Jackson Square, New Orleans



The historic city of New Orleans is home to Jackson Square. This is one of the oldest squares, having been built in 1721. Jackson Square is located in the famous French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1960 it became a National Historic Landmark. The history of Jackson Square shows that it was a place where executions took place in the eighteenth and early years of the nineteenth centuries. When the square was first designed it was named the Place d' Armes. However, after the Battle of New Orleans the name was changed to honor Andrew Jackson. There is a statue located in the square of former President Jackson astride his horse.

When Jackson Square was first built the Mississippi River was visible from it; however, in an effort to protect the city from the river large levees were built. There is a boardwalk called the "Moon Walk'' along this area. It got its name from a former Mayor of the city of New Orleans. Across the square there are three historic buildings.

The first is the Cabildo, which used to be the city hall. It is now a museum. It is famous for the signing of the Louisiana Purchase many years ago. The middle of the three buildings is the St. Louis Cathedral. This church is recognized as the oldest continuously operated church in the United States. It became a Basilica because of a proclamation by Pope Paul VI. The third building is the Presbytere, which was intended to look like the Cabildo. This buildings purpose was to accommodate the Catholic priests. The Presbytere was turned into a courthouse and later a museum.

Jackson Square was a place for artists in the twentieth century. Many professional painters and art students vied for space until the 1990's when fortune tellers came to the area. They were on the streets of Saint Peter and Saint Anne. Chartres Street is one of the boundaries of Jackson Square. The benches that allow visitors to enjoy the square now provide a venue for musicians. Formal concerts have been held here and there are many live performances by street performers.

Two areas of the square house the Pontalba Buildings. These buildings were erected in the 1840's and are constructed of red brick. They reach four stories into the air and provide Jackson Square with shopping and dining facilities. The upper stories of the buildings are private apartments for the residents of New Orleans.

Decatur Street, another boundary of Jackson Square, boasts the Jax Brewery Building. While it no longer produces the local beverage it too houses shops and restaurants. The Cafy du Monde is open twenty four hours a day and serves the famous cafy au lait and beignets that New Orleans is well known for. The coffee is blended with chicory to give it that distinct flavor.

Many hotels are in the area of the French Quarter, offering a variety of amenities. The French Quarter Suites Hotel, the Omni Royal Orleans and the Soniat House are all located close to Jackson Square.

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