Virtual Library

initiated August 2015; ongoing

We are thrilled to announce the inaugural release of tens of thousands of historic Vieux Carré Commission archives for free viewing by the public at (or This innovative map-based electronic archive boasts: 44,000 historic slides have been scanned and linked to the properties they depict, every structure in the neighborhood has been painstakingly mapped in GIS, and every building’s color rating and other major attributes have been identified and defined. The Foundation is also now scanning and identifying the VCC’s countless historic paper photographs, to be added to the Virtual Library and linked to their locations on the map. Future phases include scanning and adding the 4,000 property files, as well as meta-tagging the images to 500-plus terms that are already defined in the Virtual Library glossary. This monumental and much-needed endeavor will serve as a resource not only for the VCC, but also for architects, property owners, residents, and people worldwide who are interested in the renowned architecture of the Vieux Carré.

Funded in part by generous grants from the Ella West Freeman Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.

Vieux Carré Design Guidelines

Completed August 2015

One of the Foundation’s biggest accomplishments is its complete overhaul and update of the Design Guidelines for the Vieux Carré Historic District, a guide for preserving and protecting the district’s architectural and historical resources, which the City Council adopted in August 2015. This was a much larger and more comprehensive project than the lighting study that preceded it; it was intended to replace the 1986 design guidelines in their entirety.

The new guidelines provide detailed information and illustrations to instruct property owners, design professionals, contractors, VCC staff, and the Vieux Carré Commissioners regarding appropriate exterior changes to properties within the historic district.

These guidelines are provided to the public free of charge online, and are also available for purchase in hardback book format consisting of 200-plus pages illustrated with 369 color photographs and 219 drawings.

View the Guidelines

Exterior Lighting Design Guidelines

Completed April 2013

The Foundation’s first major project was to conduct a comprehensive lighting study of the French Quarter aimed at assisting the VCC in adopting new lighting guidelines. This project was designed to meet the needs of the Vieux Carré in regard to critical issues of security, pedestrian safety and aesthetics, not only for property owners, but also for the neighborhood’s 9-million-plus visitors per year.

The old lighting guidelines created in 1986 had become obsolete in the face of modern and rapidly changing lighting technologies. The Foundation funded and completed the comprehensive study to provide property owners and VCC staff with prescriptive guidelines for the use of exterior illumination tailored to address the variety of building types and styles within the French Quarter, the tout ensemble of the Vieux Carré, and public safety needs, including optimal lighting for security cameras. The results of the study were incorporated into new state-of-the-art exterior lighting design guidelines.

View the Exterior Lighting GuidelinesView the Site Lighting Study