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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Jackson Square: New Orleans

Not Sponsored: After you finish eating beignets and drinking a cup of cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, walk diagonally across the street to Jackson Square (also here). Jackson Square (formerly known as the Place d'Armes - public executions took place here - I wrote about the 1811 German Coast Uprising) is a National Historical Landmark (It was designated as such in 1960) located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Its where the Louisiana Purchase took place in 1803 (acquisition of the territory of Louisiana by the United States from France). Before that it was a trading area (it sits facing the Mississippi River). It was designed by architect and landscape architect Louis H. Pilie. His inspiration was the Place des Vosges in Paris, France. Its a two and a half acre park with benches, lamp posts, two canons and marble statues. Its four corners (directions) are described just like the seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall.

French Quarter Tour

Cafe Du Monde | Jackson Square | St Louis Cathedral

The Cabildo | The Presbytre

A major focal point of Jackson Square is a statue of Andrew Jackson (erected in 1856). The sculpture (by sculptor Clark Mills) is actually a recasting of a Washington DC statue. Andrew Jackson was an American soldier (General in The United States Army - known for winning the Battle of New Orleans) and was also the seventh President of The United States of America. Jackson was a slave owner (The Hermitage Plantation in Tennessee here). He also signed the Indian Removal Act (which forcibly relocated Native American Tribes). The relocation caused widespread death and disease among the Indians. He is known for paying off the entire national debt. He's been featured on a number of bank notes, currently the $20 bill. I encourage you to read his life story on Wikipedia and come to your own opinion about him. Although a gorgeous and commanding statue, I'm not in agreement with many of his life's decisions.

In 2018, New Orleans celebrated its Tricentennial (300th Anniversary). Below is a sign (statue) along the Mississippi River commemorating the event. There were a number of events celebrating the anniversary. Here's a website that talks about the history of New Orleans and offers some valuable information. 

I would also like to mention the Pontalba Apartment Buildings (not pictured) that are on the sides of Jackson Square. They're absolutely gorgeous! Made of brick, they were built in the late 1840s by Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba and at the time cost $300,000 to build. There's an upper and lower (shop owners) Pontalba building. Both were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.
Surrounding (just behind the statue of Andrew Jackson) Jackson Square are three buildings: St. Louis Cathedral, The Cabildo on the left (Louisiana State Museum) and The Presbytyre on the right (Louisiana State Museum). I visited them on the same day as well. Lets begin with St. Louis Cathedral.

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