The French Quarter, also known as the Vieux Carré or the Vieux Carre Historic District, is the oldest section of the city of New Orleans. After New Orleans (La Nouvelle-Orléans in French) was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, it developed around the Vieux Carré ("Old Square" in English), a central square. The district is more commonly called the French Quarter today, or simply "the Quarter," related to changes in the city with American immigration after the Louisiana Purchase.
Most of the extant historical buildings were constructed in either the late 18th century, during the city's period of Spanish rule, or during the first half of the 19th century, after U.S. annexation and statehood. The district as a whole has been designated as a National Historic Landmark, with numerous contributing buildings that are separately deemed significant. It is both a prime tourist destination and attractive for local residents.
Because of its distance from areas where the levees were breached during Hurricane Katrina (2005) as well as the strength and height of the nearest river levees in contrast to other waterway levees or flood walls, Katrina flood damage was relatively light in the Quarter as compared with other areas of the city and the greater region.