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Idyllically laid within the ambit of New Orleans' famous French Quarter district, Jackson Square is steeped in a rich history associated with the epoch-making Louisiana Purchase. An arsenal of historic landmarks, including the three-steepled St. Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo and the Presbytere stand amid vast landscaped gardens, with the bronze statue of the heroic Andrew Jackson forming a compelling centerpiece. Although now buried under layers of history, the square harks back to a fascinating past, when it was originally known as the Place d'Armes. An erstwhile site for public executions, this square saw a dramatic shift at the turn of the twentieth century. At the height of the Roaring Twenties, this National Historic Landmark became widely known for its association with the arts, allowing artists to gather and participate in the exchange of ideas. Through the years, Jackson Square has been touched by fleeting, yet enduring associations with tarot-readers, jugglers, street artists, and paraders, echoing the very unbeatable ethos that New Orleans is known for today.
A glorious jewel gleaming in the heart of the city, the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis is one of the most prominent landmarks in the French Quarter. Illustrious in the extreme, the Cathedral has often single-handedly solidified New Orleans' identity. Lording over the historic landscape of Jackson Square, this magnificent cathedral is a soulful amalgamation of culture, history and an inextricable French legacy. The Cathedral of St. Louis was first built in 1718 but became an established parish in 1720. The current cathedral is not the original, but a rebuilt expansion of the third version of the cathedral, built in 1789. In 1964, Pope John Paul II designated the cathedral as a Minor Basilica. The graceful beauty of the St. Louis Cathedral and its surrounding courtyards in the French Quarter makes it a sight to behold. Cradled on the banks of the Mississippi River, the cathedral is considered one of the greatest symbols of Catholicism on the North American continent. Upheld by beautiful blue steeples and interiors which are just as ornate, this cathedral is an edifice hewn with an indelible French heritage.
It's just impossible to get bored of New Orleans' plush City Park. Sprawled over 1,500 acres, this welcoming oasis attracts hordes of people every day. You'll find lovebirds sharing some time together, children playing around, joggers doing their daily rounds and people absorbing the park's beauty. Camps, field trips and an amusement park are the facilities for children. Sports lovers can choose from golf, football, tennis and lots more. The park also provides the perfect setting for weddings, picnics, birthdays or other special functions. If you're a nature lover, you can volunteer to help protect this beautiful park.
The New Orleans Holocaust Memorial, situated on the bank of the Mississippi River in Woldenberg Park, stands in honor of the more than six million Jewish victims of the Nazis during the Holocaust. The memorial sculpture consists of nine colorful panels, each painted with a different image. When the sculpture is viewed from different angles around the memorial, the panels appear to come together to create ten distinct images. Israeli artist Yaacov Agam created the memorial sculpture. The New Orleans Holocaust Memorial was dedicated in June 2003.
Built on a race course in 1872, Metairie Cemetery is known for its architectural beauty. It has one of the finest collection of funeral statues and marble tombs which has made it secure a place in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places in December, 1991. It also holds its place in the Forbes list of ten bests cemeteries in the world. This cemetery is worth visiting while in New Orleans.
This Greek Revival mansion is home to original English and American antiques and eight acres of formal gardens and decorative fountains. Although florals vary with the seasons, visitors can count on a spectacular display year-round. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Longue Vue House & Gardens features ever-changing exhibits. A gift shop sells horticulture and decorative items, children's gifts and reproductions from the Longue Vue Collection.
Visitors strolling down Decatur Street toward the French Market are sure to notice the statue of Joan of Arc that rises above the tiny New Place de France Park at the intersection of Decatur and St. Philip Streets. The people of France gifted this golden bronze statue of Joan of Arc riding her horse and carrying a flag to the city of New Orleans. The statue serves as the ending point for the annual Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc parade that strolls through the French Quarter each year on Twelfth Night to honor the Maid of Orleans's birthday.
The center of all cultural activities, the French Quarter is the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans. The city of New Orleans was built around the main square of what was then known as the Vieux Carré, after the city's founding in 1718. However, most of the area's buildings come from the early 19th Century, when the city was acquired in the Louisiana Purchase. Although originally settled by French Creoles, by the early 20th Century they were mostly gone from the French Quarter, and bohemian culture began to boom in the area. Architectural delights like Jackson Square and its Saint Louis Cathedral are highlights of the neighborhood. The French Quarter's single most famous landmark, Bourbon Street, is a nightlife mainstay, being the main drag of Mardi Gras celebrations. Replete with rich architectural history and cultural implications, the French Quarter truly encapsulates New Orleans' vibrant spirit.
Originally known as Rue Bourbon, New Orleans' infamous Bourbon Street runs the length of the city's French Quarter, although it is the eight-block stretch of "Upper Bourbon Street," lined with bars and clubs of every genre, that is known for its lively nightlife scene. Initially a sought after residential neighborhood, shifting borders and demographics saw Bourbon Street succumb to the same vices the city had come to be known for, becoming famous for its restaurants, nightclubs and other risque establishments. Today, this street is best known for its involvement in the Big Easy's greatest festival, Mardi Gras, and its love affair with live jazz and blues. Each night, revelers throng the street with drinks in hand, their smiling faces lit by the multi-colored glow of neon lights. By day, the avenue's quaint architectural heritage comes to the fore, with time-honored eateries doling out traditional po'boys, beignets and other quintessentially, local eats.
In 1840 plans were put into place to commission a statue of Andrew Jackson for the center of Jackson Square. The bronze statue of General Jackson atop his horse was completed on December 1, 1855, but was not unveiled in New Orleans until February 9, 1856. A crowd of nearly 25,000 people gathered around Jackson Square for the unveiling ceremony. Artist Clark Mills designed the statue at a cost of $30,000. The Louisiana legislature also had allocated $10,000 for the project. Most of the remaining funding for the project is said to have been donated by the Baroness Micaela Almonaster de Pontalba.