This footage from The Historic New Orleans Collection’s holdings shows what the French Quarter was like in the 1940s.
Can you imagine New Orleans without the French Quarter? That was almost the case in the early 1900s, when people considered leveling portions of the city’s oldest district and starting anew.
The Historic New Orleans Collection’s founders, General L. Kemper and Leila Williams, were among the early preservationists who realized the history, culture and architecture of the French Quarter were worth saving.
In 1939, they purchased a townhouse on Toulouse Street and became dedicated to reinvigorating the Vieux Carré. Today, tourists list the Quarter as the city’s most popular destination, and the Williamses’ legacy continues through the work of THNOC.