This street is found in the heart of New Orleans’ oldest neighborhood, the French Quarter, and its 13 blocks of nightlife is known for its bars and strip clubs. This is Bourbon Street’s history which provides some insight into New Orleans’ past.
In the 1690s the French claimed Louisiana as a colony and Bourbon Street paid homage to the House of Bourbon – France’s ruling family. In 1763 New Orleans traded hands to Spanish but 80% of the city was destroyed by fire in 1788. This is the reason Bourbon Street and the French Quarter display more Spanish than French influence. America gained control over the colony in 1803 and translated French street names into English and Rue Bourbon suddenly became Bourbon Street.
The French Quarter was always the best-known part of the city and it was always criticized for loose morals as travelers arrived mainly to drink, gamble, and have sexual encounters in the city’s brothels. In the 1970s, Mayor Moon Landrieu focused more on stimulating tourism by making Bourbon Street a pedestrian mall. It has thus been looked upon as a “Creole Disneyland” of sorts that has, some believe, diminished the street’s identity and authenticity.