Jackson Square: A Historic and Cultural Gem in New Orleans

If you are looking for a place to experience the rich history and culture of New Orleans, look no further than Jackson Square. This historic park in the French Quarter is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, and a must-see for any visitor.


The History of Jackson Square

Jackson Square was originally called Place d'Armes or Plaza de Armas, which means a place for weapons or military exercises. It was designed in 1721 by the French colonial engineer Adrien de Pauger, following the plan of the famous Place des Vosges in Paris. 

The square was the center of political, social and religious life in New Orleans. It witnessed many historic events, such as:

The Great New Orleans Fire of 1788, which destroyed most of the buildings around the square, except for the St. Louis Church and the Cabildo (the town hall). 

The Louisiana Purchase of 1803, when France sold Louisiana to the United States for $15 million. The ceremonial transfers of power from Spain to France and from France to the United States took place at the square. 

The Battle of New Orleans of 1815, when General Andrew Jackson defeated the British army in the final major battle of the War of 1812. A statue of Jackson on horseback was erected in the center of the square in 1856 to commemorate his victory. 

The square was renamed Jackson Square in honor of Andrew Jackson in 1815. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960, for its central role in the city's history. 

The Attractions of Jackson Square

Jackson Square is not only a historic site, but also a vibrant cultural hub. It offers many attractions for visitors to enjoy, such as:

The St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest continuously active cathedral in North America. It was built in 1789 and rebuilt in 1850 in a Gothic Revival style. It is open daily for visitors and offers free tours and concerts. 

The Cabildo, the former seat of the Spanish colonial government and later the Louisiana Supreme Court. It is now a museum that showcases Louisiana's history and culture, from Native American artifacts to Mardi Gras costumes. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $5 for seniors, students and military. 

The Presbytère, the former residence of the priests of the cathedral and later a courthouse. It is now a museum that features exhibits on Hurricane Katrina and Mardi Gras. It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is $6 for adults and $5 for seniors, students and military. 

The Pontalba Buildings, two four-story brick buildings that flank the square on Chartres and St. Peter streets. They were built in 1849 by Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, one of the wealthiest women in New Orleans history. They are considered the oldest continuously rented apartment buildings in the United States. They house shops, restaurants and art galleries on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors. 

The Artists Colony, a group of local artists who display their paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures on the iron fences around the square. They have been a part of Jackson Square since the 1920s and offer a variety of styles and subjects for sale or commission. They are usually present from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., weather permitting.

The Street Performers, a diverse collection of musicians, magicians, jugglers, acrobats, mimes and fortune tellers who entertain the crowds at Jackson Square with their talents and skills. They are usually present from noon to dusk, depending on their schedules and permits.

The Mississippi Riverfront, a scenic walkway along the river that offers stunning views of the city skyline and the Crescent City Connection bridge. It is also a popular spot for watching riverboats, barges and cruise ships pass by.

How to Visit Jackson Square

Jackson Square is located at 701 Decatur Street in New Orleans' French Quarter. It is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., except during special events or festivals.

The best way to get to Jackson Square is by public transportation or walking. Parking is limited and expensive in the French Quarter.

You can take one of these options:

The Riverfront Streetcar Line, which runs along the river from the French Market to the Convention Center. The fare is $1.25 per ride or $3 for a day pass. You can get off at the Jackson Square stop. 

The Canal Streetcar Line, which runs along Canal Street from the Cemeteries to the Riverfront. The fare is $1.25 per ride or $3 for a day pass. You can get off at the Harrah's Casino stop and walk two blocks to Jackson Square. 

The Bus Lines 5, 10, 11, 55, 57, 88 and 91, which serve various parts of the city and connect to the French Quarter. The fare is $1.25 per ride or $3 for a day pass. You can get off at any stop near Jackson Square. 

The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour, which offers a narrated tour of the city's attractions and landmarks. The fare is $39 for a one-day ticket or $49 for a three-day ticket. You can get on and off at any of the 18 stops, including Jackson Square. 

You can also walk to Jackson Square from other nearby attractions, such as:

The French Market, a historic open-air market that sells food, crafts, souvenirs and antiques. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


The Café du Monde, a famous coffee shop that serves beignets (fried doughnuts) and café au lait (coffee with milk). It is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


The Bourbon Street, a lively street that is known for its bars, clubs, music and nightlife. It is especially crowded during Mardi Gras and other festivals.

Why You Should Visit Jackson Square

Jackson Square is more than just a park. It is a symbol of New Orleans' past, present and future.

It is a place where you can learn about the city's history and culture, admire its architecture and art, enjoy its entertainment and atmosphere, and relax in its beauty and charm.

It is a place where you can meet locals and visitors from all over the world, who share a love for this unique and vibrant city.

It is a place where you can experience the essence of New Orleans.

So don't miss this opportunity to visit Jackson Square on your next trip to New Orleans.

You won't regret it.

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