Guide to New Orleans: Arts and culture
New Orleans is an artistic sensibility born of the French and Spanish presence and the influence of the Caribbean, a rich and complex past, the era of slavery with always vivid memories. A climate affecting the characters, a nature bringing inspiration, exuberance and decadence linked to the taste pronounced for the good things of life despite the influence of religion; all this has shaped Louisiana’s musical and cultural history identity.
The leagues of authors of various origins contributed to the architectural richness of Louisiana: from the urban or rural Creole style, enriched with Spanish contributions, to the Greek-inspired neo-classicism or Victorian architecture. Methods that are dictated by the climate and that give Louisiana its unique character.
The Creole heritage
Very few French colonial style dwellings exist in New Orleans. Most of them burned in the fires that devastated New Orleans. From these” boxes ” with thick walls, made of bricks and jostling (a mixture of the ball, horsehair, and Spanish moss), held by wooden structures (brick between posts) with roofs unsuitable to the Louisiana climate. There are only a few remains in the Old Square, of which one of the most famous examples is the Laffite’s Blacksmith Shop (at the corner of Bourbon and St. Philip streets). The region of Natchitoches also retains some of the most representative residences of the French colonial style. With the arrival of the Spanish and following the fires that devastated the City, New Orleans is adorned with higher-story dwellings, balconies adorned with forgotten iron delicately worked in lace with the initial of the owner. Refreshing inner courtyards with exotic fountains and gardens soften life in the city.
The experience of the black slaves, especially the Senegalese, was crucial in the construction of Louisiana’s colonial homes. Excellent builders, the slaves build the foundations of the brick plantations and the pillars with the Cypress of the downstream marshes. Their technique allowed load-bearing walls to avoid soil moisture while keeping a little freshness at the foundation level, which made it possible to better store provisions, and especially the wine imported from France. The base of the houses, slightly raised, allows a better circulation of the air, indispensable with the summer dampness and puts their inhabitants in the shelter of the floods. What differentiates Creole plantations from Anglo-American plantations are also the bright colors and architectural simplicity of the House.
With the arrival of the Americans and certain prosperity, the massive Greek Revival-style plantings of brilliant whiteness pass along the Louisiana waterways. They are impressive with their column façades, planted at the end of a perspective formed by majestic oak alleys.
The Victorian style can be seen in all residential areas of Louisiana. More modest in size than the plantations, these residences are characterized by their plentiful character, prominent porch and light-colored wooden façades.
A wealth of natural settings, dark mansions, historic cities, exotic cities with a sulfurous reputation-all asset to inspire local filmmakers and attract filmmakers from the rest of the country. Many of the works, some of them by well-known actors, took place in the south of Louisiana, but also in the regions of Natchitoches and sportsmen’s Paradise. Since Hurricane Katrina, the Louisiana State film commission has made every effort to attract even more film directors to Louisiana by offering them tax exemptions. In 2012, many films and TV series were shot in Louisiana, mainly in Shreveport and New Orleans, as well as in the Celtic Studios of Baton Rouge. Current productions include Twilight’s Chapter 4, GI Joe, 21 Jump Street and the Lucky One.