Dating back to the year 1718, the French Quarter is the only French Colonial and Spanish settlement still standing in the US. Registered as a National Historic Landmark, the French Quarter has been the site of several important moments in our nation’s history.
The rich past of the French Quarter plays a crucial part in what makes it so one-of-a-kind today. Take some time to get to learn more about this unique neighborhood’s history, and find your new home here today.
Great Fires of New Orleans
Although its called the French Quarter, a lot of the architecture in the neighborhood is more reminiscent of Spanish styles — and there’s a good reason for that. Though the French Quarter was originally established by the French in 1718, it was transferred to the Spanish in 1762.
At this time, most of the buildings were made exclusively of wood, which — as you know — doesn’t hold up well in the face of fire. So during the Great Fires of New Orleans in 1788, most of the buildings were destroyed and had to be rebuilt. The Spaniards enforced stricter fire regulations and building codes, which reflected in the design of the buildings. When you visit the French Quarter today, the buildings you’ll find will actually be more Spanish than French!
Battle of New Orleans
The War of 1812 was only two years long, effectively ending on December 24th, 1814. But letters are called snail mail for a reason, so the news didn’t reach the U.S. in time to stop the Battle of New Orleans.
Known as one of the bloodiest battles of the war, Major General Andrew Jackson successfully stopped the British from gaining access to the Mississippi River, losing only 100 soldiers in the process. The French Quarter is home to several important sites from the battle, including Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral, the Old Ursuline Convent, and more.
The First Mardi Gras
New Orleans — and especially the French Quarter — is synonymous with Mardi Gras. Although the first recorded celebration of the event happened in nearby Mobile, Alabama in the early 1700s, it quickly spread to New Orleans by 1730. The first official Mardi Gras that was most similar to how we celebrate now happened over a hundred years later in 1837.
Mardi Gras was — and still is — a pretty crazy festival, and some people back then didn’t much appreciate it. After efforts arose to ban the celebration, a handful of men from Mobile and over a dozen bands from New Orleans formed a secret organization called the “Mistick Krewe of Comus,” and hosted the first official parade of Mardi Gras. The carnival kept growing in popularity, and now finds its anchor point in the French Quarter.
The Jazz Age
Music was always an important part of life in the French Quarter, but 1825-1927 was the golden age of jazz. Although jazz didn’t take off in the rest of the country until around World War I — largely due to the fact that New Orleans musicians started traveling — many famous musicians got their start in the French Quarter well before then.
A few of the most notable performers and artists that came up out the New Orleans jazz scene included Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, and Sidney Bechet. One of the most renowned venues for these famous musicians was Economy Hall, located on the border of the French Quarter.
Find Your Home in the Historic French Quarter
With a rich history, a vibrant arts and culture scene, and beautiful, decades-old architecture, the French Quarter is truly a one-of-a-kind place to call home. Explore more about what makes the French Quarter so unique, and find your new home here today.