Sunday, September 4, 2005 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Beloved icons still standing

The Associated Press

In New Orleans, winding streets where revelers meandered, listening to jazz in the sticky heat, are flooded with murky water. Some businesses and landmarks are submerged or damaged; others escaped the water but were ravaged by looters.

Rescue workers are combing the waters in search of survivors, but a different kind of reckoning also is becoming clear. New Orleans is one of the most iconic cities in America, and some of the places and pieces that make it unique could be lost or looted.

Here is a list of famous spots in the city, and how they are faring, although the full extent of the damage won't be known for some time:

• The French Quarter: This historic district is full of wrought-iron balconies and ornate colonial architecture, but also was a playground for adults who could roam the streets with cocktails in tow, listen to jazz and, during Mardi Gras, grab beads and go wild. The area escaped much of the flooding.

Bourbon Street: A hedonistic strip in the Quarter bursting with bars such as Pat O'Brien's, Molly's on the Market and Jean Laffite's Blacksmith Shop. The latter, a piano bar, supposedly was the in-town headquarters of pirate Jean Laffite, who owned more than 10 vessels and raided American, British and Spanish ships in the early 1800s. Located in the French Quarter, the area escaped flooding but remains closed.

Café du Monde: Established in 1862, this coffee shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter was best known for its café au lait, made with hearty New Orleans-style coffee, blended with chicory, and beignets — crispy, square doughnuts. Still standing.

Galatoire's: Nearly a century old, the tiled and mirrored restaurant was famous for not taking reservations. The tuxedo-clad wait staff served Creole classics such as shrimp remoulade and crab-meat maison. Also located in the French Quarter. Still standing.

Acme Oyster House: Built more than 90 years ago at the gateway to the French Quarter, it had a menu including raw oysters and traditional po' boys, or fried oyster sandwiches. On the edge of the Quarter, it should have escaped much of the flooding.

U.S. Mint: The building housed Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and produced money for the federal government until 1909. It later became home to jazz, Mardi Gras exhibits and the streetcar immortalized in Tennessee Williams' play "A Streetcar Named Desire." The mint is standing. The fate of the streetcar is unknown.

Preservation Hall: In an unassuming building originally built as a private residence in 1750, this famed jazz club was once a tavern, inn, photo studio and art gallery. Fate unknown; it is in the middle of the Quarter and should be unaffected unless looters have trashed it.

Anne Rice's home: Tourists and fans of the "Vampire Chronicles" books would visit the Garden District home of author Anne Rice. She also has helped create several "haunted tours" of the city. The area was battered by high winds that knocked down trees. Rice no longer lives there, although that hasn't stopped tourists from stopping by.

St. Louis Cathedral: Located in Jackson Square and consecrated in 1794, it was said to be the oldest continuously active cathedral in the country. Still standing.

St. Charles Avenue in the Garden District: The St. Charles Streetcar ran down the historic street, and the area was shaded by majestic oak trees layered in Spanish moss. The Garden District was named for the collection of mansions and sprawling gardens, but Victorian homes built later became a well-known part of the neighborhood. Much wind damage; many trees splintered.

Commander's Palace: A restaurant built in 1880 in the stately Garden District, frequented by everyone from wealthy elite to riverboat captains and charlatans. Known for its turtle soup and turquoise-and-white facade, which was heavily damaged.

Fair grounds: In the northeast section of the city, the fair grounds is best known as the home of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, but is also famous for its racetrack, built in 1852. The roof was torn off.

Little is known about other landmarks located in the flood area, including St. Louis Cemetery No. 2, one of the larger cemeteries known as "cities of the dead," with narrow paths, rusty ironwork and sun-bleached tombs built above ground because the water table was so high that caskets occasionally would float away if buried underground; Mid-City Lanes Rock 'N Bowl Nightclub, a bar near Xavier University which has bowling lanes, live Cajun, blues and jazz music plus a full bowling alley and dancing; and Maple Leaf Bar, a smallish place uptown on Oak Street with a hammered-on tin ceiling, an institution for local music.

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company


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