"The place where Terpsichore and Bacchus ruled the hour:" a history of Gallatin Street

Tour curated by: Jessica Anne Dauterive, Greg Lambousy, William Jones, Sean Simonson, Ellie Ginsburg

Gallatin Street, the two-block stretch near the Mississippi River now known as French Market Place, was once the center of vice in Antebellum New Orleans. This tour shares some of the stories that gave Gallatin Street its notorious reputation.

Locations for Tour

A small, two-block stretch called Gallatin Street, now called French Market Place, was once the headquarters of vice in New Orleans. A visitor to the street in 1873 described the scene for the Times-Picayune: Gallatin street is wet and slippery, it…

Gallatin Street’s close proximity to the port made it a quick and frequent stop for those who docked, worked, or lived near the booming economic area. Close to half a million immigrants came through New Orleans’ port between 1841 and 1860, and…

Gallatin Street was once filled with barrooms, dance houses, and brothels — most institutions serving as all three. There was rarely a fee to enter, but men were encouraged to buy a drink for their dance partner at the end of each dance, keeping…

In 1924, Times-Picayune journalist Lyle Saxon provided a description of Gallatin Street as it appeared in the 1920s, calling it “deserted, forgotten, given over to warehouses and storage rooms of produce merchants. It is permeated with the smells…