If you weren't aware, New Orleans is full of perpetual inspiration. Whether your touring the sites or just strolling down the cobblestone streets, you can look almost anywhere and feel the historic beauty that has persisted for centuries. The Spanish, French and Creole-inspired architecture is certainly a large piece of the cities exceptional aesthetic flare. Maintaining it's 1800's lifestyle, the French Quarter district of New Orleans stands out among the many towns of the US.
The district as a whole has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, with numerous contributing buildings that are separately deemed significant. It is both a prime tourist destination and attractive for local residents. The neighborhood contains many restaurants, ranging from formal to casual, patronized by both visitors and locals.
Because of its distance from areas where the levees were breached during Hurricane Katrina (2005) as well as the strength and height of the nearest river levees in contrast to other waterway levees or floodwalls, Katrina flood damage was relatively light in the Quarter as compared with other areas of the city and the greater region.
Most of the French Quarter's architecture was built during the late 18th century and the period of Spanish rule over the city, which is reflected in the architecture of the neighborhood. The Great New Orleans Fire (1788) and another great fire in 1794 destroyed most of the Quarter's old French colonial architecture, leaving the colony's new Spanish overlords to rebuild it according to more modern tastes. Their strict new fire codes mandated that all structures be physically adjacent and close to the curb to create a firewall. The old French peaked roofs were replaced with flat tiled ones, and wooden siding was banned in favor of fire-resistant stucco, painted in the pastel hues fashionable at the time. As a result, colorful walls and roofs and elaborately decorated ironwork balconies and galleries, from the late 18th and the early 19th centuries, abound.
The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, also called St. Louis Cathedral, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans and is the oldest cathedral in what would become the United States. The first church on the site was built in 1718; the third, built in 1789, was raised to cathedral rank in 1793. The cathedral was expanded and largely rebuilt in 1850, with little of the 1789 structure remaining. For hundreds of years, the only way to get around New Orleans was by horse and carriage. You can still experience the leisurely pace our ancestors did in one of several carriage tours offered today.
For additional information on traveling to New Orleans, check out www.frenchquarter.com