The past few years Steve and I have gone away for our anniversary. Last year we went to Key West—I did several posts on fences, houses and food. This year we went to New Orleans—stand back—I have a few posts planned. Today’s is just pure eye candy. The weather was fan-tas-tic; great for taking pictures.
Steve printed out Frommer’s Walking Tour 2 of the Garden District. The following is the introduction.
Walking through the architecturally phenomenal Garden District, you could get the impression that you’ve entered an entirely separate city — or time period — from the French Quarter of New Orleans. Although the Garden District was indeed once a separate city (Lafayette) from the Vieux Carré and was established in a later period, their development by two different groups most profoundly distinguishes the two.
The French Quarter was initially established by Creoles during the French and Spanish colonial periods, and the Garden District was created by Americans after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. Antebellum New Orleans’s lucrative combination of Mississippi River commerce, regional abundance of cash crops, slave trade, and national banks fueled the local economy, resulting in a remarkable building boom that extended for several square miles through Uptown.
Very few people from the United States lived in New Orleans during its colonial era. Thousands of Americans moved here after the Louisiana Purchase. Friction arose between them and the Creoles due to mutual snobbery, language barriers, religious division, and competition over burgeoning commerce. Americans were arriving at the brink of a boom time to make fortunes. With inferior business experience, education, and organizational skills, the Creoles worried that les Americains would work them out of business. Americans were thus barred from the already overcrowded French Quarter. The snubbed Americans moved upriver and created a residential district of astounding opulence: the Garden District. It is, therefore, a cultural clash reflected through architecture, with Americans creating an identity by boldly introducing styles and forms familiar to them but previously unknown here.
The info above might come in handy at Trivia Night sometime. Or if you’re just nerdy like me you might find it interesting. My attention wandered at one point and I got mesmerized by this gorgeous fringe tree in full bloom.
I could do a whole post on any of these houses—they’re packed with historical details and plain ‘ol character.
Isn’t this just about the prettiest most inviting sidewalk you’ve ever seen? I’m trying to entice you to take a little stroll and join me for more Pretty Old Houses of New Orleans.
DO come back for more of The Garden District.