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Multicultural History

Spanish History in New Orleans

Spanish Ironwork
Spanish influcence can be found in the ornate ironwork of the French Quarter
Colorful House
... as well as in our colorful houses
The Cabildo
... and in the imperial arches of
The Cabildo

Although New Orleans’ early residents were indeed French, the architecture of the French Quarter is actually Spanish. To pay a war debt, France gave up control of Louisiana to Spain, who controlled the colony from 1763 until 1803.

Several fires destroyed the original French architecture of the Vieux Carré during Spain’s forty-year rule of New Orleans, so the charm presently found at the heart of New Orleans can be credited to the Spanish from when their administrators rebuilt the city.


The flat-tiled roofs, tropical colors, and ornate ironwork of the French Quarter are Iberian touches brought from across the Atlantic. In order to prevent fires, the Spanish-controlled government mandated that stucco replace wood for construction material and that all buildings be placed near the street and near each other. Where there used to be yards and open spaces surrounding buildings, the French Quarter was now rendered both more intimate and more secretive, with continuous façades, arched passageways, and gorgeous rear gardens and courtyards hidden from street-view.

Historic Sites

Construction on the Cabildo and the Presbytere, the matching buildings flanking St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, occurred during the Spanish era. The Cabildo served as Spain’s administrative headquarters for Louisiana. It later served as City Hall, then the state Supreme Court, before it became a museum in 1911.A stroll through the French Quarter will reveal many plaques indicating the old Spanish names for streets, often just variations on the current ones, and elsewhere in the city, street names honor historical figures from the Spanish era such as Galvez, Ulloa, Miro, and Gayoso.

For another reminder of the Spanish influence in New Orleans, there is an annual Running of the Bulls that swarms through the streets to pay homage to the world-famous Encierro at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, Spain.


New Orleanians love fine European cuisine, so it’s not surprising the city boasts several delicious and successful Spanish restaurants with old and new culinary traditions.

To get your fix of Spanish influence, check out these delicious venues:

Spanish/Latino Restaurants in New Orleans
Mimi's In The Marigny
2601 Royal St., New Orleans, LA 70117 [Map It]

Neighborhood: Faubourg Marigny/Bywater
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $
Open For: Dinner, Late Night (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Bar/Pub Food, Spanish

Description: Mimiís in the Marigny features live music every night of the week, without fail! The bar has two levels Ė the downstairs is a more relaxed scene with a bar and pool tables, while the upstairs is exclusively reserved for dancing and jazz. Mimiís offers a unique menu of Spanish-inspired tapas items, including goat cheese croquetas, calamari con chorizo, and patatas bravas. The local vibes, funky music, and authentic New Orleans atmosphere at Mimiís canít be beat, so be sure to check it out!
Baru Bistro & Tapas
3700 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 895-2225

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$$
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Spanish, Contemporary, Tapas/Small Plates, Latin/South American

Description: Baru offers absolutely delicious tapas and entrees with Latin-Caribbean flair.
Cafe Granada
1506 S. Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 865-1612

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Lunch, Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Spanish, Tapas/Small Plates

Description: Cafe Granada is a careful blend of everything about Spain. Warm decor, authentic cuisine and friendly hospitality. Located in the beautiful New Orleans uptown region. All these come together to create a unique and genuine atmosphere.
Barcelona Tapas
720 Dublin St., New Orleans, LA 70118 [Map It]
(504) 861-9696

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$$
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Spanish, Tapas/Small Plates

Description: For diners looking for international cuisine in the heart of New Orleans, Barcelona Tapas is a perfect option. Located in the Uptown neighborhood, Barcelona serves a diverse menu of authentic Spanish small plates. The dťcor at Barcelona Tapas is modern and Spanish-inspired, with a mosaic bar, colorful artwork, and table candles. Customers rave about the friendly service and food always made with love. Be sure to order a pitcher of Sangria along with your tapas for the complete Spanish experience!
Cuzco Peruvian Cuisine
4714 Freret St., New Orleans, LA 70115 [Map It]
(504) 610-7091

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Cuisine Type/s: Spanish

Description: Traditional Peruvian meals such as ceviche, fried seafood platters, and lomo saltado, are served for lunch and dinner at this gem on bustling Freret Street.
2027 Magazine St., New Orleans, LA 70130 [Map It]
(504) 309-3401

Neighborhood: Uptown/Garden District
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Dinner, Sunday Brunch (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Spanish, Latin/South American

Description: Mayas Restaurant and Bar features and airy and attractive dining area with full service bar, creating a defined, yet decidedly relaxed atmosphere. Serving some of the best Latin American food in the city, Mayas is fast becoming the place to go for Arroz (Seafood Paella), Pinchos (Skewers), Copan Ribeye, Lechon Pork, or the many other delicacies that Latin American cuisine has to offer.
3312 Esplanade Ave., New Orleans, LA 70119 [Map It]
(504) 488-6946

Neighborhood: Esplanade Ridge
Attire: Casual
Price Range: $$
Open For: Dinner (Call ahead for hours)
Cuisine Type/s: Spanish, Vegetarian, Vegan

Description: A lover of garlic would be in heaven at this Spanish restaurant. Locals rave about the paella.
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