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Central Business District New Orleans
Home of the 99-cent Walking Tour
A Walking Tour of the Central Business District, New Orleans, Louisiana
from walkthetown.com When Americans first came to New Orleans in the early 1800s they settled in the uptown side of the city across Canal Street from the original city, the FrenchQuarter. It was in this section that they built their homes and business establishments and distinguised their lifestyles from those of the Creoles residing nearby. The name ‘Canal Street” derived from a planned waterway that was to connect the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain but it was never constructed. Instead Canal Street became the main shopping district of New Orleans. It was long home to grand department stores. The world’s first movie theater, Vitascope Hall, was established on Canal Street in 1896. Canal Street remains the hub of the city’s mass transit system. Nearby, churches and city government buildings gathered around Lafayette Square, once a grand park for residents and cotton merchants. This is where our walking tour will begin...
Lafayette Square bordered by Camp Street and St. Charles Avenue and Maestri Place
First known as Place Gravier, it became Lafayette Square after the Marquis de Lafayette’s visit to New Orleans in 1825. Lafayette Square has been the site of inaugurations, yearly pilgrimages by school bands, and jazz concerts for over 150 years. In 1864, famed bandleader Patrick S. Gilmore presented his legendary concert with a 500 plus member band, a choir of thousands of school children, and a bell ringer. The statue of Henry Clay dates to 1856 and Ben Franklin, by Hiram Powers, to 1872. 2. F. Edward Hebert Federal Building 600 South Maestri Place, south side of Lafayette Square
Designed by architect Howard Lovewell Cheney, the Hebert Federal Building has held offices and a branch of the U.S. Post Office since 1939. It is highlighted by Art Deco decorations, including bas relief figures. The building stands on the site of the majestic First Presbyterian Church that was destroyed by a hurricane in 1915. 3. Soule College southwest corner of St. Charles Avenue and Lafayette Street, west side of Lafayette Square
Established in 1856, excepting during the years of the Civil War, when the president, Colonel George Soule, entered the Confederate Army, Soule College was a highly regarded business college. In 1884, it became co-educational to meet the demands of women for commercial education. When it closed in 1883 it was the oldest business school int he South.
Gallier Hall 545 St. Charles Avenue, west side of Lafayette Square
This impressive Greek Revival building was the inspiration of James Gallier Sr. Erected between 1845 and 1853, it served as City Hall for just over a century. It is constructed of Tuckahoe marble and features two impressive rows of fluted Ionic columns. The building has been the site of many inportant events in New Orleans’ history, especially during the Reconstruction and Huey Long eras. Several important figures in Louisiana history lay in state in Gallier Hall, including Jefferson Davis and General Beauregard. WALK NORTH ON ST. CHARLES AVENUE (Lafayette Park is on your right). 5. Pan American Life Insurance Building northeast corner of Poydras Street and St. Charles Avenue
The Pan American Life Insurance Building, 27 stories sheathed in red granite, was completed in 1980. TURN LEFT ON POYDRAS STREET.
Le Pavillion 833 Poydras Street
Eminent New Orleans architects Toledano and Woggan designed the Beaux Arts-styled Hotel Denechaud in 1907. Teh hostelry achieved new heights of elegance and luxury in the city. It featured the first hydraulic elevators in New Orleans and the first basement ever built in the city. Locals and guests alike could marvel at the electric lights. In a heyday of grand hotels, the Denechaud was one of the grandest, hosting the world’s rich and famous. In 1970, new ownership undertook a major restoration of the tired hotel. To complete the renaissance of this living legend it was renamed Le Pavillion. TURN LEFT ON BARONNE STREET. 7. Shubert Theater 533 Baronne Street
This is New Orleans’s oldest theater and opened in 1906 as the Shubert Theater, one of a nationwide chain. Local theater architect, Sam Stone, designed it to meet specifications for legitimate theater. Through the years its name and its playbill have changed several times, offering movies and vaudeville as the Lafayette, burlesque as the Star, and legitimate theater as the Poche and, today, the Civic. RETURN TO POYDRAS STREET AND TURN LEFT.
It is sheathed in granite panels and reflective bronze glass with a tiered crown. the Superdome is the largest fixed domed structure in the world.8. . Its structural steel frame covers a 13acre expanse. TURN RIGHT ON LASALLE STREET AND RIGHT ON PERDIDO STREET. 10. Energy Center 1100 Poydras Street The post-modern. The exterior of the building is clad in granite and bronze tinteded glass. The first game was played in the Superdome in 1975. First Bank and Trust Tower 909 Poydros Street The post-modern First Bank and Trust Tower opened in 1987. Inc. it is the fifth tallest building in both the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. 9. 39-story Energy Center was designed by HKS. At 36 stories and 481 feet in height. Its 273-foot tall dome is made of a Lamella multi-ringed frame and has a diameter of 680 feet. in 1984. Louisiana Superdome 1500 Sugar Bowl Drive Designed in 1967 by the New Orleans modernist architectural firm of Curtis and Davis. 530-feet.
355-foot skyscraper remains a familiar part of the New Orleans skyline . . City Hall 1300 Perdido Street The current New Orleans City Hall opened in 1958. The Exchange wanted to bring order to what was a highly speculative and often erratic pricing system by providing a centralized trading office where people involved in the business could obtain information about market conditions and prices. the Exchange established standards for classification and facilitated payments between buyers and sellers.11. The white dome that tops the 20-story. corner of Gravier Street The Cotton Exchange was conceived and financed by a group of cotton merchants in 1871 when fully one-third of the entire production of cotton in America was sent to New Orleans. 12.lit up for holidays in bright colors. Hibernia Bank Building 812 Gravier Street. at the corner of Carondelet Street The headquarters of Hibernia National Bank was the tallest building in Louisiana when it was completed in 1921. The original Cotton Exchange Building was replaced with a new larger one built in 1920-1921. TURN LEFT ON CARONDELET STREET. Cotton Exchange 231 Carondelet Street. 13. TURN LEFT ON LOYOLA AVENUE AND TURN RIGHT ON GRAVIER STREET. As well as trading.
The walls of the vault are 3 feet of solid concrete. the only entrance to the vault is through a 38-ton. 16. . 15.14. Today it is privately owned and operated. The family tradition continues today on Canal Street. multiple combination and keyed steel door. Astor Hotel 739 Canal Street at Bourbon Street opposite Carondelet Street The present Astor Crowne Plaza incorporates the historic Astor Hotel on this site from the turn of the 20th century.S. reinforced with hardened steel. Security Center 147 Carondelet Street The Security Center was built as a Federal Reserve Bank and the vault was originally constructed in the early 20th century to house the U. Adler’s 722 Canal Street Coleman E. TURN RIGHT ON CANAL STREET. Adler opened a family jewelry shop on Royal Street in the French Quarter in 1898 and the business quickly gained a reputation for excellence throughout the South. Government’s gold.
Charles Avenue. Many years later. When Morris Rubenstein set up shop in 1924 the corner storefront was only 11 feet by 14 feet. Rubenstein’s is another New Orleans institution that has remained family-run through the generations. The business boomed after World War II when the Rubensteins made a deal with Arrow shirts to sell white shirts to returning servicemen. collars and neckties. Rubenstein’s 102 St. Mississippi. the business fell to Philip Werlein. but the family kept their retail store open in New Orleans as the nation’s oldest family-owned retail music company. Philip Werlein’s son. P. the boys made a living selling shirts. P. Soon joined by his brother Elkin.In 1853. became the new owner. Today the Werlein Building is occupied by the Palace Cafe owned and operated by Dickie Brennan.’s son. . Werlein left teaching for music publishing in 1842 in Vicksburg. where he established a company called Ashbrand & Werlein at 93 Camp Street and later moved to the center of Canal Street In 1861 Werlein ignored copyright law and published unauthorized sheet music for “Dixie” which stirred great profit and controversy. Werlein & Halsey reopened in 1865. Charles Avenue at Canal Street Like Adler’s. of the famed New Orleans restaurant family. he moved operations to New Orleans. also named Philip. Werlein Building 605 Canal Street German-born P. In 1940.five on Canal Street and two on St.17. Eventually the store grew from its humble beginnings to seven buildings .P. Both disappeared with the fall of the Confederacy in the Civil War. David Franck bought the Werleins’ publishing business. Jr. 18.
20. World Trade Center (visible at the edge of Mississippi River) The World Trade Center-New Orleans is a non-profit organization of over 1. Iberville. which merged in 1985. This monumental granite Greek-and-Egyprian-inspired building was begun in 1848 and completed over a period of 33 years. North Peters.600 corporate and individual members which was started in 1943 as International House and in 1945 as International Trade Mart. TURN RIGHT ON MAGAZINE STREET. U. WTC New Orleans was the first of what are today 336 World Trade Center organizations in 92 countries.S. and Decatur streets The U. 21. Sanlin Building 442 Canal Street This Greek Revival building was given a dressing of modernistic linking gold and silver aluminum panels.S. its two predecessor organizations.19. Custom House bounded by Canal. The grand Marble Hall in the center of the building is one of the finest Greek Revival interiors in the United States. . Custom House is one of the oldest and most important federal buildings in the southern United States and one of the major works of architecture commissioned by the federal government in the nineteenth century.
Eight years after Che’s disappearance. the Board of Trade was once again renovated. French merchants set fire to Che’s store. so his legend can live on in the beauty of the island heavens. In 1833. during the Civil War. First. From 1861 to 1865. giving the times in New Orleans. 23. the Banks Arcade was built to furnish American merchants with a place to trade. James Hotel was built. Its British West Indies theme honors Che.which is now the Board of Trade Plaza. in 1859. In 1993. and trading continued on the floor until the 1960s. New Orleans Board of Trade 316 Board of Trade Place off Magazine Street The New Orleans Board Of Trade was founded in 1880. The eight-sectioned mural done was hand-pained by local artist Alvin Sharpe in 1932. but this procession was abruptly interrupted. the floors leveled and carpeted with a permanent dance floor installed. James Hotel 330 Magazine Street During the early 19th century. Che was never found. among them was a merchant named Che. New York & Rio de Janeiro. the hotel became a Union hospital. One night in 1851. The news of his death led the highest voodoo priestesses to conduct rituals that would deliver his spirit home to the Caribbean. which were the major players in the Green Coffee Trading. Today the St. the canvas was glued to the dome. James Hotel is located only blocks from its original location .22.the local version of Michelangelo. Centered on the eastern wall of the building are three clocks. Che leased a shop on Magazine Street in the Banks Arcade and became notorious for having insider information on the French merchants. It took him approximately three months to complete. trade between New Orleans and the West Indies brought thousands of immigrants from the Caribbean. and then he painted them while on a scaffold in the prone position -. It is now available for special event rentals. St. the Banks Arcade was renovated and the original St. which have been in place since the building was erected. After the flames were out. .
Regional building materials were used throughout. TURN LEFT ON CAMP STREET. After an extensive restoration the Fifth Circuit Court of . which was one of the local institutions Whitney acquired during the Great Depression. subsequently burned and was rebuilt by 1910. Since then. Since converted to a hotel. It is faced in white Cherokee. this monumental three-story Italian Renaissance Revival building was called “the most important public building of the New South” when it opened. including Mississippi and Louisiana pine.S. this Poydras and Camp location has grown into one of Whitney’s largest branches. Post Office and Courthouse It served as a public high school for three years after Hurricane Betsy in 1965. Whitney National Bank southwest corner of Poydras Street and Camp Street The building was erected in 1870. 24. east side of Lafayette Square Completed in 1915. 25. The first story is articulated with deeply incised horizontal striations while the marble on the upper stories is cut in smooth ashlar blocks. Dramatic colonnades with Ionic columns are on the Camp and Magazine street elevations and support a cornice inscribed with the names of past Chief Justices of the Supreme Court. At that time it was owned by the TimesDemocrat. serves as a private dining room for up to eight people. Georgia.S. Tennessee and Georgia marble. Round-arch openings dominate the first story. marble atop a gray granite base. The newspaper sold the building to Metropolitan Bank in the 1920s. located in what is now the lobby. Court of Appeals Building 600 Camp Street. holding over $72 million in deposits when federal regulators conducted their last survey of deposits in June 1999. John Minor Wisdom U. The building began life as the U.TURN RIGHT ON POYDRAS STREET. the New Orleans newspaper that would later become the TimesPicayune. one of the bank’s two vaults. and Louisiana gum.
The new church. the nave 85 feet. Eli Lilly and Company 338 Lafayette Street. but the parish was established in 1833. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and has since been featured in several films and television shows. the vestibule 40 feet. the building was renamed to honor John Minor Wisdom. Patrick’s Church. TURN LEFT ON COLLEGE STREET TO COURT PLAZA. The first structure was a small wooden building at the site the church occupies today. . Aside from the magnificent Gallier Hall. In 1994. St. the nation’s highest civilian honor. southeast corner of Camp Street This factory building features Art Deco flourishes. RETURN DOWN CAMP STREET TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT IN LAFAYETTE SQUARE. The tower is 185 feet high. In 1993. a stunning example of the arts and crafts of another era. The church dates to 1840. Old St. President William Jefferson Clinton awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Patrick’s is the onlyearly landmark of distinction in the Lafayette Square area that still remains much as it did originally. designed by noted architects Charles and James Dakin was of Gothic style in elegant details. Wisdom strongly promoted civil rights and issued landmark decisions that supported school desegregation and voter rights. 26. with a ceiling imitating Exeter Cathedral.Appeals returned to the building as its only tenant. Patrick’s Church 724 Camp Street Among the most revered of New Orleans historic landmarks is Old St. a respected judge who served on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals from 1957 until his death in 1999. the first outside the boundaries of the original city. 27.
windows are never in adjacent pairs * paneled door. side-gabled roof * small casement windows with many small panes (restored often) * massive chimney * vertical board (batten) door * little o rno eave overhang. less commonly three-ranked or sevenranked . narrow door and window openings * doors and wndows typically divided vertically into pairs * walls of stucco (over half-timbered frame) Spanish Colonial (1660-1850) * low-piched or flat roof * normally one story * few small windows * multiple external doors * walls very thick in stucco over adobe brick or rubble stone * long. narrow porches opening to courtyards Georgian (1700-1780) * windows with double-hung sashes. typically nine or twelve small panes per sash. most divided into upper and lower halves * little or no eave overhang French Colonial (1700-1830) * steeply pitched roof.Identifying American Architecture Recognizing Early American Architecture: Postmedieval English Colonial (1600-1700) * steeply pitched. either hipped or side-gabled * one story * tall. normally with decorative crown ( most oftne pedimented but at times broken-pedimented) and supportedby decorative pilasters * row of small rectangular panes beneath door crown * cornice usually emphasized with tooth-like dentils or other decorative molding * windows typically five-ranked and symmetrically balanced with cneter door. no cornice detailing * one room deep Dutch Colonial (1625-1840) * side-gamberled roof * usually one story * batten door.
slender windows Second Empire Style (1855-1885) * mansard roof. typically accompanied by sidelights. windows are never in adjacent pairs * semi-circular or eliptical fanlight over paneled door.Adamesque (Federal) (1780-1820) * windows with double-hung sashes. prominent columns . with dormer windows on steep lower slope * molded cornices bound lower roof slope above and below * eaves normally with decorative brackets below . elaborated crown and surround. less commonly three-ranked or sevenranked * while similar to Georgian. typically six small panes per sash. divided band of trim Recognizing Victorian Architecture: General Victorian Features (1840-1910) * roof ornaments * bay (protruding) windows * three-part Palladian (rounded in middle) windows * gingerbread porch trim Gothic Revival Style (1835-1875) * high-pitched center gables * pointed arch windows and doors * pendants and finials extending from roof Italianate Style (1840-1885) * brackets under roof cornices * cupolas on the roof * narrow. and/or extended as small entry porch * cornice usually emphasized with tooth-like dentils or other decorative molding * windows typically five-ranked and symmetrically balanced with cneter door.Doric: plain capitals . usually incorporated into elaborate door surround * cornice lines emphasized with wide. features are often “lighter” Greek Revival (1825-1860) * gabled or hipped roof of low pitch * entry porch or full-width porch supported by square or round.Corinthian: capitals shaped like inverted bells decorated with leaves * narrow line of transom and sidelights around door. square porch posts with chamfered corners * tall.Ionic: capitals with scroll-like spirals . concave or convex.
porch supports or entrance * most have towers. often clustered Neoclassical (1895-1950) * facade dominated by full-length porch supported by classical columns. porches and bays * decorative trusses in gables. usually round with conical roofs * always masonry walls.Stick Style (1860-1890) *stick-like bracketing on porches. two-story entrances. usually with rough-faced. typically Ionic or Corinthian * facade shows symmetrically balanced windows and center door * revivals may have curved porticos. smooth porch columns. irregular roofline Shingle Style (1880-1900) * shingled walls without interruption at corners * multi-level eaves above asymmetrical facade * extensive porches * walls and roofs covered with continuous wood shingles Richardsonian Romanesque (1880-1900) * based ont he innovative designs of Boston architect Henry Hobson Richardson * round topped arches over windows. paired or tripled windows and/or bays not seen on originals * often very large . squared stonework * facade usually asymmetrical Recognizing 20th century Architecture: Colonial Revival (1885 and beyond) * accentuated front door with fanlights and sidelights * symmetrical facade around centered entrance * windows with double-hung sashes * large dormers * round. often steeply pitched gross gables * wooden wall cladding (boards or shingles) Queen Anne Style (1880-1910) * asymmetrical facade * patterned shingles * turned porch posts and trim * corner towers and turrets * wraparound porch * steeply pitched. often diagonal or curving * stick-like grid on wall surfaces * Jerkin-Head (cut-off triangular) roofs and dormers * pent (or shed) roofs on dormers.
Tudor (1890 -1940) * massive chimneys. stucco or in combination French Chateauesque (1890-1930) * busy roof line with many vertical elements (spires. narrow windows. usually stone Beaux Arts (1890-1930) * wall surfaces with decorative garlands. shaped chimneys) * steeply pitched hipped roof * multiple dormers. pinnacles. commonly arched above * commonly with red tile roof covering * widely overhanging eaves. usually side-gabled * tall. rounded edges * unpainted wood porch columns . usually steeply perched * decorative half-timbering often present * steeply pitched roof. oftne paired with Ionic or Corinthian capitals * first story typically rusticated (stonework) with exaggerated joints * facade symmetrical Spanish Mission Style (1890-1930) * shaped Mission dormer or roof parapet * porch roofs supported by large square piers. stone. usually wall dormers extending through cornice line * walls of masonry.maybe just tree trunks * tile or brick floors Prairie Style (1900-1920) * low-pitched roof with widely overhanging eaves * two stories with one-story porches or wings * massive square porch supports * detail emphasizing horizontal lines * hipped roofs are more common than end or side gables * one of few indigenous American styles developed by Chicago architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and built only during first two decades of century . gables. usually open * wall surface usually smooth stucco Pueblo Revival (1910-present) * flat roof with parapeted wall above * stucco wall surface. turrets. usually of light-colored stone * facade with corner quoins and columns. floral patterns or shields * masonry walls. usually earth-toned * projecting wooden roof beams (vigas) * wall and roof parapet with irregular. commonly crowned by decorative chimney pots * facade dominated by one or more prominent cross gables. wood. commonly in multiple groups with multi-pane glazing * walls of brick.
sunrise pattern Art Moderns (1920-1940) * streamline.Craftsman (1905-1930) * low-pitched gabled roof with wide. chevron with lozenge. lines. balustrades * windows can turn corners and can be roundly shaped * glass-block windows or sections of the wall International (1925-present) * no decorative detailing at doors or windows * smooth. reding and fluting. unenclosed eave overhang * roof rafters usually exposed * porches supported by square columns * decorative braces or false beams under gables * columns frequently continue to ground level without a break at porch level * generally one or one-and-a-half stories Art Deco (1920-1940) * zigzags and other geometric and stylized motifs * towers and other vertical projections * smooth stucco wall surface * decorative motifs: geometric floral. often around doors and windows. curved corners * smooth stucco wall surface * asymmetrical facade * flat roof. unornamental wall surface * asymmetrical facade * flat roof. usually without ledge at roof line * windows usually metal casements set flush with outer walls . usally with ledge at roof line * horizontal grooves.
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