New Orleans is the name of the city, but it has been in four countries on the same site. France colonized it in 1682 for King Louis XIV, known as La Louisiane Française (French Louisiana), an area from the Gulf of Mexico, along the Mississippi to the Great Lakes. France ceded the eastern portion to Britain in 1763, and America kicked British butt in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans. The colony west of the Mississippi River was ceded to Spain to compensate the loss of Florida to the British in 1763, thus Spain also controlled New Orleans, as evidenced by photos below. It is from Spanish rule that the name Cabildo comes, defined as a colonial administrative council—fancy name for City Hall.
There’s a purpose to this history lesson: The museum has artifacts related to Louisiana when it was controlled by these countries. It’s best to be familiar with the state and city histories. Plan a visit on hot or rainy afternoons. At the northern side of Jackson Square, Cabildo is at 701 Chartres St., 504/568-6968, $6 adult fee is used to maintain the museum. It’s closed on Mondays.
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