French Quarter History and Architecture
The French Quarter or Vieux Carre..(French for “Old Square”) as we see and experience it today is a culmination of all that it has been through history… Originally settled as a military outpost by the French in 1718 (as characterized by the military outlay of the streets) it is probably the most architecturally significant neighborhood in the U.S…..It was occupied bythe Spanish from 1718 to 1762 and then the French again from 1800 until being sold to the U.S. as a result of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Two fires destroyed large portions of the Quarter in both 1788 and 1794 so many properties built before that time have been lost. The French Quarter is a 13 X 10 block area bound roughly by Canal St., Esplanade Ave., the Mississippi River and Rampart St. and centered around the town commons called the Place d’Annes (now called “Jackson Square”) which once served as a general gathering place for the population and a venue for military processions and exercises.
The architecture of the Quarter is America’s finest stand of 19th century architecture and is a reflection ofthe native architectural traditions of those who have occupied it and an adaptation to the hot and humid semitropical Louisiana climate. The basic types of properties found in the Quarter are: French Colonial (timber frame with brick, wide-hipped roof extending over porches, thin wooden columns, wide porches (“galleries”), no interior hallways, and multi paned french doors), Spanish Colonial, (the Creole Cottage rectangular bldg with foursquare room arrangement, rear “cabinets” (ie. small storage spaces), sleeping area in attic, and a side gabled roof extending over the sidewalk), the Town House (narrow, three story structures made of stucco or brick with balcony on the 2nd floor and interior hallways and stairways-(Creole Townhouses have steeply pitched side-gabled roof, several roof dormers, Wrought iron balconies) and the Sh0tgun (three to five rooms in a row with no hallway). The styles include Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic, Italienate, Victorian, and American Townhouse, etc.
The dynamic tension between the commercial and residential areas give ita vibrancy and livability unlike that found anywhere else in the United States. lt’s impossible to walk it’s narrow streets and not see something different each time–perhaps an architectural feature or even (if you are lucky) a human behavior. The Vieux Carre is the oldest bohemia in the country and is as close as you can get to Paris without crossing the Atlantic-it has the beauty of Paris but, unlike that of Paris, an approachable beauty that promises romance, fun and memories that do not subside. Not everyone “gets it” but, if you do, it will persist in your memory throughout your life. We at French Quarter Realty have the greatest pleasure in keeping that persistent memory alive as we provide for the real estate needs of those who become enamored with our wonderfully unique city….