New Orleans History

New Orleans is perhaps one of the most storied cities in the world, due in large part to its variety of cultures and customs that have combined to become a tourists utopia. The history of New Orleans is quite captivating, but the local neighborhoods themselves have gained their own reputations and legendary status.

Originally claimed as a territory of France in the 1690’s by French explorer LaSalle, New Orleans was heavily influenced with French Culture. The King of France designated Sieur de Bienville to become the Commandant of the new territory. Desiring to see this region become a full-fledged city, de Bienvilles hopes were realized in 1718, and in 1721, the streets were officially laid out by royal engineer Adrian de Pauger.

Continuing under French rule, New Orleans was finally sold to Spain in 1763. The citizens of New Orleans learned to use native materials like cypress trees and brick to build with, giving it a Spanish architectural feel. Many of the inhabitants of New Orleans came from the islands of the Caribbean, providing a different culture known as Creole. In 1803, New Orleans became part of the Louisiana Purchase, as America sought to expand its continental reach.

As the citizens of New Orleans began to lay out the city, they would often group together with those from their own cultures (as most cities do), providing us with those famous New Orleans neighborhoods. Here are a few of the most well known districts in the city.

French Quarter:

Known by locals as “the Quarter”, it is the hub of New Orleans society. Located on the high-ground, it is the oldest neighborhood in the city and has been the inspiration for writers, singers and artists of all kinds. With a mixture of French, Spanish, Creole and American architecture, the district is decorated with gardens, markets, museums and plenty of culture to keep visitors busy for days. The French Quarter is also home to one of the biggest parties in the world, “Mardi Gras”.

Garden District

Developed between 1840 and 1900, the Garden District was home to the rich and famous of New Orleans. Adorned with many historical mansions, it is a great place to learn about the upper society of New Orleans life. The mansions in the Garden District cover a variety of architectural styles including Georgian, Country, Greek Revival, Victorian and Gothic Revival. Some of the most well-known residents were Bradish Johnson and Mandeville Marigny. The garden district has also been the home of many current celebrities such as Archie Manning, father of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Visitors may also recognize Claiborne Cottage. It is the home of Anne Rice and was the setting for her book, “The Violin”.

The Cemetery

It is unusual to say that a cemetery could be a famous place to visit, but New Orleans has a very rich history and its cemetery is the final resting place to hundreds of famous citizens. However, the cemetery has another claim to fame, as a place where spirits and ghosts are known to haunt the grounds. Inspired by the Creole customs and culture, many visitors who are curious about voodoo and the occult, come here to entertain their beliefs.

These are just a few of the many unique Wards you will find here. New Orleans is definitely a special place and one that has to truly be experienced first-hand. Once you visit, you will find yourself coming back, over and over again.