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Street Name Tiles of New Orleans

Sprawling, columned mansions in the Garden District and ornate balconies protruding from the French Quarter’s Creole townhouses give visitors to New Orleans more than enough to look at, but if you occasionally glance down, you’ll see another distinctive detail of the Crescent City.

The New Orleanian tradition of eschewing street signs in favor of using ceramic tiles to spell street names started approximately 130 years ago in the mid-1880s. Supposedly, the motivating factor for this preference was the former pervasiveness of horse-drawn carriages, whose slow pace allowed for plenty of time and the correct vantage point from which coachmen could look down at the street in front of them.

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