Originally called the Place d’Armes in the 18th century, New Orleans Jackson Square is an historic park in the French Quarter that was initially used as an open air market, public square and military parade ground. After the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 the one-square-block area was renamed in honor of General Andrew Jackson.
Jackson Square is surrounded by historic buildings, the most famous of which are the St. Louis Cathedral and the Presbytere and Cabildo (both National Historic Landmarks) on either side of the cathedral. The Presbytere and Cabildo are now state museums; the St. Louis Cathedral is a minor basilica and the oldest continuously operating Catholic Church in the United States.
Also located in Jackson Square are the Pontalba Apartments, the oldest apartment buildings in the nation which now offer restaurants, retail shops, galleries and museums; the upper floors still house a selection of high-status apartments.
Since the 1950s an open-air artist colony has flourished at Jackson Square, with artists painting and displaying their work daily. Two hundred permits are issued each year for artists wishing to work in Jackson Square and there is always a waiting list. You can have your portrait painted in about an hour, choosing from a selection of the finest portrait artists anywhere in the world.
Jackson Square is bounded by Chartres and Decatur Street on the west and east, St. Peter Street on the north and St. Ann Street on the south. The closest hotel is the Place d’Armes at 625 St. Ann Street, an intimate 84-room hotel with the rooms divided between eight restored townhomes.
In addition to the history and culture you can experience in the Square, there is great shopping and local cuisine for every budget. The world famous Café du Monde originally opened in 1862 in the French Market and still stands at 800 Decatur Street. The Café serves coffee, either black or au lait, beignets, white and chocolate milk and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Some of the unique shops at Jackson Square include the oldest kite shop in America, an art tile shop and a doll shop offering expertly crafted one-of-a-kind dolls.
Jackson Square is part of our New Orleans City Tour; come join us!