Vieux Carre


Vieux Carre

From its beginnings, New Orleans has been locked to the Mississippi River; the cause for New Orleans' wealth.  It was originally colonized when Robert de LaSalle came down the Mississippi River from Canada, claiming the entire Mississippi river basin for France. The area of Louisiana was named in honor of King Louis XIV.  At first, nobody wanted to settle on such low ground, so the settlers went north to what is now known as Baton Rouge, however, it just wasn't right for a major port city.  Going south proved to be a better location for the type of port wanted, so in 1718, Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville established New Orleans as the capital city of Louisiana to control the wealth of North America.  The French referred to New Orleans as the Isle d'Orleans because of the rivers, lakes, and swamps surrounding the city. New Orleans was far better than the surrounding swamps and soon became a dwelling place for tourists of the Mississippi. So already, New Orleans was a popular tourist site.

From 1718 to 1810, New Orleans had a very distinct European quality, from the wooden walls to the simple and plain buildings.  During the eighteenth century, the growth of the colony was long and tedious.  It remained in French hands until 1763, when the Treat of Paris was signed.  The treaty forced France to cede Canada and all territory between the Appalachians and Mississippi, including most of Florida and Louisiana north of Lake Ponchartrain, to Britain.  The rest of Louisiana, including New Orleans, was handed over to the Bourbons of Spain.
It was under Spanish rule that New Orleans finally became a city.  Unfortunately, it was a city of much drinking and carousing. The settlers became mostly pirates, river boatsmen, soldiers, and included citizens of all races.  As a result of natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes, the Vieux Carre was rebuilt by the Spanish and little remains of French influences.  Both Creoles and Anglo-Saxons welcomed the end of Spanish rule in 1803.  Creoles stated that Spain's political rule threatened their French heritage; Anglo-Saxons welcomed the increase of American trade, government, and society that would eventually come to New Orleans.
American annexation, as expected, brought population growth and a drastically expanded economy.  In 1810, New Orleans was named the fifth largest city in the United States. By the 1830's there were three main sections of the city: the original French Quarter, the American sector, and Fauberg Marigny, which was the section just above Canal Street. The Garden District was also established in the 1830's and 1840's. By 1852, the city grew up the river to Louisiana Avenue forming Lafayette. In the same decade, Jefferson City was formed as the area between Louisiana Avenue and Jefferson Avenue. Across the river from the French Quarter, Algiers was expanded into yet another small city. And so the formation of all these small sectors is what built New Orleans into what we see today.

A gift from Spain

A message from the North during the War Between the States.
Governor Bernardo de Galvez (1777-1785). 

 "Old Hickory" .... General Andrew Jackson.