Sprinkled with lazing loungers, surrounded by sketch artists, fortune tellers and traveling performers, and watched over by cathedrals, offices and shops plucked from a Parisian fantasy, Jackson Sq is one of America’s great town greens and the heart of the Quarter. The identical, block-long Pontalba Buildings overlook the scene, and the nearly identical Cabildo and Presbytère structures flank the impressive St Louis Cathedral, which fronts the square.
In the middle of the park stands the Jackson monument – Clark Mills’ bronze equestrian statue of the hero of the Battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson, which was unveiled in 1856. The inscription on the Jackson statue, ‘The Union Must and Shall be Preserved, ’ was added by General Benjamin Butler, Union military governor of New Orleans during the Civil War, ostensibly to rub it into the occupied city’s face (it worked). Free music is performed here, or near here, on a fairly regular basis.