New Orleans is, perhaps, the closest one can get to the experience of a European city without actually visiting Europe. For, the French Quarter has been fairly well preserved as it originally was with its beautiful wrought iron verandas and other architecture of the eighteenth century.(It has changed little since 1947). There are many nightclubs and jazz halls at that time (i.e. Preservation Hall, as well as places where Zydeco (Cajun music) was played).
New Orleans has long been a city of many mixes of nationalities and races. The influence of the Spanish and French is evident in the architecture, the food, and language, although French is not a required course anymore (but it was in 1947). There is yet a building in the French Quarter that was a place frequented by Napoleon. And, more French visitors came and still come to New Orleans than any other place in the United States; many have always enjoyed attending Preservation Hall in order to listen to the New Orleans form of jazz. (This was founded in 1961 and is still in existence). Without doubt, there has been and still is a definitive culture in the Crescent City. The streetcars yet run, although there are only a few. In 1947, they would be the main means of transportation.
Also, in 1947 segregation was yet in place. Nevertheless, other people mixed easily with one another and neighborhoods were not as divided among nationalities since the French Quarter was the first settlement of the French,Spanish, Italian, and Irish when they came to this city. The neighborhood in which Stanley and Stella reside is near the railroad tracks and the Mississippi River, which would have been an extremely busy area at the time. Williams describes it as "raffish" because, although it is a poor neighborhood and rather disreputable, it yet has something intriguing about it due to the unique culture of New Orleans. Truly, there is a certain other-worldliness about New Orleans; perhaps, it is the colorful history, the retention of much of the old world, and the musicality of this city, which Williams connotes with the "blue piano" that is heard, a symbol of the spirit of the life in this neighborhood, that makes it so. At any rate, many agree that the city of New Orleans is like no other place in the United States.