Ranked among the most historically significant buildings in America, the Cabildo is an essential stop for anyone interested in New Orleans’ rich history. In addition to being the seat of city government until 1853, it was also served as the Louisiana State Supreme Court during the landmark Plessy v. Ferguson decision 1892, which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation.
Today, the inside of the Cabildo is open to the public as part of the Louisiana State Museum. Collection highlights include a copy of Napoleon's death mask and an elaborate Mardi Gras costume. Many French Quarter walking tours stop outside the building for a quick discussion of its historical importance.
Things to know before you go
- Look out of the windows on the upper floors for fantastic views over Jackson Square.
- Map enthusiasts may be interested in the third-floor collection of vintage Louisiana maps.
- Docents are on-site to answer questions and occasionally provide guided tours.
- Elevators are available to access the upper levels; contact a staff member for other accessibility needs.
- Children 12 and under are admitted free, though the exhibits are not generally geared toward families.
How to get there
The Cabildo is located at 701 Chartres Street, right on Jackson Square in the French Quarter. It is within easy walking distance of nearly all French Quarter attractions. Parking in the area is limited.
When to get there
The Cabildo is open Tuesday through Sunday from morning to mid-afternoon. It is closed on major holidays.
Jackson Square Attractions
The geographic and architectural heart of the French Quarter, Jackson Square is impossible to miss as you stroll through New Orleans’s most historic district. In addition to the Cabildo, this leafy plaza is lined with other places worth a stop, including the historic Presbytère, St. Louis Cathedral, and Cafe du Monde—famous for its sugar-dusted beignets and chicory coffee.
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- St. Louis Cathedral
- Jackson Square
- The Presbytère
- French Quarter
- 1850 House
- Court of Two Sisters
- Preservation Hall
- New Orleans Pharmacy Museum
- Bourbon Street
- Napoleon House
- New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum
- New Orleans School of Cooking
- Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve
- Historic New Orleans Collection (HNOC)
- Steamboat Natchez