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Pontalba Buildings, New Orleans

#47 of 48 in Historic Sites in New Orleans
Architectural Building · Hidden Gem · Historic Site
The Pontalba Buildings form two sides of Jackson Square in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. They are called the Upper & Lower for their proximity to Canal Street.

In the late 1840s, Baroness Micaela Almonester de Pontalba, a wealthy New Orleans businesswoman, and one of the most vibrant personalities of our cities history, designed and commissioned the construction of the beautifully elegant town houses in Jackson Square in the heart of the French Quarter, today known as the Pontalba Buildings. Their construction cost more than $300,000 they are matching red-brick, block long 4‑story buildings. The ground floors house shops and restaurant while the upper floors are apartments. The buildings still are used in the original intent and are the oldest continuously rented such apartments in the United States.

Contemporaries described the Baroness as a shrewd, intelligent, vivacious, and business-like. When the Swedish singer Jenny Lind visited New Orleans in 1851 she stayed at the apartments; afterward, Micaela auctioned the furniture Lind had used. Micaela was also instrumental in the name change of Place d'Armes to Jackson Square; as well as the decision to convert it from a parade ground to a formal garden.

In the short story Hidden Gardens, Truman Capote describes the Pontalba Buildings as "The oldest, in some ways most somberly elegant, apartment houses in America, the Pontalba Buildings."

They were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974. There is a waiting list for the apartments that are known for the majestic views. Should you wish more info please contact the Property Manager, Darrin Duplissey at 504-525-6875 or
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12 reviews
  • These are very old buildings that run down the sides of Jackson Square. The bottom level is all different shops and the upper level is apartments. Worth a look if you are in the square  more »
  • On this lovely December afternoon, we only encountered the Lower Pontalba Building, up close. We had gone in search of a “Champagne bar,” on Rampart St, only to find it closed. We were near the “back....  more »

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