This long shopping arcade was once the great bazaar and pulsing commercial heart for much of New Orleans. Today the French Market is a bustling tourist jungle of curios, flea markets, food stalls and artist kiosks, some of which sell genuinely fascinating, memorable souvenirs, and some of which sell alligator heads, belt buckles and sunglasses. Whether it's kitch or catch, you can find it here, often with live musical accompaniment. Events sometimes keep the market open later in the evenings.
Following cycles of fire and storm, the market has been built and rebuilt by the Spanish, French and Works Progress Administration (WPA). These days it's a large, several-block-long area, some of it tented, some of it covered by a permanent shelter. A new stairway leads down to the riverfront.