When thinking about the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, one may think of the opulent Garden District homes or the historic cemeteries where the dead are buried in above-ground mausoleums to avoid the below-sea-level ground conditions. But for most people, the thought of the Crescent City evokes images of the debauchery of Bourbon Street or the jazz musicians in Jackson Square: collectively, the French Quarter. In his book Madame Vieux Carré: The French Quarter in the Twentieth Century, Scott Ellis takes the reader on a journey through the French Quarter from its beginnings as the first settlement of what we now know as New Orleans to the beginnings of the 21st century.
According to his biography on amazon.com, Scott S. Ellis is a French native who moved to New Orleans in 1982, and lived in the French Quarter in the mid-eighties. He decided in 2003 to compile a complete history of the French Quarter because he was disappointed in the lack of cohesive history …show more content…
In today’s society, tourism in the French Quarter is defined by the debauchery of Bourbon Street. However, according to Ellis, “The earliest marketing of Quarter tourism, then, emphasized the romance of ruins, while carefully avoiding any mention of squalor.”
Probably the most resonant chapter of Madame Vieux Carré: The French Quarter in the Twentieth Century is, of course, the section on the effects of Hurricane Katrina. In this section, Ellis discusses not only the negative aspects of the hurricane, “the most momentous event in New Orleans's history since the end of yellow fever,” but also the catharsis that came afterward. The Quarter itself was largely spared from the devastation that occurred to other parts of the city, and so recovered more quickly and was a major source of hope for the rest of the citizens after the