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"Book Structures for…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Enrollment Capacity: max 12 Students https://www.etsy.com/listing/273485002/… more

BB King's Blues Club…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Join us at the BB King's Blues Club New Orleans for Keith Stone Band. more

BB King's Blues Club…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Join us at the BB King's Blues Club New Orleans for VeeJay and Louisiana… more

Mama's Music

May 29, 2016 - Jan 10, 2026
In Big Mama's Lounge. 21+ with valid photo I.D. 7-string guitarist Justin… more

New Orleans Greek…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Every year descendents of one of the Western world's oldest cultures celebrate… more

New Orleans Photo…

May 29 - 29, 2016
The New Orleans Photo Alliance (NOPA), is proud to be the first venue to … more

Saenger Theatre…

May 29 - 29, 2016
WICKED, New Orleans' most popular musical, looks at what happened in the Land… more

St. Mary's Assumption…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Join us for a concert of Sacred Vocal Music with the Baton Rouge Early Vocal… more

The New Movement…

May 29 - Dec 18, 2016
The future begins at Beta, as the latest talents emerging from TNM's… more

The New Movement…

May 29 - Dec 18, 2016
Sunday night is home to School Night at TNM - a show that features the… more

The New Orleans Wine…

May 29 - 29, 2016
The New Orleans Wine & Food Experience is one of the premiere events in… more

Theatre on Tap…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Stars, stripes, and salutes will storm the stage Memorial Day weekend, … more

Traditional Home's…

May 29 - Jun 12, 2016
Join us in the Uptown District for our first-ever New Orleans Showhouse!… more

Treme 7th Ward Arts…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Join us to celebrate the history, music, traditions, and culture of two of the… more

Trinity Artist Series…

May 29 - 29, 2016
New York based composer/multi-instrumentalist Ryan Dodge present a concert of… more

BB King's Blues Club…

May 30 - 30, 2016
Join us at the BB King's Blues Club New Orleans for BB King Allstar Band ft.… more

BB King's Blues Club…

May 30 - 30, 2016
Join us at the BB King's Blues Club New Orleans for BB King Allstars Band ft.… more

David Hansen's Garden…

May 30, 2016
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Free Sports Clinic…

May 30 - 30, 2016
U.S. Pro Beach Volleyball player Brooke Sweat will be visiting New Orleans on… more

French Ciné-Club: Le…

May 30 - 30, 2016
LE BAL DES ACTRICES BY MAÏWENN LE BESCO France – 2008 Dramatic… more

"Book Structures for…

May 29 - 29, 2016
Enrollment Capacity: max 12 Students https://www.etsy.com/listing/273485002/… 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/.