Monday, 14 November 2011

French Quarter - New Orleans

Sandra loved the French Quarter!  It is pulsating and alive!  Music is everywhere and the Artisans and their art is everywhere as well.  We toured and walked and enjoyed!  Our tour guide to the plantation stressed that in New Orleans - it is the food and the socializing that dominates - and it is so true.  He stressed that they 'live to eat'!  Unfortunately, due to the Gulf oil spill - the seafood was not as plentiful or as affordable as it could have been. 

We took a walking tour of the French Quarter.  Our Guide for this tour too - was very informed.  The people of NO are very dedicated to explaining their city - its history and culture - and are most grateful for tourists that come and support their economy.  Our Tour Guides each stressed this point over and over!

Love the architecture in the French Quarter.  the street level is shops, restaurants and bars - and above are town houses and apartments!  One can determine if a structure is Creole or American but the architecture - Creole homes do not have a 'front door' but are entered by a side door leading to a long hallway and and a stair well to the upper rooms - with a courtyard at the back.  A non-Creole home has a front entrance door.

Jackson Brewery - no longer a brewery but shops, boutiques and restaurants right in front of Jackson Square in the middle of the French Quarter bordering the Mississippi River.

Driving into the French Quarter - big oak trees overhanging the streets - can't imagine being under these in a hurricane!!!!

Had to have some Jambalaya!

FQ horse drawn carriages in front of Jackson Square - we did not take a carriage ride here - but definitely enjoyed the ambiance!

Mime Artist outside of Jackson Square

Another Mime Artist outside of Jackson Square

Artwork on display outside of Jackson Square

Barry ordered a Muffuletta sandwich - Oh boy!!!!!!

Love Jackson Square - Andrew Jackson on the horse - he defeated the British in 1814 - the British wanted to capture this area to attempt to get back the New England States (they lost after the Boston Tea Party) - the Mississippi being the avenue to traverse inland to the interior and across country over the various tributaries to achieve this goal.  They lost - or New Orleans could have been far different today!  Early leaders in the community sent off plans and diagrams and plans to France - testifying to the design of the area - streets and all - before they actually existed - it was still a 'vision' later to be reality due to funding support from France and later Spain.

More street scapes!

The side streets are narrow so all One Way!  On this particular street - about in the middle on the right - Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have a town house.  From the street you have no idea what is behind the walls.  The exterior is retained in 1700's - 1800's architecture - but inside they are modernized and interior courtyards are the norm.  Would have loved to see inside some of these.  Brad Pitt loves NO and the FQ we are told.  He can wander about or ride his bike and the Paparazzi - if they are even there - leave him alone.

Joan D'Arc - a gift from France to New Orleans

Loved the French Quarter City Market - everything from flee market fare to up scale artists fare!

Fountain sculpture in the French Market

Yours Truly in front of Jackson Square during our walking tour!  It was cooler that day!  St. Louis Cathedral in the background - still an active parish.  This is a rebuilt structure dating back to the 1850's.

Bronze Statue of General Andrew Jackson ("Old Hickory" - listen to Johnny Horton's "The Battle of New Orleans") - which I thing our guide said weight 14,000 Tons.  It is carefully sculpted to balance the steed on his hind feet.  Jackson defeated the British in 1814 - Battle of New Orleans - a victory of which they are very proud!

Note the protrusions on the pillars - on the buildings in the FQ.  The intruder protection during that era.  All kinds of undesirables would get off the ships (3'rd largest in the US in its day) - these protrusions were called "Romeos" as in Romeo climbs up then "Juliet" comes tumbling down!

Vestments on display in the Ursuline Convent.  The Nuns hand embroidered this garment back in the late 1700's early 1800's

Ah!  Beignets (French Doughnuts) and black coffee at Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter - operating continuously 24/7 (except for Christmas Day) from mid 1800's to present day except during Katrina - they were closed for about 2 months!  SS still feels guilty indulging is such a decadent treat!
The FQ is about 13 blocks wide and 7 blocks deep fronting right onto the Mississippi River and dates back to the early days of when the city was founded - 1718.  The city was originally under the rule of France - and later Spain.  The settlers who came in the early years were of different cultures but French remained the dominant language and Roman Catholicism was the mandatory religion to be practiced - and non Catholics were required by law to be practitioners.  Those first generation inhabitants to be born in the region and since - came to be known as Creoles.  With the Louisiana Purchase in 1804 - New Orleans passed from French to Spanish  to American rule in one day.  Apparently they had the raising and lowering of three different flags in one day. 

When the Americans came (Non Creoles and Non Roman Catholics) they were restricted to settling outside of the FQ.  The bordering Canal Street was considered a neutral zone and is where the Creoles and Americans would meet to transact business deals.

A sampling of pictures may give a flavor of the 'Quarter'.

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