Ain’t no city like New Orleans. As experienced a taste of New Orleans lingers as time goes by. Unfolding vividly in particular are the images of the most famous street in New Orleans, Bourbon Street, and the historic Jackson Square under the splendid April sun of the Deep South.
New Orleans is easy to navigate by foot. If you re looking for a greater way to tour New Orleans take a streetcar!
Jackson Square is only a distant away from our hotel. A great place to walk in and around and keep cool under the shade of its trees, it is a historic park located just off the waterfront. Named after the Battle of New Orleans hero, Gen. Andrew Jackson, and declared as a national historic landmark for its role in the city’s history as the place where in 1803 Louisiana was made a territory of the United States pursuant to the Louisiana Purchase, this famous landmark is surrounded by historic buildings including St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest cathedral in North America , and the Louisiana State Museum (the ancient Cabildo) which used to be the seat of the Spanish colonial city hall. The square is busy with local artists painting, drawing and creating portraits and caricatures and displaying their works on the iron fences of the square. It reminds us of Montmartre in Paris, France, for its artistic atmosphere.
In front of the square you’ll see many mule-driven carriages that can take you for a half-hour tour of the French Quarter. One of the hardiest animals on earth, a mule is the offspring of a donkey and a horse. Only mules are allowed to pull up carriages after the city outlawed horses after the death of two horses in the summer of 1980.
Across the street from Jackson Square is the world-famous “Café Du Monde”, an original French market dating back to 1862, open 24 hours a day where visitors flock daily for refreshments. We made a stop here for a café au lait and its popular “beignets” – fried dough doused in powdered sugar, served hot ,and three to a plate. Quite good, like the “malasada” in Hawaii, also sugar-dusted and deep fried.
Nearby are the Pontalba Apartments, also a must-see. Forming two sides of Jackson Square, the four-story two matching red brick and one block long buildings, constructed in the late 1840s, are distinct for its architecture: the use of cast iron galleries that became the fashion for most of the big residences in the city. The groundfloors of Pontalba house shops and restaurants like Chef Scott Boswells’ and Stanley. Known as the oldest continuously-rented apartments in the United States, it has guested prominent American writers such as William Faulkner, Somerset Maughan and Edna St. Vincent Millay.
Each year the “Streetcar-Name-Desire- Stanley & Stella” shouting contest is held here at the Pontalba during the Tennessee Williams Festival. The play, A Street Car Name Desire, by American playwright T. Williams, is set in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The Pulitzer prize-winning play was adapted later in 1951 into a Hollywood drama film starring Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh. It is one of the most famous depiction of the city of New Orleans although most of the movie production took place in Burbank California Studios.
We’re getting closer to Bourbon Street – next to explore.