The French Quarter encompasses all of the land stretching along the Mississippi River from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue (12 blocks) and inland to North Rampart Street (seven to nine blocks). The National Historic Landmark district is stated to be 85 square blocks.
The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré, is the oldest area in New Orleans. The neighborhood as a whole is a National Historic Landmark and contains numerous individual historic buildings. As a result of the Great New Orleans fire in 1788, much of the old French Colonial architecture was destroyed. The damages were left to the Spanish overlords of the time to rebuild with a more modern aesthetic. As a result, colorful walls and roofs and elaborately decorated ironwork balconies and galleries from both the 18th and early 19th century abound. In the 20th century, many bohemian artistic types were drawn to the Quarter and actively pursued preservation of the neighborhood. In 1984 New Orleans hosted the World’s Fair and the neighborhood was developed for the benefit of tourism. The Quarter was effected rather lightly from Hurricane Katrina in comparison to various other regions in the city. Today, the French Quarter remains a combination of residential, hotels, guest houses, bars, and tourist-oriented commercial properties with a signature New Orleans charm. Some of the major landmarks and businesses in the area are Jackson Square, Cafe du Mondé, Bourbon Street, Arnaud’s Restaurant, the Old Absinthe House and the French Market.