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New Orleans is home to many culturally important and historically significant sites. As you would imagine with a city as old and as diverse as this, the selection of historical sites is wide indeed. Without wanting to sound like a tour guide, the list of things to do in New Orleans will fill any vacation time you spend here.

Historical Buildings

New Orleans is steeped in history and has some of the most elegant and enriching historical sites in the country. Here are just a small selection.

The Academy of the Sacred Heart Chapel

This church is in the Garden District and is a great place to visit. It is a Catholic church that dates back to 1887. It still operates as an independent Catholic school.

Beauregard-Keyes House

The home of Confederate General Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard who ordered the first shots of the Civil War. He shared this house with Frances Parkinson Keyes, albeit at different periods, and the house is now a major tourist attraction in the French Quarter.

Le Petit Theatre

The Le Petit Theatre is a community theater that dates back to 1916. It is the oldest theater that has seen continuous use in the country.

Magnolia Mansion

Magnolia Mansion is one of the most romantic places in the country. Built in the Antebellum style, this house was built in 1857 by Alexander Harris as a wedding present for his bride-to-be. A beautiful home that attracts many visitors.

Old U.S. Mint

The Old U.S. Mint in the French Quarter is the only mint in the country to have been producing currency for both the United States and the Confederacy. Built in 1835, this building is now a museum that regularly holds jazz exhibitions.

Old Ursuline Convent

The Old Ursuline Convent is the oldest building in the Mississippi river valley. Originally constructed in 1752, this  building is also referred to as the Archbishop Antoine Blanc Memorial Complex. It is one of the oldest, and finest examples of French colonial architecture we have.

Preservation Resource Center

The Preservation Resource Center is the place to come if you want to get to the heart of New Orleans. If you want to learn the differences between Creole cottages, double-gallery colonial architecture or shotgun houses, this is the place to come. Find it in the arts district.

St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral is a New Orleans landmark. Built in 1794, it has prime position in the French Quarter facing the Mississippi river. It is the longest-serving and oldest cathedral in the country and still has an active Roman Catholic congregation to this day.

Mardi Gras

No history of New Orleans would be complete without mentioning the Mardi Gras. The celebration came to our shores from France where it had been regularly practiced since the Middle Ages. The actual celebration is thought to be an offshoot of the Roman celebration of fertility, regularly held in springtime to welcome the new growing season.

Whatever its roots, the modern Mardi Gras is held on a Tuesday between February 3 through March 9. It is always held 47 days before Easter, a date still controlled by the Catholic church.