Top Landmarks in New Orleans

Before Hurricane Katrina hit, New Orleans was known primarily as a vacation destination of a rowdy college-aged crowd. The streets filled with partiers each year for Mardi Gras (as they still do) and even the rest of the year found New Orleans with a large population of adventurous young adults out in search of a good time. That good time is still to be found in New Orleans but there is also a new side of the city that visitors can appreciate.

Hurricane Katrina revealed (and strengthened) the true sense of community that characterizes the city of New Orleans. Along with that has come an even greater appreciation than before for the history of the city. Many buildings and monuments were destroyed by the hurricane. However many were preserved and others were rebuilt after the damage had been done. Today, New Orleans is filled with sights to be seen. Some are historic and others are modern but they all speak to the determination of the city to once again reign as a leading vacation destination in the United States.

If you’re going to be visiting New Orleans, these are the top landmarks that you’ll want to include on your itinerary:

French Quarter. The main area of New Orleans that you’re going to visit is going to be The French Quarter. This is the area where all of the bars and the famous jazz street musicians can be found. It’s the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans and some of the historic architecture is preserved there to this day despite some damage from Hurricane Katrina. Because this historic area was lucky enough to see only minimal damage from the hurricane, it has become an even more important center for the city to build itself around. Specific landmarks to be seen in the French Quarter include Jackson Square Park (home to several well-known cathedrals), The Old Absinthe House (which is one of the most famous historic bars in the area), and the Audubon Cottages which are a historic hotel that many famous people have stayed at over the years.

St. Charles Avenue Cable Cars. The few cities in the United States that still have cable cars operating are known for them because this form of transportation was once so important to modernizing America. New Orleans is one of those cities and that’s a major reason that some of the streetcar lines were repaired after damage by Hurricane Katrina. The St. Charles Avenue cable car line is of particular interest to New Orleans visitors because St. Charles Avenue is well-known as a beautiful street where visitors can see some of the beautiful outstanding architecture of New Orleans historic mansions. Keep an eye out for The Pontchartrain Hotel which is one of the famous landmarks along this avenue.

New Orleans Garden District. Starting around St. Charles Avenue but becoming its own full-fledged New Orleans neighborhood is the city’s Garden District. This is an area where historic homes and mansions are preserved for visitors to enjoy. There are walking tours given throughout this area for people who want a guided lesson in the history of the garden district. However, there is also ample opportunity to explore this area on your own in search of the many landmarks to be found here. The Manning Mansion on First Street, a row of shotgun houses on Coliseum Street and a mansion owned by author Anne Rice are among the most famous of the landmarks in this area. However, practically every home here has some history behind it.

New Orleans Cemeteries. New Orleans may be known for partying but a close second in terms of reasons people go here is to see the historic cemeteries that the city is famous for. They’re different from cemeteries in most places across the nation because the tombs are all above-ground (due to the obvious concern of flooding). Over the years, many of these cemeteries have become favorite tourist destinations for people interested in the history, architecture and people of New Orleans past. One of the best ways to see the cemeteries is to take a guided tour, especially a ghost tour, of the region. However, you can visit some of them on your own if you just want to get a glimpse of this landmark location.

Louisiana Superdome. In terms of modern landmarks, the most famous of them is the Superdome. This is a major sports arena where events including football games and concerts are held. It gained attention when it was first built as an important piece of architecture because it was the largest fixed dome building in the world. However, it became a place of historic importance when it served as the shelter for New Orleans residents who had to be rescued from Hurricane Katrina. It’s a place that holds a special spot in the hearts of many residents and a spot that you might want to see when you visit the see.
One Shell Square. This building which is located in the Central Business District doesn’t have a lot going for it in terms of tourism. However, it’s the tallest building in the city as well as the tallest building in the state. As a result, many people are interested in checking out to get some pictures and say that they’ve been there. Other tall buildings in the surrounding area that are considered landmarks for New Orleans include Place St. Charles (which actually has more floors than One Shell Square even though it’s not quite as tall), the World Trade Center New Orleans and Harrah New Orleans which is the newest of the skyscrapers in the city.

City Park. In contrast to the urbanization of the central business district is a famous city park in New Orleans which emphasizes the natural beauty of the area. It is a thirteen hundred square foot park which has a bayou running through it; you can’t get more New Orleans than that! There are also several different attractions in the park including botanical gardens, a sculpture garden and an art museum. Notably, this is not the only park in the city which is considered a New Orleans landmark. The Audubon Park, which includes the city’s zoo, is also a landmark destination for people interested in seeing all that there is to see in the city.

Warehouse District. Not all of the people who come to visit New Orleans bother to make their way to the city’s warehouse district but those that do never regret it. Arts and music have long been of great importance to the city of New Orleans and this is the area of town where much of that art is made. It’s only just beginning to become increasingly of interest to travelers but this section of the town has been churning out creative works for years and showcasing them in the galleries that are starting to serve as landmarks for the neighborhood.

New Orleans has always been a city that people have had on their must-visit lists. For most, that has been due to the Mardi Gras festivities that are so well-known. For others, New Orleans association with the jazz scene and its preservation of southern history has been a draw. Today, even more people may be drawn to the area because of the strength that the city has demonstrated in rebuilding and reinvesting in maintaining its landmarks for travelers and locals alike to enjoy.

Creative Commons License Photo credit: Corey Ann