Archive for Monday, September 5, 2005

City’s famous landmarks still standing after storm

September 5, 2005


In New Orleans, winding streets where revelers meandered, listening to jazz in the sticky heat, are now flooded with murky water. Some businesses and landmarks are submerged or damaged; others escaped the water but were ravaged by looters.

Rescue workers are combing the waters in search of survivors, but a different kind of reckoning also is becoming clear. New Orleans is one of the most iconic cities in America, and some of the places and pieces that make it unique could be lost or looted.

A list of famous spots in the city, and how they are faring, though the full extent of the damage won't be known for some time:

¢ Bourbon Street: A hedonistic strip in the Quarter bursting with bars like Pat O'Brien's, Molly's on the Market, and Jean Laffite's Blacksmith Shop. Located in the French Quarter, the area escaped flooding but remains closed.

¢ Cafe du Monde: Established in 1862, this coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter was best known for its cafe au lait, made with hearty New Orleans-style coffee, blended with chicory, and beignets. Still standing.

¢ The French Quarter: This historic district is full of wrought-iron balconies and ornate colonial architecture, but was also a playground for adults who could roam the streets with cocktails in tow and listen to jazz and, during Mardi Gras, grab for beads and go wild. The area escaped much of the flooding.

¢ Acme Oyster House: Built more than 90 years ago at the gateway to the French Quarter, the menu included raw oysters and traditional po' boys. On the edge of the Quarter, should have escaped much flooding.

¢ Galatoire's: Nearly a century old, the tiled and mirrored restaurant was famous for not taking reservations. The tuxedo-clad wait staff served Creole classics like shrimp remoulade and crab meat maison. Also located in the French Quarter. Still standing.

¢ U.S. Mint building: The building housed Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and produced money for the federal government until 1909. It later became home to jazz and Mardi Gras exhibits and the streetcar immortalized in Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire." The mint is still standing. The fate of the streetcar is unknown.

¢ Preservation Hall: A famed New Orleans jazz club located in an unassuming building originally built as a private residence in 1750. Fate unknown; it is in the middle of the Quarter, and should be unaffected unless looters have trashed it.

¢ St. Louis Cathedral: Located in Jackson Square and consecrated in 1794, it was said to be the oldest continuously active cathedral in the country. Still standing.

¢ St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District: The St. Charles Streetcar ran down the historic street, and the area was shaded by majestic oak trees layered in Spanish moss. Much wind damage; many of the trees were splintered.

¢ Fair Grounds: Located in the northeast section of the city, the fair grounds is best known as the home of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, but is also famous for its racetrack, built in 1852. The roof was torn off.

Little is known about the fate of other landmarks located in the flood area, including St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, one of the larger cemeteries known as "cities of the dead," with narrow paths, rusty iron work and sun-bleached tombs built above ground because the water table was so high caskets would occasionally float away if buried underground, and Maple Leaf Bar, a smallish place uptown on Oak Street with a hammered-on tin ceiling, an institution for local music.


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