It has been said that if the French Quarter is the heart of New Orleans, then the French Market is the heart of the French Quarter. What began as a Native American trading post on the shores of the Mississippi River is now one of New Orleans’ most exciting places to visit, the French Market.
Set in-between the streets of French Market, Barracks, Decatur and St. Anne, the French Market has sat on the same grounds since 1791 and is now a hub of cultural, entertainment and commercial offerings to both the people of New Orleans and its visitors. When you visit the French Market, you’ll have a difficult time envisioning the now lively market as its former self, a trading post for the native Louisiana Choctaw. Throughout the years, the land now known as the French Market has gone from being an open air market that was destroyed by a hurricane to being a place where wares were sold by Americans and immigrants, alike.
One interesting historical fact about the French Market can be traced by to 1870, when a structure with the name the Bazaar Market was built on the site of what’s now called the French Market. The structure was considered a functional, well-lit building, which was unusual for its time. But what is most significant was its designer, a man named Joseph Abeilard, one of the country’s first African-American architects.
Another noted fact is that the French Market sustained little damage during Hurricane Katrina. It was spared massive destruction due to its above sea-level elevation.
Today you’ll find the French Market is one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the country. With a variety of places to shop and eat, including New Orleans Café du Monde and Aunt Sally’s Praline Shop, there’s always something to do. There are also a number of concerts that play in the Market, many free musical events, that are put on every weekend.