Jackson Square is ahistoric city park surrounded by original 18th-century buildings. It's still apopular gathering place for local artists and musicians. This city block-sizedsquare was designed by Frenchman Louis Pilié and modeled on Paris’ popularoutdoor common areas. Originally called Place d'Armes, it was converted into anopen-air mall in 1971 with local vendors selling food, art and crafts.
Walkaround Jackson Square today and you won’t find much evidence of its colorfulpast. Long gone are the gallows that once dispatched defiant slaves in the 18thand 19th centuries. Now you can visit shops and museums in the 19th-centuryPontalba Apartments, which line two sides of the square. On the northwest ofthe square enjoy the peaceful interior of St. LouisCathedral. It’s the oldest continuously working cathedral in theUnited States. Take in some Louisiana history at the Cabildoand Presbytère, which are part of the Louisiana State Museum and located oneither side of the cathedral.
The Jackson Square oftoday is famous for its collection of resident artists, whose works adorn thepavements and wrought iron fences. Have your portrait painted or buy acaricature from one of the 200 artists allocated a spot in the square eachyear.
Relax and watchpassers-by at nearby Café du Monde, which dates from the 1860s. This historiccafé is just across the road on Decatur Street and is famous for its café aulait and its sweet pastries, known as beignets.
Throughout the year,Jackson Square is host to a variety of festivals and exhibitions. Enjoy jazzbands and pick up some local food and gifts in the marketplace during theFrench Quarter Festival held every April. In the few days before Christmas beentertained by carolers who fill the square. This event began in 1946 andattracts thousands of visitors every year, reinforcing Jackson Square’s historyfor social gathering.
JacksonSquare is a bustling part of the French Quarter, and parking can be hard tocome by. The square is along several city bus lines.