New Orleans has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best-preserved old cities in the United States. A large share of the credit for that reputation lies with the Preservation Resource Center.
Dedicated to preserving the historic and unique architectural character of New Orleans’ neighborhoods, the PRC has been in the forefront of preservation efforts throughout its thirty-plus years of existence. Thanks to those efforts, countless structures of priceless architectural value throughout the city – not just in the French Quarter – have been spared the wrecking ball, and still stand today as striking reminders of a glorious past.
In the PRC’s office, itself an attractive, historic structure in the city’s Warehouse District, visitors can learn the difference between a Creole cottage and a double gallery Garden District mansion, or between a standard shotgun house and a camelback. The center features both permanent and rotating exhibits on New Orleans architecture and historic neighborhoods.
One of the most intriguing displays is a replica of Jackson Square in 1855, with the spires of St. Louis Cathedral under construction, in addition to a portion of the adjacent French Market and docks on the Mississippi River.
The “Living With History” exhibit features hundreds of professional and amateur photographs of New Orleans residents going about their daily lives in a variety of fascinating New Orleans neighborhoods. Each image is available for purchase.
Distinguished by its extraordinary cast-iron Gothic Revival façade and Gothic-style windows, the PRC building was designed by the firm of Gallier and Turpin for the Leeds Iron Foundry and erected in 1853. The Gallier family of architects designed many of New Orleans’ major structures in the middle of the 19th century. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and was designated as a local landmark by the Historic District Landmarks Commission.
The PRC also offers maps of New Orleans National Historic Districts and information on properties for sale. Visitors can inspect a variety of prototypes and floor plans of historic homes, as well as receive valuable advice from experts on how to properly renovate and preserve these properties.
Before touring any neighborhood, sightseers should stop by the Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans to pick up helpful walking tour brochures highlighting neighborhood restaurants, churches, theaters and much more. Valuable information on New Orleans architecture and neighborhoods is available in the center's comprehensive library section.