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New Orleans – Architecture to Swoon Over By Elaine Calloway

Those who have a passion for architecture and/or photography will find an ample feast of both in New Orleans. The city, while nicknamed a “melting pot” for its many cultures of people, also has a wide array of homes and colors.

The ornate glass doors of St. Charles Avenue Uptown, the Victorian Plantation homes in the Garden District, the shotgun houses with gingerbread trim in Mid-City—all give New Orleans her beauty.

My personal favorite area is Mid-City, located near City Park and Bayou St. John. Cemeteries are scattered throughout the area, almost creating a border around these eclectic neighborhoods. Shotgun houses with wide steps approaching the front door line both sides of the street. The houses are in every color from mauve to sage to dusty-blue. Front porches are decorated with dangling ferns and potted flowers.

The Garden District is another area for beautiful Plantation homes and ornate black-iron fences. One note of caution, however. Make sure you remain in your car. Do not walk the Garden District streets to gaze at the gorgeous homes. Tourists are often unaware that this area boasts one of the highest mugging rates.

You may notice the Fleur de Lis (pronounced Flerr da Lee) symbol onthe sides of buildings, too, or perhaps painted on walls. While originally known as the icon for the New Orleans Saints football team, the Fleur de Lis has, over time, become a symbol of resilience. A visible means of surviving any hurricane or disaster which might affect New Orleans. Tourists can easily find this iconic symbol being sold on t-shirts, as earrings, bracelets, etc.


Elaine Calloway grew up in New Orleans and can still do a decent  Cajun accent on request. She writes paranormal romance and fantasy,  setting these stories in iconic cities such as New Orleans. Book One of  her Elemental Series will be out on 2/1/2013. Visit her website,, for more information.


Laura Russell - January 25, 2013 - 2:31 am

What a delightful post! You found beautiful details.

Mary Preston - January 25, 2013 - 3:33 am

I do love to gaze at beautiful homes & buildings.

Sad about the mugging aspect I must say.

I like how the Fleur de Lis has come to have such meaning.

Marilyn Baron - January 25, 2013 - 6:16 am

I really like the pictures of the architecture. Very timely blog post as we approach Super Bowl Sunday.

Marilyn Baron - January 25, 2013 - 6:19 am

I forgot to mention that the Fleur de Lis is also the symbol of Florence, Italy.

Elaine Calloway - January 25, 2013 - 8:39 am

Hi Laura,

Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you liked the details and photos. I had to sort through all my pics to pick out the ones I liked the best :)

Hope you get a chance to see the NOLA architecture someday if you haven’t already :)

Elaine Calloway - January 25, 2013 - 8:41 am

Hi Mary,

I agree with you. And it’s really only certain areas within the Garden District, but it’s just something for tourists to be aware of. Very popular mugging area, and so many people think, “wow, let’s take a lovely sundown stroll and look at the homes after finishing a big meal.” Um, NOT. Definitely be cautious, but NOLA is a beautiful city – just be aware of your surroundings :)

I like the Fleur de Lis meaning, too :)

Elaine Calloway - January 25, 2013 - 8:43 am

Hey Marilyn,

Wow, you’re right. I don’t think Sia even planned it that way, for the New Orleans posts to coincide w/the Super Bowl :) They’ve actually been preparing the airport for over two years, which makes me happy – the concourses used to not have much at all, now they have all kinds of places to hang out before a flight.

I didn’t know about the symbol being for Florence, too! That’s interesting – thanks for sharing!

Susan Carlisle - January 25, 2013 - 8:53 am

I love to walk around NO and see all the buildings. The old shot gun houses, the French inspired buildings. They are all amazing. Thanks for sharing. Makes me want to visit soon.

Maxine Davis - January 25, 2013 - 9:55 am

Elaine, I love your descriptions of the homes. I think my nephew and his family are moving there this summer. I hope they pick a good area. It will be wonderful to go visit them :)

Elaine Calloway - January 25, 2013 - 10:12 am

Hey Maxine,

Thanks for commenting! Wow, your nephew is moving there? Yes, it will be great to have a place to stay when you visit!

Moving there in summer, though. Wow. One thing I will say about NOLA – it is *humid* in the summertime. Much like South Carolina. So make sure they drink plenty of water if they are moving/carrying boxes in the heat.

I love going back to visit. Sadly, the economy isn’t great for most jobs, but some have found a niche there. I love going back to visit and see folks and all the scenery though :0

thanks again for stopping by!

Pam Asberry - January 25, 2013 - 3:54 pm

What a beautiful post, Elaine! I had no idea that the Garden District is unsafe for tourists. Thanks for the travel tip! I really want to visit NOLA again SOON.

Elaine Calloway - January 25, 2013 - 4:35 pm

Hey Pam,

Thanks for the comment. I wouldn’t say the whole Garden District is unsafe for tourists, I just wouldn’t spend a lot of time leisurely walking around, particularly in certain areas. Better to see some of those homes from the comfort of your car w/air conditioning in the humid New Orleans setting! LOL.

Yes, NOLA is a great place to visit – I am going in 2 weeks!


Connie Gillam - January 25, 2013 - 5:52 pm


New Orleans has long been one of my favorite cities. My YA novel takes place there. And yes, the architecture tells a history all its own.

I was in Wilmington, NC this week and the antebellum houses remind me a lot of New Orleans.

Anna Doll - January 25, 2013 - 5:57 pm

I haven’t been to New Orleans in years. I love the architecture, the quaint shops and, especially, the food! How long of a driving trip is it from Atlanta?

Robin Weaver - January 25, 2013 - 7:28 pm

Very interesting stuff, Elaine.

hildie McQueen - January 25, 2013 - 10:06 pm

I loe architecture. When I go downtown Savannah or Charleston, I take tones of pictures of the buildings, gates and beautiful balconies. Nice post.

Caroljane Foster - January 26, 2013 - 8:56 am

Beautiful blog Elaine, and what a nice tribute to a beautiful and fascinating city! The folks in New Orleans are certainly survivors!

Atalie Andressen - January 28, 2013 - 8:54 am

Elaine, great blog. I visited my home town in September last year with five of my cousins for research of family and to show the westerners in my family my beautiful city. We did tour the areas around St. Charles avenue one rainy day following a guide book. We also visited the grave site of our family in St Vincent de Paul 2 cemetery. That was the only place that we felt was not safe to go. My city is worth the trip driving or flying either way don’t miss the opportunity. Do not go for Mardi Gras unless you love crowds of drunken out-of-towners. My favorite time is May, September, and Oct.
Go to Muriel’s bar and get the Fleur de Lis coctail.

Sandra Elzie - January 29, 2013 - 11:03 am

I LOVE different architecture! I love New Orleans, Savannah, the antebellum homes of the South, so you can well imagine I go crazy in places overseas.

Great article.

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