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Setting the Stage

While the English were developing the original 13 colonies along the East Coast, other European nations were active in North America. The French and the Spanish, in particular, were pursuing their colonial aims in areas farther inland and along the Gulf Coast. One result was that as Americans from the eastern states later moved across the continent, they encountered not only American Indian societies, but other European American communities as well.

In the years before the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, those who lived in Louisiana Territory were known as Creoles. These settlers had developed a distinctive culture from many diverse influences. The Vieux Carré ("old square") is the original city of New Orleans as laid out by the French military. Today, the Vieux Carré contains a remarkably well-preserved collection of buildings covering a wide range of styles and periods in an approximately 120-block area. It preserves the architectural legacy of the cityís Creole past, while revealing that American influences proved irresistible and had noticeable impact on the districtís styles and forms.



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