Royal Street, New Orleans

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Royal street tiles

Royal Street (Spanish: Calle Real; French: Rue Royale) is a street in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is one of the oldest streets in the city, dating from the French colonial era, and is known today for its antique shops, art galleries, and stately hotels. Royal Street is the best known street in the French Quarter besides Bourbon Street.

The street starts at Canal Street (above Canal Street, the corresponding street is Uptown New Orleans' St. Charles Avenue). It runs down through the French Quarter, Faubourg Marigny, Bywater, and Lower 9th Ward neighborhoods to the Jackson Barracks at the border of St. Bernard Parish. The Industrial Canal forms a gap in the street between the Bywater and Lower 9th Ward neighborhoods.

The portion of Rue Royale in the upper French Quarter (toward Canal Street) is known for its dozens of opulent antique shops and art galleries. The prices at its art shops and antique stores tend to be very high; indeed, it has been listed as one of the world's most expensive places to shop. The finer antique shops display not simply items that are old, but such rare items as pieces of fine furniture owned by royalty of past centuries. Although such pieces are beyond the budget of all but a few, window shopping along Royal Street is a popular pastime, especially for art lovers. The 700 block of Royal features the galleries of New Orleans-based artists Ally Burguieres and George Rodrigue.

The portion of Royal Street between St. Louis and St. Ann streets is closed to traffic every afternoon to create a pedestrian zone. During this time, numerous street performers set up there. Although the music performance quality ranges widely, some of the best up-and-coming jazz bands in New Orleans can be heard.

Royal Street also includes restaurants, ranging from the upscale Brennan's through mid-range and budget options, as well as luxury hotels such as the Omni Royal Orleans and the Hotel Monteleone. Below St. Ann Street, Royal has a mix of neighborhood businesses and residences.

Despite catastrophic damage in most of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Royal Street was spared the great flood, other than the section in the Lower 9th Ward. The French Quarter, originally the city itself, was built upon naturally-higher ground next to a curve in the Mississippi River.

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