Know Your NOLA!

It is no mystery that the French Quarter of New Orleans is a paramount piece of history when considering the start of our amazing city. The establishment of this neighborhood in 1718 was the very beginning of what is arguably the most culturally rich city in the United States. While strolling through the French Quarter on foot, by bicycle, or by horse-drawn carriage, visitors can see many buildings and other establishments that date back centuries to the roots of the city. While viewing an old slideshow, we discovered forgotten photos of several historic landmarks that make up our beloved New Orleans.

A primary New Orleans attraction for locals and visitors alike is the unique cuisine and fresh seafood found throughout the old city. Many high-end dining establishments such as Antoine’s have been around for over a century and a half. Located right in the heart of the French Quarter at 713 Rue St. Louis, Antoine’s was established in 1840 by Antoine Alciatore and remains known as one of the oldest family-run restaurants in the United States. The classic French-Creole dishes available from Antoine’s specialized menu have been around for many decades, and the restaurant is credited to be the founder of famous dishes such as Oyster Rockefeller and Eggs Sardou. During its 177 years of existence, Antoine’s has solidified its place as a classic New Orleans dining destination that is deeply rooted in New Orleans’ culture. Antoine’s is the ultimate fine dining destination of the historic French Quarter.

Anyone who is familiar with New Orleans has most likely heard of the famous French Market located at the end of Decatur Street. This market has occupied the same location along the Mississippi River for over 200 years. Originally established as a trading post between the French settlers and the Native Americans, the Crescent City proudly endorses the vitality of this thriving local market as a reminder of its historic origins. Whether you are on the search for the perfect locally grown vegetables or simply shopping for handmade items such as jewelry, arts, crafts or clothes, the French Market has hosted local vendors for centuries and represents the origins of commerce in the Crescent City.

If you have ever visited Canal Street then you have most likely seen the Hyatt French Quarter Hotel. An often forgotten fact about the Hyatt is that the building used to be the site of the first D.H Holmes department store. Initially started by Daniel Henry Holmes in 1842, Holmes established the first department store on Canal Street as seen in the photo above in 1849. The Canal Street location served as the largest department store in the South and was commonly considered a New Orleans landmark. The clock that previously hung on the outside of the old building often served as a meet-up spot for shoppers visiting the store. The building was eventually remodeled to become the Chateau Sonesta Hotel in 1955, and eventually, in 2012 it was once again remodeled to become the Hyatt French Quarter Hotel as it remains today.

One of the most popular destinations in the New Orleans French Quarter is the original Cafe Du Monde Coffee & Beignet Shop nestled against the Mississippi River not far from the French Market on Decatur Street. As the French began to settle the New Orleans area in the 1700’s, they brought with them their coffee products and other pastry traditions such as the powdered sugar beignets. During the mid-1800’s they also developed chicory-mixed coffee products that would remain in high demand for the years to come. Cafe Du Monde was established in 1862 to provide coffee and beignets to the city’s inhabitants. There are now 9 Cafe Du Monde locations scattered across South Louisiana, but none can provide the true Cafe Du Monde experience like the original French Quarter location. If your French Quarter explorations have you dragging your feet, stop on by the original Cafe Du Monde for an afternoon coffee pick-me-up and experience a true New Orleans style coffee house.

Those who are familiar with the Greater New Orleans Area have likely traversed the famous Causeway Bridge that spans the length of Lake Pontchartrain. Spanning over 24 miles from the South Shore of Metairie to the North Shore of Mandeville, the Causeway Bridge has become famous for retaining the Guinness World Record title as the world’s longest continuous bridge over water.

Prior to the bridge’s construction, Bernard de Marigny, the founder of Mandeville, operated a ferry service that transported residents across the lake well into the 1930’s. With the establishment of the Causeway Commission in the late 1940’s, a plan to construct a bridge that would connect the North and South Shores of the lake began to form. The project was completed and opened to the public as a single, two-lane bridge traveling bi-directionally in 1956, and in 1969 the structure was upgraded with the construction of a second bridge adjacent to the original in order to accommodate a greater amount of traffic. Since opening to the public, tolls have increased from $1.50 north and southbound to $3 southbound, and the most recent 2017 change to $5 southbound. The toll fee helps the Causeway Commission maintain the two bridges, and provides payroll for Causeway workers and patrol officers. For 62 years, the Causeway Bridge has been the transportation heart line connecting north and south shore residents and commuters and has survived every major hurricane during its lifetime, including Hurricane Katrina in 2005.