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New Orleans is known as the "Crescent City." It is the parish seat of Orleans County located in the Mississippi River Delta. Its name derives from a city in France, Duc d' Orleans. The population in 2003 was estimated to be 469,032. In 2005, New Orleans was brought to the spotlight through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Thousands of residents lost everything including their homes by the riveting destruction.
New Orleans Facts
Well-known residents that have lived in New Orleans include musicians Louis Armstrong, Neville Brothers, Randy Newman and Branford, the playwright Lillian Hellman and President JFK's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald. Sports teams to note are the Hornets, Saints, Zephyrs and Voodoo. The University of New Orleans, Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana are options for higher education needs.
Several movies were also filmed in New Orleans such as "A Street Car Named Desire," "The Big Easy," "JFK" and "The Skeleton Key."
New Orleans History
New Orleans originated as a French-Canadian outpost in 1718. It started out as a set of unlikely shacks built on a disease-laden swamp with only one thing in its favor, the fact that its location was at the mouth of the Mississippi River. In the early 1720s, the massive importation of African slaves led to rapid development. In the beginning, settlement was greatly discouraged by flooding. Inmates from French prisons were used to backfill marshes and swamps and to construct levees.
Despite resistance the city of New Orleans received due to the French population in the early settlement, it flourished greatly between 1763 and 1800 as a Spanish colony. In 1803, following the Louisiana Purchase, the city began to develop as a busy port for large ships and steamboats. The port was flooded with smugglers, gamblers, prostitutes and pirates by the end of the eighteenth century. Most of these newcomers were Anglo-Americans fleeing from the American Revolution and others were French aristocrats escaping the revolution in France. The city became a haven for whites and free blacks accompanied by their slaves as they escaped the Saint-Domingue revolt.
A Creole Culture is Formed
French, Spanish, and free people of color came together and formed an alliance creating a Creole culture. This culture was made up of influences from Europe, Africa and the colonies. Americans who migrated here were unwelcome in the Creole city known today as the French Quarter. They were forced to settle in the Central Business District and the Garden District.
Canal Street becomes "Neutral Ground"
Canal Street was known as "neutral ground" between the old city and the growing suburbs. Much has been made over the dislike between the Creoles and Anglo-Americans, yet economic necessity pushed them to work and live among one another.
Battle of New Orleans
In 1815, the Creoles and Anglo-Americans fought side-by-side in the Battle of New Orleans. It was the final battle that secured American supremacy in the United States during the War of 1812. Andrew Jackson led his unlikely army of Anglo-Americans, Creoles, slaves, Native Americans, free men of color, and pirates supplied by famous buccaneer Jean Lafitte to victory and became a national hero. Eventually Jackson became President.
Economic Woes in New Orleans
The Civil War brought the major port to an abrupt halt. The blow to the economy accompanied with the ravages of the Reconstruction isolated the city from its markets. The fortunes of New Orleans plummeted.
By 1900, Jazz poured into bars and Mardi Gras evolved into a tourist attraction. This was a positive economic movement for the city. The oil and petrochemicals actually salvaged the economy. Yet in the 1980s, it received another economic blow from the oil crash. This battering produced a large increase in crime rates, crack deaths and widespread corruption for nearly two decades. Things began to stabilize with a strengthening economy and tourism by the end of the nineteenth century.
New Orleans is a city rich in history and culture. To learn more about New Orleans, LA USA visit the New Orleans Convention Center Web site. (http://www.neworleanscvb.com/)New Orleans, the melting pot of music, food, and culture, will truly be a unique, enjoyable, and memorable experience for any visitor. Tourists have their pick of festivals: music, culinary, art, multi-cultural, film & literary, as well as theater.