A little education to start…
New Orleans, Louisiana (also known as NOLA) was inhabited for thousands of years by Native Americans, like most of the United States. In the late 1600’s the French came in, liked what they saw and by 1718 the French took over and claimed it the New France.
The King sent over a wild crew (think gold hunters, convicted criminals, & trappers) to build the city, after all it was mostly marsh & a large trading route from all the waterways. In 1722 a Hurricane came and wiped out most of the area and soon after the grid like French Quarter was built.
In 1762 the Spanish were given New Orleans and under their reign two massive fires burnt down much of the city. So much to where only three original French buildings stand in the French Quarter to this day (the St. Louis Cathedral, the Cabildo, and Presbytere) and the rest are of Spanish influence. Many European immigrants arrived and built large multi-story homes centered around an inner courtyard with high ceilings, wooden floors and iron gates. You’ll also notice that many of the homes are built of brick as a way to withstand fire.
By the late 1700s the sugar industry was booming and put New Orleans on the map as the South’s center. It was the second biggest port city in the US with a high number of sailors and immigrants passing through. Spain granted the ‘Right of Deposit’ allowing American citizens to use the port facilities and by 1800 the Spanish gave Louisiana back to the French though it had to remain under Spanish control. By 1803 Louisiana was sold to the US under the Louisiana Purchase.
Now urban legend goes that… back when the French first discovered Nouville Orleans and the King sent over his wild crooks to build the city that he also sent over ships of orphan girls as the men were going crazy from the high humidity & temperatures and lack of women. The girls arrived to NOLA with a large box holding a wedding dress and went straight to the nuns at the St. Louis Cathedral where they were taught to be respectable women. Once the nuns finished their training they would send them off to get married to an eligible beau however when the time came all the boxes were empty and not a wedding dress was to be found. They say French vampires threw out the dresses and used the boxes as casquettes on their journey over from France.
Between the French vampires and the two large city fires burning down over a total of 1,050 buildings they say the city is haunted. Also, New Orleans Voodoo became very present in the city as a result of the Louisiana slave trade.
Needless to say it’s an interesting city! I spent the afternoon browsing the streets of the French Quarter with my headphones on and camera in hand while sister tapped away on her computer at a local cafe.