The French Quarter In New Orleans, Louisiana
This famous tourist attraction is a its prime in the summer months. What things should you be sure to see when you visit the Quarter?
The French Quarter is a 10-block area just west of the Mississippi river, in the heart of downtown New Orleans. People who live and visit the Quarter are there to enjoy life, as the saying goes, "laissez les bons temps roule," or let the good times roll. People in the French Quarter take the saying to heart. So, it will be easy to enjoy your trip. To help plan it, here are a few suggested places to visit.
Jackson Square is probably one of the most popular attractions. It is where many street vendors, performers and musicians gather to entertain visitors. On any given day you will find numerous, painters, palm readers, tarot card readers, character sketch artists, musicians, jugglers and other street performers.
As you might be able to guess, Jackson Square is named for General Andrew Jackson. Jackson defended the city during the Battle of New Orleans from December of 1814 to January of 1815. While a huge statue of Jackson on his horse sits in the middle of the gardens, the square was not originally built to honor him. In the early 1700's the colonial French government wanted a
traditional European city built, with a public square in the middle. Back then, it was a place the public would gather to watch the military practice their field moves, which is why is was called "Place d'Armes," or a place for armies.
Today, it is still very much a place people gather, but today they gather to enjoy the vendors, music and people. But no matter what modern activities you enjoy, you cannot miss the fact you are surrounded by history.
- The Old Butcher's Market.
The Old Butcher's Market is just across from Jackson Square,
toward the river. As one of the oldest buildings in the square, it houses Cafe Du Monde. Cafe Du Monde is known for coffee and beignets. If you've never had a beignet, you will want to try one. They are small donuts sprinkled with powdered sugar, and they're part of the French Quarter culture. While you can order nearly anything to drink, Louisiana is known for chicory coffee. Cafe Du Monde serves Cafe au lait, which is chicory coffee with milk.
Next to Cafe Du Monde is one many praline shops. Pralines are candies made from brown sugar and pecans. You are sure to see many shops in the French Quarter that sell pralines. So even if you want to wait to buy some later, you can always stop in for a sample.
- Bourbon Street.
From Cafe Du Monde, you will need to head into the Quarter, away from the river to see Bourbon Street. If you have small children, you might think twice about visiting this historic street. While it is an amazing area of the French Quarter, you will encounter many exotic stores and bars. However, there are also numerous dining and musical attractions as well, including
the famous Pat O'Briens.
Pat O'Briens is one of the oldest bars in New Orleans. The bar is known for its hurricanes. The hurricane is a drink made with red mixes and rum. The drink originated during World War II, when there was a shortage of liquor. Liquor companies would make bars, like Pat O'Briens, buy a number of cases of rum for each case of scotch they ordered. As a result, the owners of Pat O'Briens came up with a drink to use their rum. To this day it is one of the most famous drinks ever made.
There are numerous restaurants in the French Quarter. You will find places from fine dinning to casual cuisine. If you have not had a taste of Louisiana cooking you are in for a treat. From crawfish etoufee and alligator to boudin and gumbo shrimp, you will find it all. If you plan to eat at one of the more casual restaurants, bring cash. Some are cash-only businesses.
Like restaurants, the museums are plentiful in the French Quarter. From churches and historic homes to the Voodoo Museum, there is a large variety. Many of the churches give free tours regularly throughout the day. Some of the museums and homes have fees, most not more than $15. Unless you are on a very tight schedule, you will not need reservations. It should be no problem to wander the Quarter, and stop in on a museum or two and sign up for tours as you go.