|user | |2/12/2010 |
I recently visited New Orleans and was mesmerized by the atmosphere of the French Quarter. It is unlike any other city I have been in and indeed the French Quarter is a city unto itself seemly separate from its entirety. Of course, I went on the ghost tours’ etcetera. But, even from the moment I saw the old buildings, the lay out of the streets, and the manner of the locals, I wondered about all those that had gone before, the history of the people that make up this place. I stood looking at the oldest building, touched its’ wall, and wondered what life and stories had past before it. I had the pleasure of staying in a home of which is now a hotel, Haunted Hotel on Ursulines 623 Ursulines Ave. to be exact, although it remains to be seen whether it is haunted or not. Rhonda the owner/ manager said, “It’s just a name to drum up business, and pretty much everywhere in New Orleans is haunted in some manner or another.” And, again the echoes of the past lives lived, imprinting those experiences on a city made unique due to their histories.
The people of New Orleans, The French period
New Orleans was originally founded as a French colony, by Sieur de Bienville in 1718. The chosen site had been and, was regularly used by Indians as a camp while hunting. Bienville was its first Governor primarily by default. “New Orleans was laid out in 1720 by Military engineer Pierre La blond De la Tour according to the typical plan of the late medieval French township. Towns were built around a place called d armes or military parade square, fronting a river or a sea and flanked by a jail, church, or home government office building and sets of official residences de la tour’s assistant Adrien de Pauger , began to implement the plan the next year. It consisted of nine squares running along the river and six squares running toward the lake. A grid of streets led away from the parade square to the boundaries of the community. The latter were to be marked by forest and earthen ramparts by which it became clear that there was need for them they were not built.”( Stebbins)
This is the same as it is today. The square or common area at the center of the town is today Jackson square. On the map drawn up by Pierre La blond De la Tour the streets names are still used today. Running north to south are Arsenal, St Philippe, Dauphine, Anne, D’Orleans, St Peter, Toulouse, St Louis, Conit, Bienville. Then, running east to west are Chartes, Royal, Bourbon, Dauphine, later Arsenal was changed to Ursulines, in honored of the convent established in 1726, and this is according to the original hand -drawn map written in French by de la Tour. Then beyond that, the next to be named was hospital Street and Barracks Street to the north or, up river. To the south was Custom House Street. All the streets were included in the original map drawn up in 1720, but all were not named as of that date.
From the beginning, this new colony was ill funded. With France having financial problems of its own, the settlers of New Orleans knew of some funding problems due...