The picturesque French quarter (Vieux Carré) of the old city, north of broad Canal St., is a major tourist attraction. In the heart of the quarter is Jackson Square (the former Place d'Armes); fronting upon the square are the Cabildo (1795; formerly the government building, it now houses part of the Louisiana state museum); St. Louis Cathedral (1794); and other 18th- and 19th-century structures. Several world-famous restaurants, specializing in shrimp, oysters, and fish from nearby waters, uphold the New Orleans tradition of good living, and the annual Mardi Gras is perhaps the best-known festival in the United States.
Also adding to the color of the city are the many parks (including an aquarium), museums (including a voodoo museum, the National D-day Museum, and the New Orleans Museum of Art), and gardens; the Jazzland Theme Park is a few miles to the east. Chalmette, site of the 1815 battle of New Orleans, is to the east, and is part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (see National Parks and Monuments, table). The Louisiana Superdome, home of the National Football League's New Orleans Saints, is also the site of the annual Sugar Bowl football game. The National Basketball Association's Hornets also play in the city. New Orleans is also an educational center, the seat of Dillard Univ., Loyola Univ., Tulane Univ., the Univ. of New Orleans, the Louisiana State Univ. Health Sciences Center, Southern Univ. at New Orleans, Our Lady of Holy Cross College, and several theological seminaries.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.