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Yesterday’s French Quarter: the former residence of 19th century writer George Washington Cable ©Author Adventures
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Today’s French Quarter: An upscale shop window ©Author Adventures

The French Quarter remains a popular destination for travelers to New Orleans, though, in some visible ways, its recovery from Hurricane Katrina remains eerily incomplete.

As this website focuses on literature, we include the French Quarter because of writers who lived there in the 19th and 20th centuries, including Tennessee Williams, Frances Parkinson Keyes, and George Washington Cable, and the fact that a publisher based in the French Quarter once produced works of many major American writers, such as Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Henry Miller. The publisher, LouJon Press, was housed in a building next to the one pictured on this page, which shows the former home of George Washington Cable.

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A kitchen in the Pontalba Apartments ©Author Adventures

Though most of the writers’ residences and the former publishing house are not open to the public (some are flat out boarded up), the Pontalba apartments in Jackson Square, where many writers and artists lived, can be toured for a small fee. Students get a discount with school I.D. Writers seen in its parlor include Carl Sandburg, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and William Faulkner. Today, the rooms are each set up as exhibits, so walking from one to another, from floor to floor, gives a flavor of life from the era of its historic residents. We found the wooden staircases to be rather thin and recommend taking them carefully.

And be sure to also visit our tribute page to Tennessee Williams at Tennessee Williams (Louisiana).

The French Quarter is the first stop on our Louisiana Trail!

Patricia Smart