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The Cabildo

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

701 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

USD 12

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visiting The Cabildo in New Orleans? Make sure to check out the hidden courtyard behind the building — it's a serene spot often missed by tourists where you can relax and enjoy a quiet moment. Also, if you're there on a Wednesday, local guides sometimes offer special thematic tours that aren't advertised online, so ask at the entrance for any unique opportunities on the day of your visit."

What is The Cabildo?

The Cabildo is more than just a building; it’s a symbol etched in the heart of New Orleans’ rich history. Sitting proudly beside St. Louis Cathedral, overlooking Jackson Square, this architectural gem once served as the seat of the Spanish colonial government. Today, it is a museum that offers a vivid trek into the past, showcasing a collection of artifacts that narrate the story of Louisiana and the intricate tapestry of cultures that define this unique city.

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As you walk through its halls, you’d be stepping on the very grounds where pivotal moments unfolded. The Cabildo is notable for being the site where the Louisiana Purchase transfer ceremonies took place in 1803, marking a significant transformation in the United States' history. This majestic structure, with its ornate ironwork and grand facade, invites visitors to embark on a journey through time, beckoning to those with a love for history and an appetite for culture.

History of The Cabildo

The Cabildo’s story began in the 18th century when it was constructed as the governmental seat of Spanish Louisiana after the Great New Orleans Fire of 1788 destroyed the original building. It has born witness to several historical events since then. This includes the aforementioned Louisiana Purchase, a momentous event where France sold Louisiana to the U.S., effectively doubling its size.

Over the centuries, The Cabildo has donned many hats—it's been a courthouse, a city hall, and even served as the home of the Louisiana State Supreme Court, where landmark cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson were adjudicated. The resilient spirit of the building mirrors that of New Orleans itself, surviving fires, restorations, and storms, and it stands today as a testimony to the city’s endurance and its ability to adapt and preserve its heritage.

Post its stint as a governmental building, The Cabildo became a museum in the early 20th century, stewarded by the Louisiana State Museum. It has been through a meticulous restoration process to preserve its historical integrity, ensuring that its stories are not lost to the ravages of time. It is here where untold tales are safeguarded, and the fabric of New Orleans society is examined through the lens of history.

Why is The Cabildo Important?

The importance of The Cabildo stretches far beyond its architectural accomplishments. This structure is a vessel of history, holding within its walls the very DNA of New Orleans. It provides a rare glimpse into the city’s colonial era, shedding light on the intermingling of American, French, Spanish, African, and indigenous cultures that have shaped the region.

The decisions made in this historic edifice altered the course of the city and, by extension, the country. Within its chambers, plans were devised, rulings were made, and commerce and politics mingled—actions that impacted the social and cultural fabric of the nation. The Cabildo is a cornerstone of New Orleans' identity and serves as an educational resource illustrating the complexities of the city's past.

For history buffs, the significance of The Cabildo is paramount. Touch the walls, and you touch history; every brick and crevice tells a story of resilience, change, and rebirth. It's a tangible link to the events that have left indelible marks not just on the city but the wider world – a monument to the power of history and the continuing story of a diverse society.

Things to Do & See at The Cabildo

Exploring The Cabildo, there's a wealth of experiences waiting to immerse you in the soul of New Orleans. Begin with the permanent exhibitions; these are veritable treasuries of historical artifacts, including the death mask of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and relics from the Battle of New Orleans. Each exhibit is a window into a different segment of the city's history, from colonial times to its vibrant present.

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Special temporary exhibitions often take the stage, highlighting unique aspects of Louisiana’s heritage. Whether it’s Mardi Gras memorabilia, jazz history, or the impact of the slave trade, there's always something new and insightful. Don’t miss the opportunity to join the guided tours; they offer deeper insights into the narratives behind the exhibits, often told with passion and sometimes personal anecdotes that you wouldn’t get from a standard history book.

Pro tip: Make sure to take in the stunning view of Jackson Square from The Cabildo's balcony—it's a perspective of the city that very few have the chance to see. This is also a photographer's dream, capturing the pulsing life of the French Quarter from an elevated vantage point. After your visit, let the allure of New Orleans draw you further into the French Quarter, where each street corner plays a part of the symphony that is this city's remarkable story.

Frequently asked questions

What is The Cabildo?

The Cabildo is a historic building located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It served as the seat of Spanish colonial government, and it is now a museum that showcases the diverse history of Louisiana.

Where is The Cabildo located?

The Cabildo is located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, adjacent to St. Louis Cathedral and facing Jackson Square.

What can visitors learn about at The Cabildo?

Visitors to The Cabildo can learn about Louisiana’s rich history, from its early colonial days through the Louisiana Purchase and into the modern era. The museum contains exhibits on the multicultural legacy of the state, including Native American, African, and European influences.

What are the opening hours of The Cabildo?

The Cabildo is typically open to the public from Wednesday through Sunday, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, but visitors should check in advance as hours and days of operation may vary.

Is there an admission fee to visit The Cabildo?

Yes, there is an admission fee to visit The Cabildo. Ticket prices may vary, and there are often discounts available for students, seniors, and military personnel. Children under a certain age may be admitted for free.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

701 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

Opening Hours

9:00 AM - 3:30 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

USD 12

Find it on google maps