New Orleans has had the French Market since 1791. It has remained in the same location for more than two hundred years. The governments may have changed hands several times and brought changes but it is still a large attraction to the locals and visitors of New Orleans. The first time it was used as a market was when Native Americans opened it as a trading post. It was close to the banks of the Mississippi River. The French has chosen this place for the Crescent City. The French Market is considered to be the oldest public market in existence. The market is located at 1008 North Peters Street, New Orleans, LA.
The French Market was a garden of dialects and different wares from many foreign and domestic sources. The French and Spanish were in control of the city at different stages. Once it became part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase trade opened up at the port. This brought Italians, Portuguese, Dutch, German and Moors to the marketplace selling their wares.
African Americans sold coffee and pralines. The Choctaw Indians above Lake Pontchartrain presented handmade crafts along with spices and herbs. There was always something available at the market no matter what the hour. This was due in part to the new building that was constructed in 1870. It boasted a well lit area that was divided into a Butcher's Market, fruits and vegetables, grocery items and a fish market. While some of the original parts of the French Market have been destroyed through fire and hurricanes, it has always been rebuilt so that the tradition of the original market continues.
There are many restaurants within the French Market. The Cafy Du Monde has been at the French Market since it opened in 1862. There are restaurants that specialize in seafood and others like the Gazebo and Market Cafy that serve Creole and Cajun cuisine. Po-boys, red beans and rice are also found at the restaurants in the French Market.
Shopping at the French Market is still very diversified. There is a Community Flea Market that is open seven days a week in the 1200 block of N. Peters Street. It features merchants from the world that sell clothing, art, jewelry, antiques and crafts. Designer gift baskets with candy, Cajun or Creole items and other confections are available at the French Market.
Sports fans of New Orleans teams can find clothing, steins and mugs as well as merchandise for college teams and other pro sports teams. Pets get special treatment from Pets are People, located on Decatur Street. If a visitor is interested in crafts from around the world they can find wood carvings and oils from Africa. There are Latin hammocks, hats and leather handbags at stores along N. Peters Street.
The French Market has many festivals during the year. One of the favorites is the Great French Market Creole Tomato Festival, which is held in June. Parking is available at a lot behind the Flood Wall. Come in from the riverside of Decatur and St. Peters Streets.