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An aerial view of city buildings in New Orleans. Photo by Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

The 24 most iconic sites in New Orleans, mapped

From the St. Louis Cathedral to the Italian Piazza, these buildings represent New Orleans’ unique history

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Whether they’re venerated historic sites (St. Louis Cathedral), weird remnants of mostly forgotten architectural movements (the Italian Piazza), or simply bars where people have been getting drunk for hundreds of years (Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop), there’s no denying that New Orleans wouldn’t be New Orleans without its iconic buildings.

Here is a map of 24 structures in the city that are a testament to its unique architectural history—and unique culture.

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New Orleans Lakefront Airport

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Designed by T. Sellers Meric and Benedict Cimini, this modest airport and event venue serves small-scale and military flights. This site previously served as New Orleans’s main airport until it was replaced by the much larger Louis Armstrong Airport in 1946, originally named the Moisant International Airport. It’s a beautiful example of Art Deco style.

A post shared by Haley Bowden (@haleyjeanbowden) on

Mardi Gras Fountain

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Built in 1962, this Carnival-centered fountain in Lakeshore has art tributes that honor over 90 Mardi Gras Carnival krewes in New Orleans.

A post shared by Jeffrey Kerst (@jkerst) on

New Canal Lighthouse

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So far, four lighthouses have occupied this site. Built in 1838, this renovated lighthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation rebuilt and elevated it in 2013. It currently serves as a museum and events venue.

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New Orleans Museum of Art

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The crown jewel of City Park, this neo-classical building opened in 1911 and stands as one of the oldest fine arts museums in the world. An dramatic central staircase carries visitors to the upper floors, and the many formal rooms offer gallery exhibits ranging from jeweled Fabergé eggs to aEuropean and American paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photography.

A post shared by @nickithenoodle on

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

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This race course has an extensive history with the City of New Orleans and is one of the oldest race tracks in the United States. But it may be best known as the venue for New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

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Pitot House

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Restored by the Louisiana Landmarks Society in the 1960s, this uncommon Bayou St. John country home was owned by many affluent residents in New Orleans, including the city’s first mayor, James Pitot. As a house museum operated by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, it holds many antiques from the mid-19th century. It’s also a popular site for weddings and elopements.

Longue Vue House and Gardens

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Built in 1939, this palatial house museum, a National Historic Landmark, sits on eight acres of landscaped grounds. However, the current house on the expansive lot isn’t the original. Built in 1924, the first home was moved and replaced with the current home in 1939.

A post shared by Vesna Aleksic (@msvesnaaleksic) on

Degas House

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Former home of French impressionist artist Edgar Degas, this Creole mansion is one of the few public artifacts of the artist’s life open to the public. This historic house museum also operates as a bed and breakfast and wedding venue.

St. Augustine Catholic Church

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St. Augustine Catholic Church is one of the oldest African American churches in the nation, J.N.B. De Pauilly, the same architect who redesigned the St. Louis Cathedral, designed this church in 1841. The church also holds the Tomb of the Unknown Slave, an tribute to enslaved people of African descent who died in New Orleans and were buried in unmarked graves.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

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Possibly one of the most spooky spots in the French Quarter, this circa-1722 Bourbon Street building ranks as the oldest structure operating as a bar in the United States. The worn brick walls and flickering gas lights lend it a timeworn feel that’s only partly undermined by the churning daiquiri machines.

A post shared by Zelia Gaspar (@travel_bug100) on

Beauregard-Keyes House

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Created by François Correjolles in 1826, this restored Greek Revival abode has been home to many affluent residents throughout New Orleans history. In fact, P.G.T. Beauregard rented it for a short period after the Civil War.

A post shared by Emily Nekroman (@wittleevlpixie) on

Old Ursuline Convent Museum

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This French Quarter structure dates back to 1752 and remains one of the oldest buildings from the French colonial period.

Madame John’s Legacy

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This home stands as one of the few French colonial structures that survived the test of time. Open for tours, it has its original main house, kitchen, and two-story dependency all intact.

The Presbytère

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Created to match the Cabildo in the late 18th century, this former Louisiana Supreme Court house now sits near the St. Louis Cathedral. It holds two permanent exhibitions on Louisiana history.

St. Louis Cathedral

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One of the oldest religious buildings in New Orleans, the original cathedral was built by French colonists in 1718, who added on to it for nearly 70 years until it was destroyed in a fire in 1788. The current structure, designed by J. N. B. de Pouilly, dates back to 1850.

The Cabildo

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This early 18th-century building, restored in the late 19th century, served as a seat of government for New Orleans prior to the Louisiana purchase. Now it’s a part of Louisiana’s State Museum system and holds various exhibits on New Orleans history.

Pontalba Buildings

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Including 500 St. Peters Street, these apartments designed by Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba rank among the oldest apartment complexes in the United States and have a waiting list commensurate with their historic significance (basically, someone has to die for a vacancy to open up). They bound two sides of Jackson Square and are near the St. Louis Cathedral.

Doullout Steamboat House #1

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While New Orleans may not have a lot of boat homes, it does have steamboat-inspired homes. The Lower 9th Ward holds one of our favorite, which is this gothic-heavy home designed by riverboat captain Paul Doullout in 1905 in Holy Cross.

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Algiers Courthouse

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Named one of the most beautiful places to get married in New Orleans, this late 19th-century courthouse served as one of two of the courthouses in New Orleans that handled small claims, marriage licenses, and weddings in the early-19th century.

A post shared by K D (@louisianahistorylover) on

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

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Designed in 1967 by the Curtis & Davis architecture firm, and opened in 1975, this giant dome serves as the home to the New Orleans Saints. It is visible from Interstate 10 and US Highway 90 Business in the Central Business District. World Atlas named the Superdome the 5th largest dome structure in the world.

A post shared by Anna Olsson (@dalanna72) on

Gallier Hall

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This impressive neoclassical building is known best for being a Mardi Gras royal ground during Carnival in New Orleans. In fact, on Mardi Gras Day, Rex and the Mayor of New Orleans hold a traditional toast at the steps of this historic landmark. Designed by architect James Gallier Sr. and erected in 1853, it served as City Hall until the city government relocated its offices to its Perdido Street building in the 1950s.

A post shared by David (@davidnola) on

Piazza d'Italia

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Right in the heart of the CBD sits this tribute to Italians immigrants in New Orleans. Created by Charles Moore and Perez Architects, the structure was dedicated to the city in 1978. While it has a track record of being forgotten by residents, the New Orleans Building Corporation renovated the site in 2004, and it will serve as a site for the 2019 LUNA (Light Up NOLA Arts) Fete—the city’s celebration of illuminated art and projection mapping installations.

The National WWII Museum

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This contemporary museum has interactive exhibits on the nationwide impact and military technology of the war. You’ll also find oral histories, a 4D “Beyond All Boundaries” feature, and an exceptional 1940s-era diner

New Orleans Lakefront Airport

Designed by T. Sellers Meric and Benedict Cimini, this modest airport and event venue serves small-scale and military flights. This site previously served as New Orleans’s main airport until it was replaced by the much larger Louis Armstrong Airport in 1946, originally named the Moisant International Airport. It’s a beautiful example of Art Deco style.

A post shared by Haley Bowden (@haleyjeanbowden) on

Mardi Gras Fountain

Built in 1962, this Carnival-centered fountain in Lakeshore has art tributes that honor over 90 Mardi Gras Carnival krewes in New Orleans.

A post shared by Jeffrey Kerst (@jkerst) on

New Canal Lighthouse

So far, four lighthouses have occupied this site. Built in 1838, this renovated lighthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. The Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation rebuilt and elevated it in 2013. It currently serves as a museum and events venue.

A post shared by @lighthousejones on

New Orleans Museum of Art

The crown jewel of City Park, this neo-classical building opened in 1911 and stands as one of the oldest fine arts museums in the world. An dramatic central staircase carries visitors to the upper floors, and the many formal rooms offer gallery exhibits ranging from jeweled Fabergé eggs to aEuropean and American paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints, and photography.

A post shared by @nickithenoodle on

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots

This race course has an extensive history with the City of New Orleans and is one of the oldest race tracks in the United States. But it may be best known as the venue for New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

A post shared by Fair Grounds (@fairgroundsnola) on

Pitot House

Restored by the Louisiana Landmarks Society in the 1960s, this uncommon Bayou St. John country home was owned by many affluent residents in New Orleans, including the city’s first mayor, James Pitot. As a house museum operated by the Louisiana Landmarks Society, it holds many antiques from the mid-19th century. It’s also a popular site for weddings and elopements.

Longue Vue House and Gardens

Built in 1939, this palatial house museum, a National Historic Landmark, sits on eight acres of landscaped grounds. However, the current house on the expansive lot isn’t the original. Built in 1924, the first home was moved and replaced with the current home in 1939.

A post shared by Vesna Aleksic (@msvesnaaleksic) on

Degas House

Former home of French impressionist artist Edgar Degas, this Creole mansion is one of the few public artifacts of the artist’s life open to the public. This historic house museum also operates as a bed and breakfast and wedding venue.

St. Augustine Catholic Church

St. Augustine Catholic Church is one of the oldest African American churches in the nation, J.N.B. De Pauilly, the same architect who redesigned the St. Louis Cathedral, designed this church in 1841. The church also holds the Tomb of the Unknown Slave, an tribute to enslaved people of African descent who died in New Orleans and were buried in unmarked graves.

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop

Possibly one of the most spooky spots in the French Quarter, this circa-1722 Bourbon Street building ranks as the oldest structure operating as a bar in the United States. The worn brick walls and flickering gas lights lend it a timeworn feel that’s only partly undermined by the churning daiquiri machines.

A post shared by Zelia Gaspar (@travel_bug100) on

Beauregard-Keyes House

Created by François Correjolles in 1826, this restored Greek Revival abode has been home to many affluent residents throughout New Orleans history. In fact, P.G.T. Beauregard rented it for a short period after the Civil War.

A post shared by Emily Nekroman (@wittleevlpixie) on

Old Ursuline Convent Museum

This French Quarter structure dates back to 1752 and remains one of the oldest buildings from the French colonial period.

Madame John’s Legacy

This home stands as one of the few French colonial structures that survived the test of time. Open for tours, it has its original main house, kitchen, and two-story dependency all intact.

The Presbytère

Created to match the Cabildo in the late 18th century, this former Louisiana Supreme Court house now sits near the St. Louis Cathedral. It holds two permanent exhibitions on Louisiana history.

St. Louis Cathedral

One of the oldest religious buildings in New Orleans, the original cathedral was built by French colonists in 1718, who added on to it for nearly 70 years until it was destroyed in a fire in 1788. The current structure, designed by J. N. B. de Pouilly, dates back to 1850.

The Cabildo

This early 18th-century building, restored in the late 19th century, served as a seat of government for New Orleans prior to the Louisiana purchase. Now it’s a part of Louisiana’s State Museum system and holds various exhibits on New Orleans history.

Pontalba Buildings

Including 500 St. Peters Street, these apartments designed by Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba rank among the oldest apartment complexes in the United States and have a waiting list commensurate with their historic significance (basically, someone has to die for a vacancy to open up). They bound two sides of Jackson Square and are near the St. Louis Cathedral.

Doullout Steamboat House #1

Getty Images

While New Orleans may not have a lot of boat homes, it does have steamboat-inspired homes. The Lower 9th Ward holds one of our favorite, which is this gothic-heavy home designed by riverboat captain Paul Doullout in 1905 in Holy Cross.

Getty Images

Algiers Courthouse

Named one of the most beautiful places to get married in New Orleans, this late 19th-century courthouse served as one of two of the courthouses in New Orleans that handled small claims, marriage licenses, and weddings in the early-19th century.

A post shared by K D (@louisianahistorylover) on

Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Designed in 1967 by the Curtis & Davis architecture firm, and opened in 1975, this giant dome serves as the home to the New Orleans Saints. It is visible from Interstate 10 and US Highway 90 Business in the Central Business District. World Atlas named the Superdome the 5th largest dome structure in the world.

A post shared by Anna Olsson (@dalanna72) on

Gallier Hall

This impressive neoclassical building is known best for being a Mardi Gras royal ground during Carnival in New Orleans. In fact, on Mardi Gras Day, Rex and the Mayor of New Orleans hold a traditional toast at the steps of this historic landmark. Designed by architect James Gallier Sr. and erected in 1853, it served as City Hall until the city government relocated its offices to its Perdido Street building in the 1950s.

A post shared by David (@davidnola) on

Piazza d'Italia

Right in the heart of the CBD sits this tribute to Italians immigrants in New Orleans. Created by Charles Moore and Perez Architects, the structure was dedicated to the city in 1978. While it has a track record of being forgotten by residents, the New Orleans Building Corporation renovated the site in 2004, and it will serve as a site for the 2019 LUNA (Light Up NOLA Arts) Fete—the city’s celebration of illuminated art and projection mapping installations.

The National WWII Museum

This contemporary museum has interactive exhibits on the nationwide impact and military technology of the war. You’ll also find oral histories, a 4D “Beyond All Boundaries” feature, and an exceptional 1940s-era diner