A Little History
The city of New Orleans has a long and interesting history. The city was founded in 1718, the oldest neighborhood is the well-known French Quarter. It was settled by the French, hence the name. Two massive city fires in 1788, and in 1794, pretty much destroyed the French style architecture. The brightly colored stucco buildings and flat roofs are Spanish in design having been rebuilt while under the rule of Spain.
Yes, I know New Orleans has a ton of attractions, but it was a whirl wind road trip and I only spent two days in the area. A popular tourist destination in the French Quarter is Jackson Square and right across is the Saint Louis Cathedral.
Jackson Square, the size of a city block, was first used as military parade grounds and occasionally used as an execution site. In 1856, the large statue of General Andrew Jackson, designed by Clark Mills, was placed in the center of Jackson Square. It is a beautiful spot, well maintained with gardens and clean walkways. Plenty of benches to sit and rest and open enough for toddlers to stretch their legs.
Across from Jackson Square lies the massive towers of Saint Louis Cathedral. The first church on this site was built in 1718, when New Orleans was founded. In 1793, and the third church on site, it was designated as a cathedral. St. Louis Cathedral was expanded and was pretty much completely rebuilt in 1850 to what it looks like today. Today the white towers stand strong over the city. The mosaics inside the cathedral tell the life story of St. Louis. This is the third cathedral I have had the opportunity to visit, and I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed. It was beautiful inside and out, but it just didn’t have the wow factor I was expecting. Most likely from my own issues and not the churches.
New Orleans has the hustle and bustle of every major city in the United States, but in the quaint, beautiful streets of the French Quarter, visitors can find a moment to recharge and reflect and enjoy the slower lane of life if even for a moment. As I mentioned earlier It was an action packed road trip. Two days were spent in the area, one day devoted to area swamps and one day to exploring the city and my personal favorite, the cemeteries. The city held quite a few surprises for me. One street would hold such beauty and stillness, round the corner and get blasted by dirty smells, and hundreds of tourists. New Orleans will stay on my have to visit list for a more leisurely tour into less touristy areas.
What’s coming up next week? Swamp Walking.