The culture of New Orleans is fabulously European and American deep south all mixed together. The architecture and the food hold a heavy influence over the city.
Founded by the French in the early 1700’s, settlers quickly began building the city of ‘Nouvelle-Orleans.’ The French Quarter and its surrounding areas were the first to be built. France ended up selling Louisiana to Spain in 1763 to settle a war debt. Nonetheless, Louisiana was considered a European territory until the Louisiana Purchase occurred in 1803, selling the territory over to the United States.
This is why the European influence over the city’s architecture is so strong. Though the French began building the city, the Spanish were actually the ones to finish much of it. Many of the buildings we see are more influenced by Spanish culture. This is why we see so much stucco and brick around the city. One of the most impressive Spanish buildings is the St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square (pictured at the bottom of this post).
Much of the cuisine in New Orleans also boasts a European influence, but there is also plenty of American southern style cooking to go around. Meals can range from fried alligator and biscuits and gravy, to jambalaya, French beignet pastries, and Spanish style tapas. I loved the variety. There was something new and exciting for me to try every day.
I highly recommend Cafe Beignet in the French Quarter. Obviously, you must try their beignets. The cafe is nestled into an outdoor patio that often plays live jazz music. The pastries and the atmosphere are fantastic. And I heard a restaurant called ‘Barcelona Tapas’ is great for Spanish food, but I never ventured there myself. I also recommend Apolline for French food. They serve brunch too! Don’t forget to check out the crawfish available all over the city, and check out Frenchmen Street for jazz music with a great southern meal.
Between the gorgeous architecture and the hearty meals of New Orleans, I was never disappointed. There was always something beautiful to see and something delicious to experience.