Shortly after the French founded New Orleans in 1718, engineers drew up a formal city plan for Nouvelle Orleans---the area that we now call the French Quarter. The city quickly expanded beyond those original boundaries to become an important American port. People arrived from all over the world, joining the early inhabitants of the area to create a distinct culture rich in food, music, and tradition.
Jean Lafitte's French Quarter Visitor Center shares the history and traditions of the city and the lower Mississippi River delta through visitor center exhibits and a film. Kids can earn a badge with the Junior Ranger program. The center's museum store has CDs, videos, collectibles, and books from history to cookbooks to children's stories. Admission is free. Click here for directions and for program listings for specific days.
419 Decatur Street, New Orleans
504-589-2636 ext. 1
Open Tuesday-Saturday 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Closed on federal holidays and Mardi Gras (Tuesday, February 17, in 2015). Useful information about public transportation, regulations on pets, etc., is available here. Note that the visitor center will be closed Thursday, January 8, through Saturday, January 10, since all staff will be working at the Battle of New Orleans bicentennial (come join us!).
Regularly scheduled programs:
- Tuesday through Saturday at 9:30 a.m., rangers lead riverfront history walks to the Mississippi River, just over the levee from the visitor center, to share the story of how the city began and grew. 25 free tickets per tour are given out beginning at 9:00 a.m. Walks last about an hour. First-come, first-served; each person wanting a ticket must pick up their own ticket. No reservations. No walk Thursday, December 25, Friday, December 26, or Thursday, January 1; center closed for federal holidays. Also, no walk Thursday, January 8, through Saturday, January 10; visitor center closed for Battle of New Orleans bicentennial (see note above)
- Field trips for schools and other groups by reservation.
- Summer camps for kids. See you in 2015!
For more about New Orleans, see