Jackson Square in New Orleans' French Quarter is one of the city's essential must-see sites. In the 1720s French colonials knew the area as Place d'Armes an open public space. In 1815, following the Battle of New Orleans, it was renamed after US General Andrew Jackson and became a public park. The square is location overlooking the Mississippi River but due to floods in the late 19th century a high levee was raised to protect the city, which literally made the riverside inaccessible from the city. Fires in the 1700s destroyed the square's French colonial buildings and today the buildings surrounding the square are from the Spanish Era. Many of the aesthetic aspects of the square, like the landscaped gardens and wrought-iron fencing is thanks to Baroness Pontalba who made it her mission to beautify the square in 1850. Perhaps the most striking feature of the square is St. Louis Cathedral, a three spired edifice and the oldest, continually functioning church in the USA. On either side of the cathedral are the Cabildo, a colonial government building which now functions as a museum and the Presbytere designed to house Capuchin monks but eventually used as a commercial building. The Pontalba is the country's oldest apartment building and now used for galleries, restaurants and stores. In the square you can relax on wrought-iron benches, shop, dine and watch the street performers and artists displaying their work. From Jackson Square you can reach the MoonWalk through Washington Artillery Park.
MoonWalk New Orleans
For decades the riverfront was used for commercial purposes only until 1976 when Mayor Maurice "Moon" Landrieu had a scenic promenade built on top of the levee which separated Jackson Square from the beautiful Mississippi River. This created a connection between the French Quarter and the river bank which became a new leisure spot. People come to watch the boats along the river, picnic, enjoy street entertainers and the cool breeze which blows in over the water. There are eateries, stores and easy access to the Aquarium of the Americas and Entergy Imax Theatre. The MoonWalk runs for a mile along the water's edge and is used for public events and festivals like the French Quarter Festival. This is a great place to visit on the 4th of July to see the spectacular fireworks display. While here keep an eye out for the works of art like the Monument to the Immigrant and the marble statue of Old Man River.