past the French Market on Decatur and take a right on Ursuline Street. Go one block to Chartres. To your left is
28. *1114 Chartres Street. Old Ursuline Convent. This is one of the oldest structures in the Mississippi Valley (for the other, see No. 37). The Sisters of St. Ursula, who came to New Orleans from France in 1727, moved into this structure in 1749. This was the first nunnery in Louisiana, and they conducted the first Catholic School, the first Indian school, the first Negro school and the first orphanage. The Convent housed the Louisiana State Legislature from 1831 to1834. Across Chartres can be seen
29. *1113 Chartres Street. Le Carpentier House ("Beauregard House"). On apart of the three city squares which he bought from the Ursuline nuns, a highly regarded New Orleans auctioneer named Joseph Le Carpentier built this handsome residence in1827. With him lived his daughter andher husband, attorney, Alonzo Morphy. During the bleak winter of 1866-67, following the end of the Civil War, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard, the "Great Creole: rented a room in this house while seeking a job. In recent years, the house and the garden was the residence of the prolific and popular novelist Frances Parkinson Keyes, who adopted New Orleans as her own and who wrote many books about the region. In the same block is
30. 1133 Chartres Street. Soniat House. About 1829, wealthy aristocratic planter, Joseph Soniat du Fossat, built this place as a town house. In the 1860's, the wrought iron with which Monsieur du Fossat had embellished his home was torn away, replaced with the admirable cast-iron lacework it now wears. Proceed to Gov. Nicholls Street, and turn left, to
31. 618-20 Gov. Nicholls Street. Clay House. This is a residence built about 1828 by JohnClay for his wife. Clay's brother was the famous statesman, Henry Clay. The two-story building at the rear of the adjoining garden was added after 1871 and, in the 1890s, it was used by Frances Xavier Cabrini, the religious, now St. Frances Cabrini, as a schoolhouse. At the next corner (Royal Streetand Gov. Nicholls Street), to your left is a tall building of considerable interest.
32. 1140 Royal Street at Gov. Nicholls. LaLaurie House (The "Haunted House"). This is the city's most famous private residence, build before 1831 by Louis Barthelmy de Maccarthy (sometimes spelled de Macarty). One of his children, Delphine LaLaurie, acquired the house in August,1831, and it quickly became the scene of brilliant social events. But there were persistent rumors about the LaLaurie servants. In 1833, a next door neighbor told the police she had seen Delphine LaLaurie mercilessly lashing a small Negro slave girl who then fell from the rooftop. In 1834, a fire broke out. Neighbors crashed through a locked door into a smoke choked room and found seven wretched, starving creatures chained leg and neck in the most painful positions. A newspaper suggested that Madame LaLaurie had set the fire. Citizens began to mass outside the house. Suddenly, a carriage burst out of the gate and raced away. The wrecked house was later restored, but the LaLauries never returned. After she died in Europe, Delphine's body was brought to the city in great secrecy and buried. Some say the house has been haunted by groans, screams and the savage hissing of whips. Perhaps you would like to linger outside this place tonight to hear for yourself. Cross Royal and enter Gov. Nicholls again. On your right is
33. 721 Gov. Nicholls Street. Thierry House. Built in 1814 for Jean Baptiste Thierry. It is the earliest remaining example of Greek Revival. Go back to Royal. Turn right. On your left will be
34. *1132 Royal Street. The Gallier House. James Gallier, Jr., was one of the most illustrious in long line of notable architects. Built in 1857, it presents an excellent opportunity to see how the wealthy people of New Orleans lived just past the middle of the last century. As you come out of the Gallier House, turn left. Then turn right at Ursulines Street. Walk one block to Bourbon. Turn left for another block, reaching St.Philip. On the far corner of Bourbon andSt. Philip is
35. *941 Bourbon Street. Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop. When this place was built is unknown. The oldest record of ownership dates to1772. Legend has it that this was a smithy operated by the dashing brothers Lafitte, the "hero" pirates of New Orleans. Now return down St. Phillip to Royal and turnright. In the middle of the block stands
36. 915 Royal Street. The Cornstalk Fence. The Victorian structure dates from circa 1850and retains a cast-iron fence representing stalks and ears of corn intertwined with morning glory vines and blossoms. Across the street, and a few steps to your right, are
37. 900-906-910 Royal Street. Miltenberger Houses. Mrs. Miltenberger built these houses in1838. It was later occupied by her great granddaughter, Alice Heine, who was born in 1910. She married Duc de Richelieu, making her a duchess' and then the Prince Louis of Monaco, making her a princess. Continue on Royal to Dumaine. Turn left. About a third of the block from Royal, on the opposite side of Dumaine, is a raised house with a recessed gallery, reminiscent of what is known as West Indian architecture. This place is
38. *632 Dumaine Street. The House of Jean Pascal ("Madame John's Legacy"). Many researchers insist this is the oldest building in the Mississippi Valley. Defenders of the present building's antiquity think it was erected in 1726. The current owner, the Louisiana State Museum, renovated the structure and furnished it with furniture of the period. The name, Madame John's Legacy, by which it is identified, is the result of having been given that title in a fictional story, "Tite Poulette", by George Washington Cable...this ends your walking tour. Now you're on your own. Enjoy yourself. And why not? You're in New Orleans!