The New Orleans French Quarter is the city’s most popular neighborhood. One of the best preserved historical neighborhoods in America, the French Quarter has such a strong and lasting Spanish and French influence that you may really feel like you’re visiting a foreign country.
Occupying the same six by thirteen block area laid out in 1722, it’s the only intact French Colonial and Spanish settlement remaining in the United States. Don’t miss our pages on Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, French Quarter balconies and French Quarter history. Directions in the French Quarter and throughout New Orleans are given in relation to the French Quarter, Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain. You are either lakeside or riverside, upriver or down river.
Bourbon Street, lined with bars, jazz clubs, hotels, restaurants, “gentlemen’s clubs” (strip clubs) and boutiques is the best known party street in New Orleans. The street is closed to vehicle traffic in the evening when it becomes a pedestrian mall and an extension of the parties taking place in most of the bars and music halls which are shoulder to shoulder in the most visited blocks. more…
Always the center of community life in New Orleans, Jackson Square is surrounded by historic buildings; St. Louis Cathedral—the oldest continuously active cathedral in the United States, The Cabildo—site of the signing of the Louisiana Purchase and The Presbytére—now a Mardi Gras Museum. A statue of General Andrew Jackson stands in the center of the square.
Downriver from Jackson Square and Artillery Park the historic French Market on Decatur Street dates to 1791 and is the oldest farmer’s market in the U.S. The 24-hour French Market includes both the farmers market and a flea market where you can find everything from dinner ingredients to T-shirts and other souvenirs to snacks. Gator on a stick anyone? The French Market is a good place for both bargain hunters and for people who just like to bargain. Unfortunately the fresh produce section seems to get smaller every year.
The golden bronze statue of Joan of Arc on Decatur Street near the entrance to the French Market is an exact copy of the famous 1880 Emmanuel Fremiet equestrian statue of Joan located at Place des Pyramides, Paris – another copy resides in Philadelphia. The statue was moved from the base of Canal Street when the casino was built.
Joan of Arc—the “Maid of Orleans”—the French peasant girl who saw heavenly beings and heard their voices led an army to break the siege of Orleans, changed the tide of The 100 Years’ War and became a national heroine of France. This Joan of Arc statue was presented to the City of New Orleans as a gift from the people of France by President Charles de Gaulle during a state visit in 1959.
The Moonwalk and Riverwalk Mall
The Moonwalk — named for former Mayor Moon Landrieu — is on the Mississippi River side of Artillery Park. Sit on the steps and dangle your feet in the muddy Mississippi or watch the steamboats, ocean going barges and other river traffic float by. Upriver from the Moonwalk you’ll find Waldenberg Park, Canal Place, The Jackson Brewery Mall (once the largest independent brewery in the south) and New Orleans Riverwalk Outlet
The Riverfront Streetcar runs from the Old U.S. Mint to the Riverwalk, The Jackson Brewery Mall is in the background of this picture. Although the 1984 New Orleans World’s Fair was a financial failure it did result in a major transformation of the riverfront, changing it from an area of railroads, warehouses and port activity — that blocked residents and visitors view of the Mississippi — into a large riverside park, festive marketplace and convention center.
Five acre Woldenberg Park at the edge of the Mississippi includes many pleasant landscaped walkways with river views, fountains, a sculpture garden and stages for live music. Aquarium of the Americas is also here with more than a million gallons of exhibits, including Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico exhibits, Amazon rain forest, Caribbean Sea environment and the world’s largest jellyfish collection.
French Quarter boundaries
The French Quarter’s is bordered by the Mississippi River, Canal Street, North Rampart Street and Esplanade Avenue. The French Quarter’s upriver boarder is Canal Street — where a streetcar line is presently under construction on the neutral ground. (After the Louisiana Purchase when Americans arrived in masse, there were frequent skirmishes between the Americans uptown and the Creoles in the Vieux Carré. Canal Street became the neutral ground. The term now refers to the area between two streets running in different directions)
New Orleans business is centered on Canal Street. Harrah’s Casino is located at the foot of Canal Street just across Decatur street from the Riverwalk entrance. Just beyond the Riverwalk mall and just outside the French Quarter is the Morial Convention Center. North Rampart Street forms the lakeside boarder of the French Quarter. Esplanade Avenue — with its wide neutral ground and ancient oaks — defines the downriver boarder of the French Quarter.
Additional information about the New Orleans French Quarter can be found on our pages about Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, French Quarter balconies, French Quarter history and my Mississippi Riverboat cruise Steamboat Tour page.