Walt had always wanted there to be a New Orleans-themed section in Disneyland. Architectural elements from that city in the late 1800s were in evidence on buildings at the far end of Frontierland from when it first opened in 1955.
In fact, Walt labeled one of the streets "New Orleans Street" and it was officially dedicated August 9, 1955 by actress Dorothy Lamour. It was a Tuesday to tie in with Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) and there was a Dixieland Jazz group that played along with other entertainers.
"It looks exactly like the wonderful city in which I was born," said Lamour as she smashed a bottle filled with water from New Orleans against Lafitte's anchor that would be displayed for decades.
Imagineer Herb Ryman did a series of evocative concept paintings of the possibilities that inspired Walt to eventually build a separate New Orleans Square section in his park.