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The French Quarter
Photographs from December 27-29, 2006

For many visitors, the French Quarter is New Orleans. Its rich history has been the subject of numerous books and the inspiration for countless stories and myths. Its architecture is a treasure without equal; every building here has a story to tell. Its urbanism is an endless delight; these eighty or so city blocks are the very model of what cities could be, the kind of place where one doesn't want or need a car.

I almost didn't bother putting up photos, but I wanted to reinforce the point: the Quarter was minimally damaged by the hurricanes; it's back and open for business and pleasure.

Views along Decatur Street, at the south end of the Quarter.

A ghost sign advertising Liver Pills.

St. Louis Cathedral, facing the wonderful plaza of Jackson Square. This is the heart of the Quarter, its grand public space; it is lined by superlative buildings, faced by a major monument, adorned with ancient trees and ornate ironwork fences, filled with fountains, benches, and broad public walkways. Jazz bands gather here to give street concerts. Fortune tellers read palms; artists sell paintings; and Cafe du Monde sells its famous beignets just across the street.

Looking up Orleans Street at night, toward the back of the Cathedral.

South of the square, steps and walkways offer easy access to the mighty Mississippi River. Here is a model for how St. Louis might treat its riverfront -- graceful but minimal walkways, interlaced with the working industry that is the city's true reason for being.

Seen around Jackson Square:

Those in hell are suffering terrible screams of horror forever. Beautiful gorges [sic] Mary will hug and kiss you forever in heaven. Mary will be your loving companion in heaven forever. Its the Gods Truth, dont be a big fool and close heaven and Mary forever. Dont shack up stay sober don't take dope dont you dear [sic] sell dope dont shack up PRAY
Hell, I'm convinced.

Dwayne Paulin's New Orleans Jazz Band, playing on Jackson Square. I bought their CD. It wasn't quite as peppy as what they were playing, alas. Nothing beats live music.

One of two matching buildings that line the sides of the Square. They were built in the 1840s by a Madam Pontalba; they house retail at ground level, with the nation's oldest continuously-rented apartments above.

Art galleries along Chartres Street.

The view from our hotel, at the back end of the Quarter.

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