polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

Windows into New Orleans

by Katia Savchuk

Although teeming with tourists, New Orleans is one city that does not lack for sense of place. Walking through its older districts, you could tell its story through the struggling street musicians, rustic doorways or chugging streetcars. It reads in the signs advertising jambalaya or po’ boys.  It seeps through the bandaged houses, healing post-Katrina (although you don’t see many of those near the tourist centers).

Its colonial-style shutters are a distinctive motif. They seem quaint relics, but as so many defining urban characteristics, they are rooted in practical rather than ornamental concerns. The Old-World shutters originally kept out sunlight and allowed breezes to circulate on hot days. They also protected from storms, and the French Quarter is still the safest place to be in a hurricane because of them. 

Credits: Photos of New Orleans shutters by Katia Savchuk.