The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest neighborhood in the city of New Orleans. The district is more commonly called the French Quarter today, or simply “The Quarter,” related to changes in the city with American immigration after the Louisiana Purchase. Most of the present-day historic buildings were constructed during the late 18th century, during the city’s period of Spanish rule, and reflect Spanish colonial architecture.
The district as a whole has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, with numerous contributing buildings that are separately deemed significant. It is a prime tourist destination in the city, as well as attracting loyal residents.
Most of the French Quarter’s architecture was built during the late 18th century and the period of Spanish rule over the city, which is reflected in the architecture of the neighborhood. More of the neighborhood was developed to support tourism, which is important to the city’s economy. But, the French Quarter still combines residential, hotels, guest houses, bars, restaurants and tourist-oriented commercial properties.
Jackson Square, originally designed by architect and landscaper Louis H. Pilié, is a public gated park the size of a city-block, located at the front of the French Quarter. The most well known of the French Quarter streets, Bourbon Street, or Rue Bourbon, is known for its drinking establishments. Most of the bars frequented by tourists are new but the Quarter also has a number of notable bars with interesting histories. The Old Absinthe House has kept its name although the liquor has been illegal for a century in the United States because of its toxic qualities. The neighborhood contains many restaurants, ranging from formal to casual, patronized by both visitors and locals.