A NEW ORLEANS VISITOR’S GUIDE TO THE BEST HISTORICAL PLACES TO SEE IN NEW ORLEANS, INCLUDING CEMETERIES, PARKS, RESTAURANTS
Heart, history, and soul embody the spirit of New Orleans, Louisiana. Founded by the French over 300 years ago, the city has gone through and survived turmoil and metamorphosis to become the cultural and historic icon it is today.
Resilience and centuries of various influences, including African, French, Irish, Italian, Native American, and Spanish, have made New Orleans a wonder of historical importance. Just around every corner of the city, visitors can find a century-old restaurant to sit and dine, a landmark to explore, and an awe-inspiring sight to gaze upon.
Antoine’s Restaurant, established in 1840, is New Orleans’ oldest family-owned and operated restaurant. The restaurant is well known for its perfected Frech-Creole cuisine, including its signature Oysters Rockefeller. Famous diners range from Franklin Roosevelt and Pope John Paul II to Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.
Beauregard-Keyes House, built in 1826 by Joseph LeCarpentier, is a Greek Revival house. The house was designed by François Correjolles and constructed by James Lambert. LeCarpentier, an auctioneer and grandfather of chess master Paul Morphy, lived in the house until 1833. Today, the historical house offers guided tours and is a popular venue for events and weddings.
The origin of Bourbon Street dates to 1718, upon the city’s founding by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. The street’s name was chosen by French engineer Adrien de Pauger, who laid out the streets of New Orleans in 1721. The name honors the French royal family, the House of Bourbon.
The Cabildo, built between 1795 and 1799 under Spanish rule, was designed by Gilberto Guillemard, who also designed St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytère. The Cabildo has witnessed many defining moments in Louisiana history, including Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies and the Plessy versus Ferguson decision.
Cafe Du Monde
Cafe Du Monde, established in 1862, still resides on Decatur Street in the New Orleans French Market. The cafe is famous for its powdered sugar-covered beignets and café au lait. Aside from its original location, there are now over a dozen other locations throughout the New Orleans area.
Chalmette National Historical Park
Chalmette National Historical Park, established in 1939, is comprised of over 143 acres. The park is home to the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, important sites from the War of 1812.
Congo Square is located in the Louis Armstrong Park of the Tremé neighborhood. In 1817, New Orleans passed a city ordinance restricting enslaved people’s gatherings to Sunday afternoons in Place Publique, later renamed Congo Square. Today, Congo Square continues to host celebrations honoring the historical heritage of African culture in New Orleans.
The French Quarter, established in 1718, is the historic heart of New Orleans. As the city’s oldest section, the neighborhood is home to many historical landmarks, places, and sights of cultural importance.
Jackson Square began to take shape as the Place d’Armes, the new colonial capital of La Louisiana, in 1721 by French engineers. The square was eventually renamed in honor of Andrew Jackson following his heroic actions in the Battle of New Orleans.
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop was established between 1722 and 1732. The structure was designed by Nicolas Touze and is New Orleans’ oldest bar. According to legend, Jean Lafitte and his brother Pierre used the bar as their base for smuggling operations.
The Lalaurie Mansion, built in 1832, was home to socialite Marie Delphine MacCarty Blanque LaLaurie. While the mansion earned a reputation as one of New Orleans’ grandest homes, it was filled with the darkness of the alleged sadistic torturing of enslaved people.
Old Ursuline Convent
The Old Ursuline Convent was designed in 1745 and completed by French engineers sometime between 1752 and 1753. Throughout the centuries, the structure has served as a convent, school, the archdiocesan central office, and more. Today, Old Ursuline educates and entertains visitors as a museum.
St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louis Cathedral, originally built in 1727 and dedicated to King Louis IX of France, was burned in the Great New Orleans Fire of 1794. The cathedral was rebuilt, with completion occurring in the 1850s. Today, the cathedral is the United States’ oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral.
St. Louis Cemeteries, No. 1, No. 2, and No. 3
St. Louis Cemetery No. 1, established in 1789, is New Orleans’ oldest cemetery. St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, established in 1823, resides in the Treme neighborhood. St. Louis Cemetery No. 3, established in 1854, is located in the Mid-City neighborhood. The three cemeteries are home to many of New Orleans’ most prominent historical figures.
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