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Sunday, February 5 • 1:30pm - 3:30pm
Walking Tour: Three Squares/Three Cultures

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Guide: John P. Klingman, Favrot Professor of Architecture, Tulane University

The tour focuses on three urban spaces in New Orleans: Jackson Square, Congo Square and Lafayette Square, the significant buildings in their environs and their contributions to New Orleans’s architectural and cultural history. Each of these spaces is of profound historical importance to the city. Although they are of identical size, each arose from and has contributed to, a completely distinct historic culture.

We will begin with a walk from the hotel to Lafayette Square, the seat of government in the American Sector from the mid nineteenth to the mid twentieth century. Anchored by James Gallier’s City Hall, a building that now bears his name, the square is surrounded by building of institutional importance, the Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals and several other buildings of the US federal government. Also of note are the Lafayette Hotel and recent office and mixed use buildings. From there we will pass by other nearby CBD places and buildings of significance, the remains of South Rampart St., the recent 930 Poydras residential building, and the Civic Center complex including City Hall and the New Orleans Public Library.

The second urban public space of focus is Congo Square. Crossing Canal St. on Rampart we will see the rejuvenated theatres at the intersection, most notably the Saenger. Along North Rampart we will note the juxtaposition of the Modernist parking structure and its neoclassical neighbor, the New Orleans Athletic Club. A block away, we will pass Bienville Basin, the transformation of the last midtwentieth century housing project, Iberville. Crossing Rampart, we will enter Congo Square, a place of seminal importance to the history and development of African American music and culture. We will discuss the transformation of Congo Square over time and its current condition being subsumed within Louis Armstrong Park.

Crossing from the Treme side of Rampart into the Vieux Carre, we engage our third place of focus, Jackson Square. On the way we will proceed riverward on Dumaine St. stopping at Madame John’s Legacy, one of the oldest residential buildings in the quarter, now open to the public by the Historic New Orleans Collection. We will enter the Square and discuss its vast prospect enfronting the Mississippi River. We’ll assess the cultural significance of the Cabildo, the Presbytere and St Louis Cathedral (20), from the original French settlement of the eighteenth century. We will also consider the role of the Pontalba buildings (22) in the urban, cultural and architectural contexts. A stroll up Chartres St. to the historic Napoleon House (23) completes the tour.

Please note that this tour requires a substantial amount of walking. For those preferring a more leisurely tour, The Vieux Carre tour is recommended.

Tour participants should meet on the first level across from the bank of elevators, in front of the Spirits bar. Please be early, as tours will leave on time. Look for the tour leader’s purple Mardi Gras hat.

Max participants: 22

Fee: $40

Sunday February 5, 2017 1:30pm - 3:30pm CST
Meet in hotel lobby (First Level, next to Spirits Bar)