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Upcoming Events

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2014 Youth Musical…

Jul 26 - 27, 2014
SEUSSICAL JR. Transports audiences from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus… more

Anthony Bean…

Jul 26 - 27, 2014
The Anthony Bean Community Theater/NORDC Summer Youth Program presents over 75… more

Avita's World…

Jul 26 - 26, 2014
World Hepatitis Day is part of Avita's campaign to rase awareness about… more

Entergy IMAX Theatre…

Jul 26 - Aug 21, 2014
Entergy IMAX Theatre and 3D Entertainment Distribution invite audiences on an… more

JPAS Summer Musical…

Jul 26 - Aug 3, 2014
  THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE JR., based on the zany musical that has taken… more

Jump, Jive & Wail:…

Jul 26 - 27, 2014
The Stage Door Canteen's Big Easy award winning hit show Jump, Jive & Wail… more

Le Petit Theatre…

Jul 26 - 26, 2014
- Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré will present an encore production of… more

Neighborhood Pet…

Jul 26 - 26, 2014
Neighborhood Pet Adoption & Bake Sale, sponsored by the LA/SPCA will be… more

The Historic New…

Jul 26 - 26, 2014
Join us for a screening of "Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964),… more

Theater Nuts and Bolts

Jul 26 - 26, 2014
Theatre Nuts And Bolts is a two hour workshop that offers the basics of… more

Albinas Prizgintas…

Jul 27 - 27, 2014
Pianist/organist Albinas Prizgintas and Friends in a program featuring the BEST… more

Flutist Laura…

Jul 27 - 27, 2014
Join us for  Flutist Laura Patterson, Dancer/choreographer Nanette Ledet, … more

Kirk Franklin…

Jul 27 - 27, 2014
Celebrate Sunday morning with brunch featuring the explosive energy of live… more

Rock, Ride & Rescue,…

Jul 27 - 27, 2014
Rock, Ride & Rescue, to benefit the LA/SPCA Off-Site Adoption Team's… more

Saenger Theater…

Jul 27 - 27, 2014
Join us for an evening with Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis at the… more

Sunday Swing…

Jul 27 - 27, 2014
Kick up your heels at The National WWII Museum with Sunday Swing. Professional… more

Yappy Hour on the…

Jul 27 - 27, 2014
Take a Sunday stroll with Fido down to Felipe's Mid-City to socialize with all… more

Sistahs Making a…

Jul 28 - 28, 2014
Sistahs Making a Change hosts the ever-popular "How We Got to the… more

The Victory Belles –…

Jul 30 - 30, 2014
Salute the USA with the Victory Belles' newest red, white and blue celebration!… more

White Glove…

Jul 30 - 30, 2014
It's one thing to read on an exhibit label that an infantryman's pack in World… more

2014 Youth Musical…

Jul 26 - 27, 2014
SEUSSICAL JR. Transports audiences from the Jungle of Nool to the Circus… 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/.