Book Your Stay

  
You have (0) items in
your Itinerary

Upcoming Events

|

Art is the Driving…

Dec 5 - 30, 2016
Art has a power that reaches beyond personal visual expression. This exhibition… more

BOUNCE YA BRASS

Dec 5 - 26, 2016
Join us for a fun, energized cardio bounce fitness classes with a New Orleans… more

Celebration in the…

Dec 05, 2016 - Jan 01, 2017
City Park's annual holiday lighting exhibit and festival returns with one of… more

Christmas New Orleans…

Dec 5 - 31, 2016
There's no place like New Orleans for the holidays during Christmas New Orleans… more

Christmas New Orleans…

Dec 5 - 5, 2016
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) proudly presents the free Christmas New… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Dec 05, 2016
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Galatoire Foundation…

Dec 5 - 5, 2016
The Galatoire Foundation invites you to attend its 10th annual Christmas… more

Holiday Home and…

Dec 5 - 31, 2016
Just in time for the holiday season, The Historic New Orleans Collection will… more

House of Blues…

Dec 5 - 26, 2016
Need a cure for your Monday Blues? Get a dose of free live local blues music by… more

House of Blues…

Dec 5 - 26, 2016
Join Nicole Lynn Foxx and special guest comedian DC Paul every Monday night in… more

Miracle on Fulton…

Dec 5 - 24, 2016
NOV 22 – DEC 24 Hourly Snowfall 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Gingerbread… more

Monday Blues

Dec 05, 2016 - Jan 05, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. Get your live local blues fix with Sean Riley. more

Napoléon: General.…

Dec 05, 2016 - Jan 07, 2017
M.S. Rau Antiques will host a comprehensive exhibition Napoléon:… more

Newcomb Art Museum -…

Dec 5 - 30, 2016
Featuring work by nine women artists from the island continent, this exhibition… more

The Irish House…

Dec 05, 2016
This is the Biggest Irish Music Session in the south. On a Night you will see… more

The Maison Presents -…

Dec 05, 2016 - Jul 31, 2017
The Royal Roses grew out of the rich resurgence that traditional jazz is seeing… more

The New Movement…

Dec 5 - 26, 2016
Knockout is TNM's weekly comedy clash where two different comedy shows go… more

The Somerton Suitcase…

Dec 05, 2016
The Somerton Suitcase is live every Monday night at VASO on Frenchmen St. Catch… more

2016 LikeMinded…

Dec 6 - 6, 2016
The Holidays are here! Join us for our Tuesday, December 6 Holiday Soiree at… more

Bounce Ya Brass

Dec 6 - 27, 2016
BOUNCE YA BRASS takes signature NOLA bounce moves and teaches them in an… more

Art is the Driving…

Dec 5 - 30, 2016
Art has a power that reaches beyond personal visual expression. This exhibition… more

Architecture & Culture

Bayou St. John

Architectural Vignettes

New Orleans, with its richly mottled old buildings, its sly, sophisticated - sometimes almost disreputable - air, and its Hispanic-Gallic traditions, has more the flavor of an old European capital than an American city. Townhouses in the French Quarter, with their courtyards and carriageways, are thought by some scholars to be related on a small scale to certain Parisian "hotels" - princely urban residences of the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors particularly remember the decorative cast-iron balconies that cover many of these townhouses like ornamental filigree cages.

European influence is also seen in the city's famous above-ground cemeteries. The practice of interring people in large, richly adorned aboveground tombs dates from the period when New Orleans was under Spanish rule. These hugely popular "cities of the dead" have been and continue to be an item of great interest to visitors. Mark Twain, noting that New Orleanians did not have conventional below-ground burials, quipped that "few of the living complain and none of the other."

French Quarter Balcony

One of the truly amazing aspects of New Orleans architecture is the sheer number of historic homes and buildings per square mile. Orleanians never seem to replace anything. Consider this: Uptown, the City's largest historic district, has almost 11,000 buildings, 82 percent of which were built before 1935 - truly a "time warp."

The spine of Uptown, and much of New Orleans, is the city's grand residential showcase, St. Charles Avenue, which the novel A Confederacy of Dunces aptly describes: "The ancient oaks of St. Charles Avenue arched over the avenue like a canopy...St. Charles Avenue must be the loveliest place in the world. From time to time...passed the slowing rocking streetcars that seemed to be leisurely moving toward no special designations, following their route through the old mansions on either side...everything looked so calm, so prosperous."

The streetcars in question, the St. Charles Avenue line, represent the nation's only surviving historic streetcar system. All of its electric cars were manufactured by the Perley Thomas Company between 1922 and 1924 and are still in use. Hurricane Katrina flood waters caused severe damage to the steel tracks along the entire uptown and Carrollton route and had to be totally replaced and re-electrified. The cars themselves survived and are included in the National Register of Historic Places. New Orleanians revere them as a national treasure.

Unique Housing for a Unique City 

Creole cottages and shotgun houses dominate the scene in many New Orleans neighborhoods. Both have a murky ancestry. The Creole cottage, two rooms wide and two or more deep under a generous pitched roof with a front overhang or gallery, is thought to have evolved from various European and Caribbean forms.

The shotgun house is one room wide and two, three or four rooms deep, under a continuous gable roof. As legend has it, the name was suggested by the fact that because the rooms and doors line up, one can fire a shotgun through the house without hitting anything.

French Quarter Balcony 2 250x250

Some scholars have suggested that shotguns evolved from ancient African "long-houses," built here by refugees from the Haitian Revolution, but no one really knows.

It is true that shotguns represent a distinctively Southern house type. They are also found in the form of plantation quarters houses. Unlike shotgun houses in much of the South, which are fairly plain, New Orleans shotguns fairly bristle with Victorian jigsaw ornament, especially prominent, florid brackets. Indeed, in many ways, New Orleans shotguns are as much a signature of the city as the French Quarter.

New Orleans' architectural character is unlike that of any other American city. A delight to both natives and visitors, it presents such a variety that even after many years of study, one can still find things unique and undiscovered.

This material may be reproduced for editorial purposes of promoting New Orleans. Please attribute stories to New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau. 2020 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70130 504-566-5019. http://www.neworleanscvb.com/.