New Orleans French Quarter has long been a favorite destination of vacationers. The French Quarter is New Orleans’ historic heart, renowned for its colorful brick buildings with wide-open balconies and energetic nightlife. Crowd-pleasing Bourbon Street offers jazz clubs, historic Cajun restaurants and raucous bars, serving delectable cocktails along the stretch of Frenchmen Street. quieter streets lead into the French Market, where street vendors sell fresh seafood, handmade pottery and beautiful handmade beads. A stroll through this historic quarter highlights French culture and New Orleans’ flair for quality living.
The French Quarter’s origins date to the American occupation of New Orleans following the Civil War. According to historians, white slave and plantation owners built homes along the Mississippi River to protect themselves from the hostile black population that had lived in and around the French Quarter for centuries. In the early nineteenth century, these same plantations were overrun by an epidemic of cholera and diarrhea. When the soldiers came back from the war, they brought with them the contagious disease and soon New Orleans was dotted with shanties (shacks) and bungalows that catering to the transient Creoles. The French Quarter quickly became the city’s cultural, educational and political nerve center, as evidenced by the fact that the first schools to be established here were in neighborhoods like Gee’s Bend and Muhawk.
The French Quarter quickly emerged as a hot spot for tourists and soon developed into an international tourist destination. By the end of the nineteenth century, the French Quarter had developed into one of the most significant theaters in the United States. Many of the early movies were shot in the French Quarter. Film noir was especially popular in this part of New Orleans.
New Orleans is famous not only for its music but also for its food. It is difficult to visit any part of the US that has more locally produced food than the French Quarter. In fact, according to some estimates, over eighty percent of all the food in the state is produced within fifty miles of New Orleans. Food festivals are held nearly every year in the French Quarter attracting crowds of people interested in sampling local cuisine.
New Orleans is also the site of one of the nation’s largest annual traditions–the Jazz Festival. Organized each year since 1875, the Jazz Festival is the largest event of the New Orleans calendar. During the three-week long festival, top artists in the industry are invited to perform and entertain visitors at the Oranges Park in New Orleans. Music fans can attend the festival by attending the free Jazz on Oranges tour which features live performances by twenty-five different bands from across the nation. Other attractions in New Orleans during the Jazz Festival include the Orlerets Club, the Warehouse Bar and many of the city’s most well-known museums.
The Creole Market is a legendary shopping experience. This historic market is located between Mardi Gras and Canal Street in the French Quarter. Vendors travel the streets selling their handmade products to shoppers walking down the street. The market is open seven days a week. It is the only place in the entire city where you can purchase freshly made Creole meals while sitting on the sidewalk.