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Multicultural History
 

The Founding French Fathers

IMAGEDESC
Pierre, Sieur d'Iberville
IMAGEDESC
Jean-Baptiste, Sieur d'Bienville
Angela Merici
Angela Merici,
Foundress of the Ursulines

Because the French, not the British, founded and settled New Orleans, the city developed a unique outlook from its inception. Even after the city’s close relationship with France had ceased, the French attitude at the heart of the city’s culture was the framework upon which New Orleans built its own traditions.

The French were Catholic, not Protestant like the founders of most other New World settlements which eventually became American cities. The French Catholic did not share the unremittingly severe, sober view of life with the New England Puritans, for one. While religious, the French Catholics also enjoyed good food and sensual pleasures. Mardi Gras, the most famous and raucous of New Orleans festivals, is a Catholic holiday after all. And in French, Mardi Gras means “Fat Tuesday”—a time of indulgence before the self-imposed austerity of Lent. The tension between the sacred and profane, the joyous and the mournful (as with jazz funerals, for example), has long formed an essential part of the Crescent City’s character.

Early in New Orleans history, a coterie of Ursuline nuns were invited to establish a convent to give the colony spiritual guidance and instruction. They inducted people of all races, enslaved and free, into Catholicism and solidified New Orleans’ Catholic character. (In addition, they started a Catholic girl’s school in 1727, the oldest one in America still operating.) The Catholic nature of New Orleans helped attract future populations of immigrants that shaped the city, from Italians who for a while turned the French Quarter into “Little Italy” to the Irish who built a canal important for New Orleans’ growth, from the Haitians who introduced voodoo in the early 19th century to the Vietnamese who arrived after the Vietnam War.

Louisiana was claimed for France in 1682, and two brothers of the surname Le Moyne, formally known as Sieur d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville, founded New Orleans seventeen years later. La Nouvelle Orléans was named in honor of the Duke of Orleans, France’s ruling regent until the young Louis XV could take the throne, but the French name was also chosen to encourage French settlers who would have balked at coming to a place with an Indian name like Biloxi or Natchitoches. Two French engineers laid out the first 66 squares of a walled village, what later would be known as the French Quarter or the Vieux Carré (Old City). Streets were named after lesser royalty in the Duke’s court. Indian hunters, German farmers, and trappers traded their goods in a clearing where the French Market stands today.

Even during forty years of Spanish rule, New Orleans remained unequivocally French. Schools taught lessons in French, newspapers published in French, and New Orleanians looked to France for culture and fashions. In 1803 when New Orleans permanently passed into American governance, the French Creoles found themselves at odds in many ways with the Americans moving in. Since then, New Orleans has become an American city, but its French heart is still beating.

 
New Orleans French Restaurants
Antoine's
713 St. Louis St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 581-4422
www.antoines.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Dressy (Jacket May Be Required)
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Dinner, Sunday Brunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Creole

Description: Since 1840, world-renowned Antoine's Restaurant has set the standard that made New Orleans one of the greatest dining centers of the world. Known for their Oysters Rockefeller.
Arnaud's Restaurant
813 Bienville St., New Orleans, LA 70112 [Map It]
(504) 523-5433
www.arnaudsrestaurant.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Dressy (Jacket May Be Required)
Price Range: $18-$24
Open For: Dinner, Sunday Brunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Creole, Gluten-Free

Description: Leader of the culinary old guard since 1918. Dinner & Dixieland at world-famous Arnaud's with legendary Creole cuisine and music in the Jazz Room every night from 6:30. Sunday Brunch & Jazz. Fine cigars, cognacs, ports in Arnaud's Bar. Mardi Gras museum. Lunch Sunday-Friday 504-523-5433 13 private dining rooms for special occasions.
Baie Rouge
4128 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 304-3667
baierougenola.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Spanish
Bistro Daisy
5831 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 899-6987

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French
Cafe Conti
830 Conti St., Prince Conti Hotel, New Orleans, LA 70112 [Map It]
(504) 636-1060
cafeconti.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Casual
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Coffee Shops, French, Breakfast
Cafe Degas
3127 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119 [Map It]
(504) 945-5635
www.cafedegas.com

Neighborhood: Esplanade Ridge
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French

Description: Named after the 19th century French Impressionist, Edgar Degas, who once lived nearby in the fashionable Creole district, Cafe Degas is a charming place to eat outdoors with all the comforts of indoor dining. Located on verdant Esplanade Avenue, this chic neighborhood restaurant provides a pleasant atmosphere on cool evenings or sunny afternoons and even rain falling on the tin roof offers a soothing accompaniment to your meal. Cafe Degas offers a variety of classic French fare with a touch of Creole. Lunch and dinner 7 days a week and Brunch on Saturday and Sunday
Cafe Soulé
720 St. Louis St. , New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 304-4636
www.cafesoule.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Casual
Price Range: Under $12
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Coffee Shops, French, Desserts, Bakery, Sandwiches, Breakfast
Ciro's Cote Sud
7918 Maple St., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 866-9551

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French

Description: A quaint French bistro nestled in beautiful Uptown New Orleans.
Coquette
2800 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 265-0421
www.coquette-nola.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Bistro, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Court Of Two Sisters Restaurant
613 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 522-7261
www.courtoftwosisters.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Continental, French, Creole

Description: Experience the ambiance of the largest outdoor dining courtyard in the French Quarter with flowering plants and flowing fountains. Listen to the strolling live jazz trio during the daily live Jazz Brunch Buffet, serving Eggs Benedict, omelets and a feast of local specialties or enjoy a romantic Creole-style Dinner surrounded by softly glittering glass lights. Our three indoor dining rooms also offer the perfect setting for any occasion.
Crepes a La Cart
1039 Broadway St., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 866-2362
www.crepecaterer.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: Under $12
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French
Crescent Pie & Sausage Company
4400 Banks St., New Orleans, LA 70119 [Map It]
(504) 482-2426
www.crescentpieandsausage.com

Neighborhood: Mid-City
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Cajun, French, Italian, Pizza, Sandwiches, Creole, Louisiana, Po-Boys

Description: True to it's name, Cresecent Pie & Sausage Company features some of the city's best pizza pie, sausage, and craft beer. With a daily happy hour from 4 to 7 pm and $10 daily lunch specials, Cresecnt Pie & Sausage Company is an ideal spot to grab a relaxed and tasty bite to eat.
Croissant D'or Patisserie
617 Ursulines Ave., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 524-4663

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Casual
Cuisine Type/s: French, Bakery

Description: Le Croissant d’Or is a French bakery, pastry, and sandwich shop located in the heart of the French Quarter. This boutique bakery is known for its savory and sweet items, each homemade and handcrafted with locally produced, fresh ingredients. Le Croissant d’Or has been serving made to order sandwiches, soup de jour, quiches and specialty sweets for over thirty years and is regarded as an original French café in New Orleans.
Dominique's on Magazine
4213 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 261-8253
www.dominiquesonmag.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Dressy (Jacket May Be Required)
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Dinner, Late Night (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: American, French, Contemporary

Description: We are now relocated in a newly renovated former Fire Station, the new D.O.M. offers Contemporary French cuisine. All Pastries,Breads and Pasta are made in-house. Aeroponic Herb garden. Mixologist Bar Program. Using all local resources within 100 miles radius.
Flaming Torch Restaurant
737 Octavia St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 895-0900
www.flamingtorchnola.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: $18-$24
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Continental, French
La Crepe Nanou
1410 Robert St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 899-2670
www.lacrepenanou.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French

Description: La Crepe Nanou is a cozy little French cafe located in uptown New Orleans. We use only the freshest ingredients in our recipes. In addition to our list of dessert and entree crepes, we have a complete menu of fine grilled fish, grilled lamb, roasted chicken, and sauteed veal dishes. We've become known for having the best steamed mussels in town. We offer several French wines by the glass or bottle, as well as a full bar.
La Madeleine French Bakery & Cafe
601 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 861-8662
www.lamadeleine.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: Under $12
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Bakery

Description: A recreation of a French bakery, this cafe brings you back to a time of fresh bread, cobblestone walkways, and meals by a fire.
La Petite Grocery
4238 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 891-3377
www.lapetitegrocery.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Cajun, French, Gluten-Free

Description: A charming eatery in the heart of Uptown, La Petite Grocery caters to the palates of New Orleanians and leisure travelers with its delicious French cuisine. Daily happy hours with an intimate dining experience.
Le Foret
129 Camp St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 553-6738
www.leforetneworleans.com

Neighborhood: Central Business District/Downtown
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Contemporary

Description: Le Foret is a contemporary New Orleans restaurant offering a menu featuring strong French technique and seasonal flavors. The food and the service work in tandem to bring a unique New Orleans sensibility to the tradition of haute cuisine. Housed in a newly renovated, historic Central Business District building, Le Foret makes you feel relaxed in a truly indulgent setting.
Lilette
3637 Magazine St. , New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 895-1636
www.liletterestaurant.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Dressy (Jacket May Be Required)
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French

Description: Among the favorite entrees are the Muscovy duck breast with cabbage and black olive sauce and the olive oil poached striped bass with raw artichokes, beets, hearts of palm, watercress and citrus vinaigrette. Chef John Harris apprenticed with Gautreau's, Bayona and a restaurant in France.
Lüke
333 St. Charles Ave., Hilton New Orleans St. Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70125 [Map It]
(504) 378-2840
www.lukeneworleans.com

Neighborhood: Central Business District/Downtown
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: $18-$24
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Gluten-Free

Description: Lüke is Chef John Besh's homage to the Franco-German brasseries that once populated the Crescent City. Lüke has attracted nationwide critical acclaim and is said to "satisfy something more than just an appetite."
Marti's
1041 Dumaine St, New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 522-5478
martisnola.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Dressy (Jacket May Be Required)
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Dinner, Late Night (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Seafood, Bistro

Description: This beloved brasserie, which closed it's doors in 1988, has been re-opened and revamped. Expect classic bistro fare and an impressive raw bar selection. They're also open for dinner until midnight, making for a perfect pre- or post-theater dinner destination. Also be sure to check out the stunning mural of City Park's peristyle that adorns the back wall of the bar.
Martinique Bistro
5908 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 891-8495
www.martiniquebistro.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French

Description: Located in Uptown New Orleans, just five blocks from Audubon Park, our menu is comprised of classic French Bistro fare made with seasonal, local ingredients. Our customers may choose to sit in our elegant one one-of-a-kind weatherproof courtyard or in our charming interior dining room.
Meauxbar Bistro
942 N. Rampart St., New Orleans, LA 70181 [Map It]
(504) 569-9979
www.meauxbar.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Bistro

Description: Meauxbar Bistro is a sophisticated casual eatery. A typical evening finds a eclectic mix of quarterites, uptowners and other locals as well as out of town visitors. Meauxbar brings a truly unique selection of delicious and healthy dishes using only the freshest seasonally available meats, seafoods, and produce.
The Melting Pot
1820 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 566-1481
www.meltingpot.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French

Description: Fondue.
Patois
6078 Laurel St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 895-9441
www.patoisnola.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Lunch, Dinner, Sunday Brunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Gluten-Free

Description: Native son Aaron Burgau serves up classic French cuisine with a patois, or local accent, at this neighborhood fixture. Sample expertly crafted dishes like Mississippi rabbit stuffed with Boudin; or oyster, bacon and chicken filé gumbo. Tucked away Uptown, expect both a romantic and unpretentious dining experience.
Petite Amelie
900 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 412-8065
petiteamelienola.wordpress.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Coffee Shops, French, Bakery, Health Food, Breakfast, Juice Bar
Rivista
4226 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 371-5558

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Coffee Shops, French, Vegetarian, Bakery, Sandwiches, Breakfast, Gluten-Free
The Sweet Palate
519 Saint Louis St., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 522-5150
www.thesweetpalate.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Casual
Cuisine Type/s: French, Spanish, Desserts
Tableau
616 St. Peter St, New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 934-3463
www.tableaufrenchquarter.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Price Range: Over $24
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Creole, Louisiana

Description: Located on picturesque Jackson Square at Le Petit Theatre, Tableau is Dickie Brennan’s newest restaurant. The menu, developed by Chef Ben Thibodeaux, showcases regional ingredients and classic French Creole dishes with a unique twist. The cuisine is sophisticated, yet true to tradition, with great depth of flavor. Guests enjoy a front row seat to the culinary action beside the open kitchen in the restaurant’s main dining room.
Tartine
7217 Perrier St, New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 866-4860
www.tartineneworleans.com

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Open For: Breakfast, Lunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Coffee Shops, French, Bakery, Sandwiches

Description: Tucked away in a small cottage along the Mississippi River bend, Tartine is a quaint, neighborhood café serving delicious homemade breakfast and lunch items. This New Orleans hidden gem is a favorite among long-time locals who enjoy Tartine’s European-inspired atmosphere, fresh ingredients, and house-made dishes. The menu features daily changing specials, along with favorites such as baked egg in brioche, ham tartine, and tuna nicoise salad. Tartine is a quiet getaway in Uptown and a perfect place to visit for breakfast or lunch any day of the week.
Tomas Bistro
755 Tchoupitoulas St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 527-0942
www.tomasbistro.com

Neighborhood: Arts District/Convention Center
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: Under $12
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: French, Creole

Description: Tomas Bistro is uniquely located in an old-factory, brick building in the Central Business District. The restaurant is decorated to resemble romantic and simple Parisian style, with mahogany furniture and classical French music. Tomas Bistro serves a diverse blend of tastes and dishes, including gulf fish, rabbit, quail, venison, and crawfish crepes. All the seafood served at Tomas is bought from Louisiana waters and prepared fresh daily. In addition to delicious dinner appetizers and entrees, diners are warned not to skip out on Tomas Bistro’s rich, decadent deserts, including Chocolate Bread Pudding and Burgundy Poached Pear.
Tujague's
823 Decatur St., New Orleans, LA 70116 [Map It]
(504) 525-8676
www.tujagues.com

Neighborhood: French Quarter
Attire: Business Casual
Price Range: $12-$18
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Cajun, French

Description: In New Orleans, where restaurants come and go like a cool day in August, Tujagues has survived eras of war, derpession, and "low-cal" to marke 140 years of outstanding creole cuisine. What has kept patrons and visitors coming back to Tujague's is its food, service, atmosphere, and more atmosphere. When a restaurant has been around as long as Tujague's and has entertained the likes of Cole Porter, O. Henry, Eleanor Roosevelt, Diane Sawyer, Don Johnson, and Dan Akroyd, it must offer more than just good food. Visitors and locals alike want a traditional New Orleans scene complete with ceiling fans, picturesque balconies and a melange of local flavor and at Tujague's they can get their fill. Long before New Orleans bore the name "New Orleans", the bulding at 823 Decatur served as a Spanish armory. Today, Tujague's Restaurant still bears a great resemblance to the Tujague's of old -- The ornately framed mirror brought over from Paris in 1856 by Guillaume Tujague still stands behind the bar. The cypress bar itself is legendary - As New Orleans' oldest standing bar, it survived prohibition with no liquor and three bartenders. Guest books chronicle 140 years of patronage with signatures of such notables as Ty Cobb and John D. Rockefeller. Dining rooms are modest, yet cozy, displaying photographs of famous and infamous patrons, as well as shadowboxes filled with the restaurant's extensive miniature liquor/liquer bottle collection numbering over 5,000.
 
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