The Pontalba Apartments:
On either side of the square are the Pontalba Apartments built by the Baroness Michaela Pontalba in the 1850's. They are the oldest apartment buildings in the United States. The Baroness is a colorful figure in New Orleans history. She is the daughter of Don Andres de Almonaster y Roxas, who is buried under the floor of the St. Louis Cathedral. Michaela survived an attempted murder by her father-in-law in Paris 1834. She returned to New Orleans 1848 to find the old Creole families were moving to Esplanade Avenue. Seeking to restore this area of the French Quarter, she built her grand row houses, and convinced city officials to renovate the Square, and surrounding buildings to resemble the great public squares in Europe. During construction, Michaela would supervise, often climbing up and down scaffolding checking everything. She constructed the buildings in 2 1/2 years at a cost of $302,000.