New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of New Orleans
native_name = Ville de La Nouvelle-Orléans
nickname = "The Crescent City," "The Big Easy," "The City That Care Forgot," "Nawlins," and "NOLA" (acronym for New Orleans, LA).
website = []

flag_size = 100px

map_caption = Location in the State of Louisiana
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = Parish
subdivision_name = USA
subdivision_name1 =
subdivision_name2 =
established_title = Founded
established_date = 1718
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = C. Ray Nagin (D)
area_magnitude = 1 E8
unit_pref = imperial
area_total_km2 = 907
area_total_sq_mi = 350.2
area_land_km2 = 467.6
area_land_sq_mi = 180.6
area_water_km2 = 439.4
area_water_sq_mi = 169.7
area_metro_km2 = 9,726.6
area_metro_sq_mi = 3,755.2
population_as_of = 2006cite web | url = | title = Table 1: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places Over 100,000, Ranked by July 1, 2006 Population: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2006 | format = CSV | work = 2005 Population Estimates | publisher = United States Census Bureau, Population Division | date = 2007-06-28 | accessdate = 2007-06-28 ]
population_total = 223,388
population_metro = 1030363
population_density_km2 = 973
population_density_sq_mi = 2518
population_blank1_title = Demonym
population_blank1 = New Orleanian
timezone = CST
utc_offset = -6
timezone_DST = CDT
utc_offset_DST = -5
latd = 29
latm = 57
lats = 53
latNS = N
longd = 90
longm = 4
longs = 14
longEW = W
elevation_m = -2 to 6
elevation_ft =-6.5 to 20
postal_code_type =
postal_code =
footnotes =

New Orleans (pronEng|nʲuːˈɔrliənz, nʲuːˈɔrlənz; French: "La Nouvelle-Orléans" Audio-IPA|La Nouvelle-Orleans.ogg| [lanuvɛlɔʀleɑ̃] ) is a major United States port city and the largest city in Louisiana. It is the center of the Greater New Orleans metropolitan area.

New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Mississippi River. It is coextensive with Orleans Parish, meaning that the boundaries of the city and the parish are the same.cite web | url= | title="Orleans Parish History and Information" | accessdate=2008-03-18] It is bounded by the parishes of St. Tammany (north), St. Bernard (east), Plaquemines (south), and Jefferson (south and west).cite web | url= | title=Louisiana Parish Map with Administrative Cities| accessdate=2008-03-18] cite web | url= | title=Home Rule Charter of the City of New Orleans as amended through January 1, 1996 | date=1996-01-01 | accessdate=2008-03-18] Lake Pontchartrain, part of which is included in the city limits, lies to the north, and Lake Borgne lies to the east.

The city is named after Philippe II, Duc d'Orléans, Regent of France, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It is well known for its multicultural and multilingual heritage,Cultures well represented in New Orleans' history include African American, Creole, Cajun, French, German, Irish, Italian, Jewish, Latino, Spanish, and Vietnamese. cite web|url= | title=Multicultural History | accessdate=2008-04-26] cuisine, architecture, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz),cite web
title=New Orleans: The Birthplace of Jazz
work=PBS – JAZZ A Film By Ken Burns
format=primarily excerpted from Jazz: A History of America's Music
] cite web
title=America Savors Its Music During Jazz Appreciation Month
work=U.S. Dept. of State – USINFO
] and its annual Mardi Gras and other celebrations and festivals. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" city in America. [ Institute of New Orleans History and Culture] at Gwynedd-Mercy College] [ Behind the Scenes: "Hurricane on the Bayou"] ] [ New Orleans: A Choice Between Destruction and Reparations] , by David Billings, The Fellowship of Reconciliation, November/December 2005] [ Bring New Orleans Back] ] [ Spike Lee offers his take on Hurricane Katrina] , by Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press, July 14 2006]


Beginnings through the 19th century

La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville on land inhabited by the Chitimacha. It was named for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who was Regent of France at the time; his title came from the French city of Orléans. The French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris (1763) and remained under Spanish control until 1801, when it reverted to French control. Most of the surviving architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) dates from this Spanish period. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The city grew rapidly with influxes of Americans, French, and Creole French. Major commodity crops of sugar and cotton were cultivated with slave labor on large plantations outside the city.

The Haitian Revolution of 1804 established the second republic in the Western Hemisphere and the first led by blacks. Haitian refugees both white and free people of color ("affranchis") arrived in New Orleans, often bringing slaves with them. While Governor Claiborne and other officials wanted to keep out more free black men, French Creoles wanted to increase the French-speaking population. As more refugees were allowed in Louisiana, Haitian émigrés who had gone to Cuba also arrived. Nearly 90 percent of the new immigrants settled in New Orleans. The 1809 migration brought 2,731 whites; 3,102 free persons of African descent; and 3,226 enslaved refugees to the city, doubling its French-speaking population. Sixty-three percent of Crescent City inhabitants were now black, as Americans classified people. [ [ In Motion: African American Migration Experience - Haitian Immigration: 18th & 19th Centuries] , NY Public Library] , accessed 7 May 2008]

During the War of 1812, the British sent a force to conquer the city. The Americans decisively defeated the British troops, led by Sir Edward Pakenham, in the Battle of New Orleans on January 8 1815.

As a principal port, New Orleans had the major role of any city during the antebellum era in the slave trade. Its port handled huge quantities of goods for export from the interior and import from other countries to be traded up the Mississippi River. The river was filled with steamboats, flatboats and sailing ships. At the same time, it had the most prosperous community of free persons of color in the South, who were often educated and middle-class property owners. [cite web
title=History of Les Gens De Couleur Libres

The population of the city doubled in the 1830s, and by 1840 New Orleans had become the wealthiest and third-most populous city in the nation. It had the largest slave market. Two-thirds of the more than one million slaves brought to the Deep South arrived via the forced migration of the internal slave trade. The money generated by sales of slaves in the Upper South has been estimated at fifteen percent of the value of the staple crop economy. The slaves represented half a billion dollars in property, and an ancillary economy grew up around the trade in slaves - for transportation, housing and clothing, fees, etc., estimated at 13.5 percent of the price per person. All this amounted to tens of billions of dollars during the antebellum period, with New Orleans as a prime beneficiary. [Walter Johnson, "Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market", Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999, p.2 and 6 ]

The Union captured New Orleans early in the American Civil War, sparing the city the destruction suffered by many other cities of the American South. [cite web|url=|title=The Ustica Connection|accessdate=2008-03-22]

Twentieth century

In the early 20th century, New Orleans was a progressive major city whose most portentous development was a drainage plan devised by engineer and inventor A. Baldwin Wood. Until then, urban development was largely limited to higher ground along natural river levees and bayous; Wood's pump system allowed the city to expand into low-lying areas. Over the 20th century, rapid subsidence, both natural and human-induced, left these newly populated areas several feet below sea level. [Cite paper | author=Kusky, Timothy M. | title=Why is New Orleans Sinking? | publisher=Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Saint Louis University|date=2005-12-29 | url= | accessdate=2006-06-17 ] [cite news
title=New Orleans Sits Atop Giant Landslide
work=Discovery Channel

New Orleans was vulnerable to flooding even before the age of negative elevation. In the late 20th century, however, scientists and New Orleans residents gradually became aware of the city's increased vulnerability. In 1965, Hurricane Betsy killed dozens of residents, even though the majority of the city remained dry. The rain-induced 1995 flood demonstrated the weakness of the pumping system; since that time, measures were taken to repair New Orleans's hurricane defenses and restore pumping capacity .

Throughout the 20th Century, New Orleans experienced a significant drop in economic activity compared with newer southern cities such as Houston and Atlanta. While the port remains vitally important, automation and containerization resulted in fewer local jobs at the ports. Manufacturing in the city also diminished. New Orleans became increasingly dependent on tourism as an economic mainstay. Poor education and rising crime became increasingly problematic in the later decades of the century.


New Orleans is located at coor dms|29|57|53|N|90|4|14|W|region:US (29.964722, −90.070556)GR|1 on the banks of the Mississippi River, approximately convert|105|mi|km upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of convert|350.2|sqmi|km2, of which convert|180.56|sqmi|km2, or 51.55%, is land.cite web
title=United States Summary: 2000
publisher=United States Census Bureau

The city is located in the Mississippi River Delta on the east and west banks of the Mississippi River and south of Lake Pontchartrain. The area along the river is characterized by ridges and hollows.

New Orleans was originally settled on the natural levees or high ground along the Mississippi River. In fact, when the capital of French Louisiana was moved from Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, the French colonial government cited New Orleans' inland location as one of the reasons for the move as it would be less vulnerable to hurricanes.cite web|url=|title=What You Need to Know About Katrina-- and Don't-- Why It Makes Economic Sense to Protect and Rebuild New Orleans.|author=Barry, J.M.|accessdate=2007-12-11] After the Flood Control Act of 1965, the US Army Corps built floodwalls and man-made levees around a much larger geographic footprint that included previous marshland and swamp. Whether or not this human interference has caused subsidence is a topic of debate. A study by the Geological Society of America reportedOn the other hand, a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers claims that "New Orleans is subsiding (sinking)": [ The New Orleans Hurricane Protection System: What Went Wrong and Why.] Report by the American Society of Civil Engineers.] cquote|Large portions of Orleans, St. Bernard, and Jefferson parishes are currently below sea level — and continue to sink. New Orleans is built on thousands of feet of soft sand, silt, and clay. Subsidence, or settling of the ground surface, occurs naturally due to the consolidation and oxidation of organic soils (called “marsh” in New Orleans) and local groundwater pumping. In the past, flooding and deposition of sediments from the Mississippi River counterbalanced the natural subsidence, leaving southeast Louisiana at or above sea level. However, due to major flood control structures being built upstream on the Mississippi River and levees being built around New Orleans, fresh layers of sediment are not replenishing the ground lost by subsidence.

A recent study by Tulane and Xavier University notes that 51% of New Orleans is at or above sea level, with the more densely populated areas generally on higher ground. The average elevation of the city is currently between one and two feet (0.5 m) below sea level, with some portions of the city as high as convert|16|ft|m|0 at the base of the river levee in Uptown and others as low as convert|10|ft|m|0 below sea level in the farthest reaches of Eastern New Orleans. [Williams, L. [ Higher Ground - A study finds that New Orleans has plenty of real estate above sea level that is being underutilized.] "The Times Picayune", April 21, 2007.]

In 2005, storm surge from Hurricane Katrina caused catastrophic failure of the federally designed and built levees, flooding 80% of the city. [ [ New Orleans People, Pets Flee Flood (photographs).] From: National Geographic, August 30, 2005.] [ [ Floodwaters, tensions rise in New Orleans.] CNN, August 31, 2005.] A report by the American Society of Civil Engineers says that "had the levees and floodwalls not failed and had the pump stations operated, nearly two-thirds of the deaths would not have occurred".

New Orleans has always had to consider the risk of hurricanes, but the risks are dramatically greater today due to coastal erosion from human interference. Since the beginning of the 20th century it has been estimated that Louisiana has lost convert|2000|sqmi|km2|-3 of coast (including many of its barrier islands) which once protected New Orleans against storm surge. Following Hurricane Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers has instituted massive levee repair and hurricane protection measures to protect the city.

In 2006, Louisiana voters overwhelmingly adopted an amendment to the state's constitution to dedicate all revenues from off shore drilling to restore Louisiana's eroding coast line. [ [ President Bush signs OCS revenue sharing bill; Statement by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.] From:, December 20, 2006.] Congress has allocated $7 billion to bolster New Orleans' flood protection. [Walsh, B. [ Blanco, Nagin lobby for Louisiana aid.] "The Times Picayune", October 17, 2007.]

National protected areas

*Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge
*Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (part)
*New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park


Infobox Weather
location=New Orleans
Jan_Hi_°F =62 |Jan_REC_Hi_°F =
Feb_Hi_°F =65 |Feb_REC_Hi_°F =
Mar_Hi_°F =72 |Mar_REC_Hi_°F =
Apr_Hi_°F =78 |Apr_REC_Hi_°F =
May_Hi_°F =85 |May_REC_Hi_°F =
Jun_Hi_°F =89 |Jun_REC_Hi_°F =
Jul_Hi_°F =91 |Jul_REC_Hi_°F =
Aug_Hi_°F =91 |Aug_REC_Hi_°F =
Sep_Hi_°F =87 |Sep_REC_Hi_°F =
Oct_Hi_°F =80 |Oct_REC_Hi_°F =
Nov_Hi_°F =71 |Nov_REC_Hi_°F =
Dec_Hi_°F =65 |Dec_REC_Hi_°F =
Year_Hi_°F =78 |Year_REC_Hi_°F =
Jan_Lo_°F =43 |Jan_REC_Lo_°F =
Feb_Lo_°F =46 |Feb_REC_Lo_°F =
Mar_Lo_°F =53 |Mar_REC_Lo_°F =
Apr_Lo_°F =58 |Apr_REC_Lo_°F =
May_Lo_°F =66 |May_REC_Lo_°F =
Jun_Lo_°F =72 |Jun_REC_Lo_°F =
Jul_Lo_°F =74 |Jul_REC_Lo_°F =
Aug_Lo_°F =74 |Aug_REC_Lo_°F =
Sep_Lo_°F =71 |Sep_REC_Lo_°F =
Oct_Lo_°F =60 |Oct_REC_Lo_°F =
Nov_Lo_°F =52 |Nov_REC_Lo_°F =
Dec_Lo_°F =46 |Dec_REC_Lo_°F =
Year_Lo_°F =59 |Year_REC_Lo_°F =
Jan_Precip_inch =5.1
Feb_Precip_inch =5.5
Mar_Precip_inch =5.3
Apr_Precip_inch =4.8
May_Precip_inch =4.9
Jun_Precip_inch =5.6
Jul_Precip_inch =6.6
Aug_Precip_inch =5.9
Sep_Precip_inch =5.4
Oct_Precip_inch =2.8
Nov_Precip_inch =4.5
Dec_Precip_inch =5.3
Year_Precip_inch =61.6
source= [cite web|url=| New Orleans, Louisiana|accessdate=2008-09-16|]
accessdate = September 19, 2008

The climate of New Orleans is humid subtropical, with short, generally mild winters and hot, humid summers. In January, morning lows average around convert|43|F|C, and daily highs around convert|62|F|C. In July, lows average convert|74|F|C, and highs average convert|91|F|C. The lowest recorded temperature was convert|7|F|C on February 13, 1899. The highest recorded temperature was convert|102|F|C on August 22, 1980. The average precipitation is convert|64.2|in|mm annually; the summer months are the wettest, while October is the driest month. [cite web
title=Monthly Averages for New Orleans, LA
] Precipitation in winter usually accompanies the passing of a cold front.
Hurricanes pose a severe threat to the area, and the city is particularly vulnerable because of its low elevation. According the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the city is the most vulnerable in the country when it comes to hurricanes. [ [ Federal Emergency Management Agency] ] Since 1965, portions of New Orleans have been flooded by four different storms: Hurricane Betsy, Hurricane Georges, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. [ [ Rita's impact, city by city. Flooding and power outages plague Texas and Louisiana.] CNN, September 24, 2005.] [cite web
title=The Weather Channel's Special Report: Vulnerable Cities - New Orleans, LA
] The city has been identified as one of three cities in the United States most vulnerable to hurricanes, mostly due to it being surrounded by water from the north, east, and south, and Louisiana's sinking coast; the other two cities being Miami and New York City.cite book|last=Tidwell|first=Mike|title="The Ravaging Tide: Strange Weather, Future Katrinas, and the Coming Death of America's Coastal Cities|publisher=Free Press|date=2006|isbn=0-7432-9470-X]

New Orleans experiences snowfall only on rare occasions. A small amount of snow fell during the 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm. On December 25, a combination of rain, sleet, and snow fell on the city, leaving some bridges icy. Before that, the last white Christmas was in 1954 and brought convert|4.5|in|cm. The last significant snowfall in New Orleans fell on December 22, 1989, when most of the city received 1–2 inches (2–5 cm) of snow.


The Central Business District of New Orleans is located immediately north and west of the Mississippi River, and was historically called the "American Quarter" or "American Sector." Most streets in this area fan out from a central point in the city. Major streets of the area include Canal Street, Poydras Street, Tulane Avenue and Loyola Avenue. Canal Street functions as the street which divides the traditional "downtown" area from the "uptown" area.

Every street crossing Canal Street between the Mississippi River and Rampart Street, which is the northern edge of the French Quarter, has a different name for the "uptown" and "downtown" portions. For example, St. Charles Avenue, known for its street car line, is called Royal Street below Canal Street. Elsewhere in the city, Canal Street serves as the dividing point between the "South" and "North" portions of various streets. In the local "downtown" means "downriver from Canal Street" while "uptown" means "upriver from Canal Street". Downtown neighborhoods include the French Quarter, Tremé, the 7th Ward, Faubourg-Marigny, Bywater (the Upper Ninth Ward), and the Lower Ninth Ward. Uptown neighborhoods include the Warehouse District, the Lower Garden District, the Garden District, the Irish Channel, the University District, Carrollton, Gert Town, Fontainebleau, and Broadmoor. However, the Warehouse and Central Business Districts, despite being above Canal Street, are frequently called "Downtown" as a specific region, as in the Downtown Development District.

Other major districts within the city include Bayou St. John, Mid-City, Gentilly, Lakeview, Lakefront, New Orleans East, and Algiers.


New Orleans is world-famous for its abundance of unique architectural styles, as it reflects the city's historical roots and multicultural heritage. The city has seventeen historic landmark districts, administered by the New Orleans Historic District Landmarks Commission (HDLC). Many styles of housing exist in the city, including the shotgun house (originating from New Orleans) and the California bungalow style. Creole townhouses, notable for their large courtyards and intricate iron balconies, line the streets of the French Quarter. Throughout the city, there are many other historic housing styles: Creole cottages, American townhouses, double-gallery houses, and Raised Center-Hall Cottages. St. Charles Avenue is famed for its large Antebellum homes and its mansions in various styles such as Greek Revival, Colonial, and Victorian styles such as Queen Anne and Italianate. New Orleans is also noted for its large, European-style Catholic cemeteries, which can be found throughout the city.

For much of its history, New Orleans' skyline consisted of only low- and mid-rise structures. The soft soils of New Orleans are susceptible to subsidence, and there was doubt about the feasibility of constructing large high rises in such an environment The 1960s brought the World Trade Center New Orleans and Plaza Tower, which demonstrated that high rises could stand firm on New Orleans' soil. One Shell Square took its place as the city's tallest building in 1972. The oil boom of the early 1980s redefined New Orleans' skyline again with the development of the Poydras Street corridor. Today, New Orleans' high rises are clustered along Canal Street and Poydras Street in the Central Business District.

Culture and contemporary life


New Orleans has many major attractions, from the world-renowned French Quarter and Bourbon Street's notorious nightlife to St. Charles Avenue (home of Tulane and Loyola Universities, the historic Pontchartrain Hotel, and many 19th century mansions), to Magazine Street, with its many boutique stores and antique shops.

According to current travel guides, New Orleans is one of the top ten most visited cities in the United States - 10.1 million visitors came to New Orleans in 2004, and the city was on pace to break that level of visitation in 2005. [cite web|url=|title=Overseas visitors to select U.S. cities/Hawaiian Islands 2001 - 2000|author=U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Travel and Tourism Industries|accessdate=2007-11-12] cite web|url=|title=2006-07 Marketing Plan|author=Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism|accessdate=2008-03-22|format=PDF] Prior to Katrina there were 265 hotels with 38,338 rooms in the Greater New Orleans Area. In May 2007, there were over 140 hotels and motels in operation with over 31,000 rooms.cite web|url=|title=New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation|format=PDF]

A CNN poll released in October 2007 ranked New Orleans first in eight categories, behind only New York City, which ranked first in 15. According to the poll, New Orleans is the best U.S. city for live music, cocktail hours, flea markets, antique shopping, nightlife, "wild weekends," "girlfriend getaways," and cheap food. The city also ranked second for gay friendliness, overall food and dining, friendliness of residents, and people-watching, behind San Francisco, California, Chicago, Illinois, Charleston, South Carolina, and New York City, respectively. However, among the top 25 U.S. travel destinations as established by the poll, the city was voted last in terms of safety and cleanliness and near the bottom as a family vacation destination. [cite web|url=|title=Travel + Leisure says New Orleans is tops for live music, cocktails and cheap eats||date=2007-10-10]

The French Quarter (known locally as "the Quarter" or Vieux Carré), which dates from the French and Spanish eras and is bounded by the Mississippi River, Rampart Street, Canal Street, and Esplanade Avenue, contains many popular hotels, bars, and nightclubs. Notable tourist attractions in the Quarter include Bourbon Street, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market (including Café du Monde, famous for café au lait and beignets), and Preservation Hall. To tour the port, one can ride the "Natchez", an authentic steamboat with a calliope which cruises the Mississippi the length of the city twice daily. The city's many beautiful cemeteries and their distinct above-ground tombs are often attractions in themselves, the oldest and most famous of which, Saint Louis Cemetery, greatly resembles Père Lachaise in Paris.

Also located in the French Quarter is the old New Orleans Mint, a former branch of the United States Mint which now operates as a museum, and The Historic New Orleans Collection, a museum and research center housing art and artifacts relating to the history of New Orleans and the Gulf South. The National World War II Museum, opened in the Warehouse District in 2000 as the "National D-Day Museum,", is dedicated to providing information and materials related to the allied invasion of Normandy, France. Nearby Confederate Memorial Hall, the oldest continually operating museum in Louisiana (although under renovation since Katrina), contains the second-largest collection of Confederate memorabilia in the world. Art museums in the city include the Contemporary Arts Center, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) in City Park, and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

New Orleans also boasts a decidedly natural side. It is home to the Audubon Nature Institute (which consists of Audubon Park, the Audubon Zoo, the Aquarium of the Americas, and the Audubon Insectarium), as well as gardens that include Longue Vue House and Gardens and the New Orleans Botanical Garden. City Park, one of the country's most expansive and visited urban parks, has one of the largest (if not "the" largest) stands of oak trees in the world.

There are also various points of interest in the surrounding areas. Many wetlands are in close proximity to the city, including Honey Island Swamp. Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery, located just south of the city, is the site of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.

Entertainment and performing arts

The New Orleans area is home to numerous celebrations, the most popular of which is Mardi Gras. Carnival officially begins on the Feast of the Epiphany, which locals sometimes refer to as "Twelfth Night." The Carnival season is often known (especially by visitors) by the name of its last day, Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday"), which is held the Tuesday before the beginning of the Catholic liturgical season of Lent, which commences on Ash Wednesday.

The largest of the city's many music festivals is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Commonly referred to simply as "Jazz Fest", it is one of the largest music festivals in the nation, featuring crowds of people from all over the world coming to experience music, food, arts, and crafts. Despite the name, it features not only jazz but a large variety of music, including both native Louisiana music and internationally known music artists. Along with Jazz Fest, New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience (known as Voodoo Fest) and Essence Music Festival are both large music festivals featuring local and internationally known music artists.

Other major festivals held in the city include Southern Decadence, the French Quarter Festival, and the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival.

In 2002 Louisiana began offering tax incentives for film and television production. This led to a substantial increase in the number of films shot in the New Orleans area, warranting the nickname "Hollywood South." Before and since then, many films have been produced in and around New Orleans, such as "Ray", "Runaway Jury", "The Pelican Brief", "Glory Road", "All the King's Men", "Déjà Vu", "Last Holiday", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", and numerous others. A new movie studio complex is to be built in the Treme neighborhood. In 2007 Louisiana began to offer similar tax incentives for music and theatre productions, leading many to begin referring to New Orleans as "Broadway South." This will likely become an important aspect of the city and region's economy in the near future, further boosting the tourism industry. [cite web|url=|title=Blanco okays Broadway South tax credit program|accessdate=2007-03-23]

New Orleans has always been a significant center for music, showcasing its intertwined European, Latin American, and African cultures. New Orleans' unique musical heritage was born in its pre-American and early American days from a unique blending of European instruments with African rhythms. As the only North American city to allow slaves to gather in public and play their native music (largely in Congo Square, now located within Louis Armstrong Park), likely due to the more relaxed attitudes of French and Creole slave owners as compared to their Anglo-American counterparts, New Orleans gave birth to an indigenous music: jazz. Soon brass bands formed, gaining popular attraction that still holds today. The city's music was later significantly influenced by Acadiana, home of Cajun and Zydeco musics, and Delta blues.

New Orleans' unique musical culture is further evident in its funerals. A spin on the old tradition of military brass band funerals, traditional New Orleans funerals feature sad music (mostly dirges and hymns) on the way to the cemetery and happier music (hot jazz) on the way back. Such traditional musical funerals still take place when a local musician, a member of a club, krewe, or benevolent society, or a noted dignitary has passed. Until the 1990s most locals preferred to call these "funerals with music", but visitors to the city have long dubbed them "jazz funerals".

Much later in its musical development, New Orleans was home to a distinctive brand of rhythm and blues that contributed greatly to the growth of rock and roll. A great example of New Orleans' sound in the 1960s is the #1 US hit "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups, a song which had the distinction of knocking The Beatles out of the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. New Orleans became a hotbed for funk music in the 1960s and 70s, and by the late 1980s it had developed its own localized variant of hip hop called bounce music, which, while never commercially successful outside of the Deep South, remained immensely popular in the poorer neighborhoods of the city through the 1990s.

A cousin of bounce, New Orleans hip hop has seen commercial success locally and internationally, producing Lil Wayne, Master P, Birdman, Juvenile, Cash Money Records, and No Limit Records. Additionally, the wave of popularity of cowpunk, a fast form of southern rock, originated with the help of several local bands, such as The Radiators, Better Than Ezra, Cowboy Mouth, and Dash Rip Rock. Throughout the 1990s many sludge metal bands started in the area. New Orleans heavy metal bands like Eyehategod,cite web|url=|title=Eyehategod|author=Huey, Steve|work=Allmusic|accessdate=2008-06-22] Soilent Green,cite web|url=|title=Soilent Green|author=York, William|work=Allmusic|accessdate=2008-06-22] Crowbar,cite web|url=|title=Crowbar|author=Huey, Steve|work=Allmusic
] and Downcite web|url=|title=Down|author=Prato, Greg|work=Allmusic|accessdate=2008-06-22] have incorporated styles such as hardcore punk, doom metal, and southern rock to create an original and heady brew of swampy and aggravated metal that has largely avoided standardization.

New Orleans is the southern terminus of the famed Highway 61.


The major daily newspaper is the "The Times-Picayune", publishing since 1837. Weekly publications include "The Louisiana Weekly" and "Gambit Weekly". [ [ Gambit Weekly] ] Also in wide circulation is the "Clarion Herald", the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Greater New Orleans is the 54th largest Designated Market Area (DMA) in the U.S., serving 566,960 homes. [ [ Nielsen Reports 1.1% increase in U.S. Television Households for the 2006-2007 Season.] Nielson Media Research, August 23, 2006.] Major television network affiliates serving the area include:
*4 WWL (CBS)
*8 WVUE (Fox)
*12 WYES (PBS)
*20 WHNO (LeSEA)
*26 WGNO (ABC)
*32 WLAE (PBS)
*38 WNOL (The CW)
*42 KGLA (The TLMD)
*49 WPXL (ION)
*54 WUPL (My Network TV)

WWOZ [] , the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Station, broadcasts 24 hours per day of jazz, blues, Zydeco, and New Orleans music at 90.7 FM and at radio stations that were influential in promoting New Orleans-based bands and singers were 50,000-watt WNOE-AM (1060) and 10,000-watt WTIX-AM (690). These two stations competed head-to-head from the late 1950s to the late 1970s.

WTUL [] , local college radio station, broadcasts a wide array of programming,including classical music, reggae, jazz, showtunes, indie rock, electronic music, and even news programming from DemocracyNow. WTUL is listener supported and non-commercial. The disc jockeys are volunteers, many of them college students.

:"See also: List of radio stations in Louisiana (New Orleans area)"

Louisiana's film and television tax credits have spurred some growth in the television industry, although to a lesser degree than in the film industry. "K-Ville", a cop drama series set in post-Katrina New Orleans, aired on the Fox Network in 2007.


New Orleans is world-famous for its food. The indigenous cuisine is distinctive and influential. From centuries of amalgamation of local Creole, haute Creole, and New Orleans French cuisines, New Orleans food has developed. Local ingredients, French, Spanish, Italian, African, Native American, Cajun, and a hint of Cuban traditions combine to produce a truly unique and easily recognizable Louisiana flavor.

Unique specialties include beignets (locally pronounced like "ben-yays"), square-shaped fried pastries that could be called "French doughnuts" (served with coffee and chicory, known as "café au lait"); Po'boy and Italian Muffaletta sandwiches; Gulf oysters on the half-shell, fried oysters, boiled crawfish, and other seafood; étouffée, jambalaya, gumbo, and other Creole dishes; and the Monday favorite of red beans and rice (Louis Armstrong often signed his letters, "Red beans and ricely yours"). New Orleans residents enjoy some of the best restaurants in the United States that cater specifically to locals, and visitors are encouraged to try the local establishments recommended by their hosts. Another New Orleans specialty is the Praline (locally pronounced like "pra-lean", not "pray-lean") a delicious candy made with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, butter and pecans.


New Orleans has developed a distinctive local dialect over the years that is neither Cajun nor the stereotypical Southern accent so often misportrayed by film and television actors. It does, like earlier Southern Englishes, feature frequent deletion of the post-vocalic "r". This dialect is quite similar to New York "Brooklynese" to people unfamiliar with either. There are many theories to how it came to be, but it likely resulted from New Orleans' geographic isolation by water and the fact that the city was a major immigration port throughout the 19th century. As a result, many of the ethnic groups who reside in Brooklyn also reside in New Orleans, such as Irish, Italians (especially Sicilians), and Germans, among others, as well as a very sizeable Jewish community. [cite web|url=|title=Newcomers' Incentive Extension|publisher=Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans|accessdate=2008-03-22]

One of the strongest varieties of the New Orleans accent is sometimes identified as Yat, from the greeting "Where y'at?" This distinctive accent is dying out generation by generation in the city itself but remains very strong in the surrounding parishes.

Less visibly, various ethnic groups throughout the area have retained their distinctive language traditions to this day. Although rare, Kreyol Lwiziyen is still spoken by Creoles. Also rare, an archaic Louisiana-Canarian Spanish dialect is spoken by the Isleños people, but it can usually only be heard by older members of the population.


New Orleans' professional sports teams include the New Orleans Saints (NFL), the New Orleans Hornets (NBA), the New Orleans VooDoo (AFL), and the New Orleans Zephyrs (PCL). It is also home to the Big Easy Rollergirls, an all-female flat track roller derby team, and the New Orleans Blaze, a women's football team.cite web |url=|title=History of the New Orleans Blaze|accessdate=2008-09-27|publisher="New Orleans Blaze"|date=2008-04-03] cite web|last=Vargas|first=Ramon|url=|title=Big Easy Rollergirls deliver bruising derby action|accessdate=2008-09-27|publisher="New Orleans CityBusiness"|date=2007-05-04] A local group of investors began conducting a study in 2007 to see if the city could support a Major League Soccer team. [cite web|url=,0,6289823.story?coll=wgno-news-1|title=New Orleans and Major League Soccer?|publisher=ABC26 News|accessdate=2007-08-26]

The Louisiana Superdome is the home of the Saints, the Sugar Bowl, and other prominent events. The New Orleans Arena is the home of the Hornets and many events that aren't large enough to need the Superdome. New Orleans is also home to the Fair Grounds Race Course, the nation's third-oldest thoroughbred track. The city's Lakefront Arena has also been home to sporting events.

Each year New Orleans plays host to the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Bowl, and the Zurich Classic, a golf tournament on the PGA Tour. In addition it has often hosted major sporting events that have no permanent home, such as the Super Bowl, ArenaBowl, NBA All-Star Game, BCS National Championship Game, and the NCAA Final Four.


New Orleans is home to one of the largest and busiest ports in the world, accounts for a major portion of the nation's refinery and production of petroleum, has a top 50 research university (Tulane University) as well as half a dozen other institutions of higher education, and is renowned for its cultural tourism.

New Orleans is an industrial and distribution center. The Port of New Orleans is the 5th-largest port in the United States based on volume of cargo handled, second-largest in the state after the Port of South Louisiana, and 12th-largest in the U.S. based on value of cargo. The Port of South Louisiana, also based in the New Orleans area, is the world's busiest in terms of bulk tonnage, and, when combined with the Port of New Orleans, it forms the 4th-largest port system in volume handled.

Like Houston, Texas, New Orleans is located in proximity to the Gulf of Mexico, and the many oil rigs lie just offshore. Louisiana ranks fifth in oil production and eighth in reserves in the United States. It is also home to two of the four Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) storage facilities: West Hackberry in Cameron Parish and Bayou Choctaw in Iberville Parish. Other infrastructure includes 17 petroleum refineries with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of nearly convert|2.8|Moilbbl/d|m3/d, the second highest in the nation after Texas. Louisiana has numerous ports including the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is capable of receiving ultra large oil tankers. With all of the product to distribute, Louisiana is home to many major pipelines supplying the nation: Crude Oil (Exxon,Chevron, BP, Texaco, Shell, Scurloch-Permian, Mid-Valley, Calumet, Conoco, Koch, Unocal, Dept. of Energy, Locap), Product (TEPPCO, Colonial, Plantation, Explorer, Texaco, Collins), and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Dixie, TEPPCO, Black Lake, Koch, Chevron, Dynegy, Kinder, Dow, Bridgeline, FMP, Tejas, Texaco, UTP). [ [ Louisiana Quick Facts.] U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. Retrieved November 12, 2007.] There are a few energy companies that have their regional headquarters in the city, including Chevron and Shell Oil Company.

The city is the home and worldwide headquarters of a single Fortune 500 company: Entergy Corporation, an energy and infrastructure providing company. Freeport-McMoRan, the city's other Fortune 500 company, merged its copper and gold exploration unit with an Arizona company and relocated that division to Phoenix, Arizona. Other companies with a significant presence or base in New Orleans include AT&T, IBM, Navtech, Harrah's, Popeye's Fried Chicken, Zatarain's, Whitney Bank (Corp. HQ), Capital One (Banking HQ), Tidewater (Corp. HQ), and Energy Partners Ltd. (Corp. HQ).

Tourism is a major staple in the city's economy, a $5.5 billion industry that accounts for 40 percent of New Orleans' tax revenues. In 2004 tourism employed 85,000 people, making it New Orleans' top industry. The city also hosts the World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF). The forum, held annually at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, is directed toward promoting cultural and economic development opportunities through the strategic convening of cultural ambassadors and leaders from around the world. The first WCEF is scheduled to take place in October 2008. [cite web|url=|title=World Cultural Economic Forumn|accessdate=2008-07-15]

The federal government has a significant presence in the area. The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility is located in the eastern portion of Orleans Parish known as New Orleans East and is operated by Lockheed-Martin. It is a large manufacturing facility where external fuel tanks for space shuttles are produced, and it also houses the National Finance Center, operated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).


estref= [cite web|url=|title=Nagin urges census revision||accessdate=2008-03-22]
footnote=Historical Population Figures [cite web| url=| title=Population Of The 100 Largest Cities And Other Urban Places In The United States: 1790 To 1990| first=Campbell| last=Gibson| publisher=Population Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census| year=June 1998| accessdate=2006-05-02]
As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 484,674 people, 188,251 households, and 112,950 families residing in the city. The population density was convert|2684.3|PD/sqmi|PD/km². There were 215,091 housing units at an average density of convert|1191.3|PD/sqmi|PD/km². The racial makeup of the city was 67.25% African American, 28.05% White, 0.20% Native American, 2.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. 3.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The last population estimate before Hurricane Katrina was 454,865 as of July 1, 2005. [cite web
title=Population estimates by parish|publisher=US Census Bureau
] A population analysis released in August 2007 estimated the population to be 273,000, 60% of the pre-Katrina population and an increase of about 50,000 since July 2006. [cite web
title=Expert: N.O. population at 273,000.
] A September 2007 report by The Greater New Orleans Community Data Center, which tracks population based on U.S. Postal Service figures, found that in August 2007, just over 137,000 households received mail. That compares with about 198,000 households in July 2005, representing about 70% of pre-Katrina population. [cite web
title=Mail survey shows N.O. population at 69 percent of Pre-Katrina.

A 2006 study by researchers at Tulane University and the University of California, Berkeley determined that there are as many as 10,000 to 14,000 illegal immigrants, many from Mexico, currently residing in New Orleans.cite web
title=Study Sees Increase in Illegal Hispanic Workers in New Orleans
] Janet Murguia, president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza, stated that there could be up to 120,000 Hispanic workers in New Orleans. In June 2007, one study stated that the Hispanic population had risen from 15,000 pre-Katrina to over 50,000. [Moreno Gonzales, J. [,,-6752697,00.html Katrina Brought a Wave of Hispanics.] "Guardian Unlimited", July 2, 2007.]

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has stated that some public housing developments, which were originally going to be torn down, are going to be re-opened temporarily; the public housing developments will be redeveloped in phases. On March 21, 2007, the House of Representatives passed a bill blocking any demolition of housing developments until HUD shows solid plans for redevelopment, informing HUD that they must contact all former developments on August 1, 2007 and that the buildings must be livable by October 2007. The House's measure must be approved by the United States Senate. [USBill|110|HR|1227] Developers who take advantage of federal tax credits to build other low income and affordable housing, along with residents' continued receipt of federal grant money, should help residents to return to the region.


New Orleans is notably absent from the Protestant Bible Belt that dominates religion in the Southern United States. In New Orleans and the surrounding Gulf Coast area, the predominant religion is Catholicism. Within the Archdiocese of New Orleans (which includes not only the city but the surrounding Parishes as well), 35.9% percent of the population is Roman Catholic. [cite web
title=New Orleans (Archdiocese) [Catholic-Hierarchy]
] The influence of Catholicism is reflected in many of the city's French and Spanish cultural traditions, including its many parochial schools, street names, architecture, and festivals, including Mardi Gras.

New Orleans also famously has a presence of its distinctive variety of Voodoo, due in part to syncretism with Roman Catholic beliefs, the fame of voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau, and New Orleans' distinctly Caribbean cultural influences. [New Orleans, "now under the flag of the United States, is still very much a Caribbean city...." cite web
title=The Pearl of the Antilles and the Crescent City: Historic Maps of the Caribbean in the Latin American Library Map Collections
work=Latin American Library, Tulane University
] [New Orleans is described as "a Caribbean city, an exuberant, semi-tropical city, perhaps the most hedonistic city in the United States". cite web
title=Apple's America
author=R.W. Apple, Jr.
format=quoted on
] New Orleans "is often called the northernmost Caribbean city". cite news
first=John R.
title=When the painter met the Creoles
work=Boston Globe
] Although the exotic image of Voodoo within the city has been highly promoted by the tourism industry, there are only a small number of serious adherents to the religion.

New Orleans' pre-Katrina population of 10,000 Jews has dropped to 7,000. In the wake of Katrina, all New Orleans synagogues lost members, but were able to re-open in their original locations, except Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest and most prominent Orthodox synagogue in the New Orleans region. Beth Israel's building in Lakeview was destroyed by flooding, and it is currently in temporary quarters in Metairie.Smason, Alan. [ "Hurricane Katrina: 2nd anniversary no homecoming"] , "Cleveland Jewish News", August 24, 2007.]


Hurricane Katrina

By the time Hurricane Katrina approached the city at the end of August 2005, most residents had evacuated. As the hurricane passed through the Gulf Coast region, the city's federal flood protection system failed, resulting in the worst civil engineering disaster in American history. [cite news
title=17th Street Canal levee was doomed
] Floodwalls and levees constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed below design specifications and 80% of the city flooded. Tens of thousands of residents who had remained in the city were rescued or otherwise made their way to shelters of last resort at the Louisiana Superdome or the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. Over 1,500 people died in Louisiana and some are still unaccounted for. [cite web|url=|title=Deaths of evacuees push toll to 1,577||accessdate=2008-03-22] Hurricane Katrina called for the first mandatory evacuation in the city's history.

Hurricane Rita

The city was declared off-limits to residents while efforts to clean up after Katrina began. The approach of Hurricane Rita in September 2005 caused repopulation efforts to be postponed, [cite web| url=| title=Mayor: Parts of New Orleans to reopen| date=September 15 2005|| accessdate=2006-05-02] and the Lower Ninth Ward was reflooded by Rita's storm surge.

Post-disaster recovery

The Census Bureau in July 2006 estimated the population of New Orleans to be 223,000; a subsequent study estimated that 32,000 additional residents had moved to the city as of March 2007, bringing the estimated population to 255,000, approximately 56% of the pre-Katrina population level. Another estimate, based on data on utility usage from July 2007, estimated the population to be approximately 274,000, or 60% of the pre-Katrina population. These estimates are somewhat smaller than a third estimate, based on mail delivery records, from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center in June 2007, which indicated that the city had regained approximately two-thirds of its pre-Katrina population. [ [ "N.O. head count gains steam"] , "Times-Picayune", August 9, 2007. Retrieved August 14, 2007.]

Several major tourist events and other forms of revenue for the city have returned. Large conventions are being held again, such as those held by the American Library Association and American College of Cardiology. [cite web|url=|title=New Orleans Braces for Convention Comeback|accessdate=2008-03-23] [cite web|url=|title=New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau|accessdate=2008-03-23] College football events such as the Bayou Classic, New Orleans Bowl, and Sugar Bowl returned for the 2006-2007 season. The New Orleans Saints returned that season as well, following speculation of a move. The New Orleans Hornets returned to the city fully for the 2007-2008 season, having partially spent the 2006-2007 season in Oklahoma City. New Orleans successfully hosted the 2008 NBA All-Star Game and the 2008 BCS National Championship Game. The city also hosted the first and second rounds of the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament.

Major events such as Mardi Gras and the Jazz and Heritage Festival were never displaced or cancelled.

Hurricane Gustav

At the end of August 2008, the second mandatory evacuation in the city's history was declared as Hurricane Gustav threatened the Louisiana coast. An estimated 2 million people fled inland from New Orleans and cities to the south along the Gulf. Residents were allowed to return on September 3 and 4. Most of the massive damage from Hurricane Gustav took place in the Baton Rouge region.


New Orleans has a mayor-council government. The city council consists of five council members who are elected by district and two at-large councilmembers. Mayor Ray Nagin was elected in May 2002 and was reelected in the mayoral election of May 20, 2006.

The Orleans Parish Civil Sheriff's Office serves papers involving lawsuits and provides security for the Civil District Court and Juvenile Courts. The [ Criminal Sheriff] , Marlin Gusman, maintains the parish prison system, provides security for the Criminal District Court, and provides backup for the New Orleans Police Department on an as-needed basis.

The city of New Orleans and the parish of Orleans operate as a merged city-parish government.GR|6 Before the city of New Orleans became co-extensive with Orleans Parish, Orleans Parish was home to numerous smaller communities. The original city of New Orleans was composed of what are now the 1st through 9th wards. The city of Lafayette (including the Garden District) was added in 1852 as the 10th and 11th wards. In 1870, Jefferson City, including Faubourg Bouligny and much of the Audubon and University areas, was annexed as the 12th, 13th, and 14th wards. Algiers, on the west bank of the Mississippi, was also annexed in 1870, becoming the 15th ward. Four years later, Orleans Parish became coextensive with the city of New Orleans when the city of Carrollton was annexed as the 16th and 17th wards.

New Orleans' government is now largely centralized in the city council and mayor's office, but it maintains a number of relics from earlier systems when various sections of the city ran much of their affairs separately. For example, New Orleans has seven elected tax assessors, each with their own staff, representing various districts of the city, rather than one centralized office. A constitutional amendment passed on November 7, 2006, will consolidate the seven assessors into one by 2010.


New Orleans's violent crime rate is high compared with other cities in the United States. Homicides peaked at 421 in 1994, a rate of 86 per 100,000 residents. [cite news
title=New Orleans murder rate on the rise again

The homicide rate rose and fell year to year throughout the late 1990s, but the overall trend from 1994 to 1999 was a steady reduction in homicides.

From 1999 to 2004, the homicide rate again increased. New Orleans had the highest homicide rate of any major American city in 2002 (53.3 per 100,000 people) and again in 2003 (275 homicides). It should be stated that the number of homicides has decreased since 1994 - the number of homicides in 2004 was about 275, cutting the 1994 count by one-third.

Violent crime is a serious problem for New Orleans residents, but far less of a problem for tourists. As in other U.S. cities of comparable size, the incidence of homicide and other violent crimes is highly concentrated in certain low-income neighborhoods, such as housing projects, that are sites of open-air drug trade.Ritea S. and T. Young. [ Violence thrives on lack of jobs, wealth of drugs.] "The Times Picayune", February 8, 2004. [ .pdf version] ] The homicide rate for the entire New Orleans metropolitan area was 24.4 per 100,000 in 2002. [ FBI: Crime in the United States, 2002] ]

After Hurricane Katrina, media attention focused on the reduced violent crime rate following the exodus of many New Orleanians. Conversely, a number of cities that took in Katrina evacuees had a significant increase in their murder rate. [ [ After Katrina, New Orleans Crime Moves to Other Cities.] ABC News, November 16, 2005.] Houston, for example, had a 25% [ Houston ties murder increase to Katrina.] AP via, October 21, 2006.] increase in murders from the previous year. Captain Dwayne Ready stated, "We also recognize that Katrina evacuees continue to have an impact on the murder rate." Police have not kept records of how evacuees have affected crime rates other than homicide. As more residents return to New Orleans, the trend is starting to reverse itself, although calculating the homicide rate remains difficult given that no authoritative source can cite a total population figure.Nossiter, A. [ As Life Returns to New Orleans, So Does Crime] "The New York Times", March 30 2006]

There were 22 homicides in July 2006, the same as the monthly average for the city from 2002 until Hurricane Katrina. [Drew, C. [ Drug Problems Escalate After Hurricane Katrina.] "The New York Times", August 5, 2006.] There were 161 homicides in 2006. [Nossiter, A. and C. Drew. [ In New Orleans, Dysfunction Fuels Cycle of Killing.] "The New York Times", February 5, 2007.]

On Thursday, January 11, 2007, several thousand New Orleans residents marched through city streets and gathered at City Hall for a rally demanding police and city leaders tackle the crime problem. Mayor Ray Nagin said he was "totally and solely focused" on addressing the problem. The city of New Orleans implemented checkpoints starting in early January 2007 from the hours of 2 a.m and 6 a.m. in high-crime areas, and, as of January 20, 2007, they had made over 60 arrests and issued more than 100 citations.

Although the city has lost more than 40% of its pre-Katrina population, the city has recaptured an infamous unwanted title as the nation's "murder capital", according to the FBI. [McCarthy, B. [ N.O. is murder capital for 2006.] "The Times Picayune", June 5, 2007.] By November 2007, local media reports claimed homicides had already eclipsed the previous year's numbers. [cite web |url= |title=Statistics show city more violent than once thought |accessdate=2007-11-22 |last=Moore |first=Katie |coauthors= |date=November 15, 2007 |work= |publisher=WWLTV] The city recorded a total of 209 homicides in 2007.



New Orleans Public Schools is the city's school district and one of the area's largest (along with the Jefferson Parish School District). It is widely recognized as the lowest performing school district in Louisiana. According to researchers Carl L. Bankston and Stephen J. Caldas, 12 of the 103 schools in New Orleans showed reasonably good performance at the beginning of the twenty-first century. [cite web| url= | title=A Troubled Dream: The Promise and Failure of School Desegregation in Louisiana| first=Carl L.| last=Bankston III| year=2002| publisher=Vanderbilt University] Following Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana took over most of the schools within the system (all schools that fell into a nominal "worst-performing" metric); about 20 new charter schools have been started since the storm, educating 15,000.

The Greater New Orleans area has approximately 200 parochial schools, with the vast majority being run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans. The prevalence of very good parochial schools has been both a cause and a consequence of the troubles in the public schools. Because so many middle class students have been enrolled in non-public schools, middle class support for public education has been relatively weak. At the same time, the apparent low quality of public schools in New Orleans has encouraged middle class families to educate their children in private or parochial schools. This has contributed to major underfunding of the public school system.

Colleges and universities

A large number of institutions of higher education exist within the city, including Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans, the city's major private universities. The University of New Orleans is a large public research university in the city. Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, and Xavier University of Louisiana are among some of the leading historically black colleges and universities in the United States (Xavier is the only predominantly black Catholic university in the US). Louisiana State University Medical School is the state's flagship public university medical school which also conducts research. Our Lady of Holy Cross College, Notre Dame Seminary, and the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary are several smaller religiously affiliated universities. Other notable schools include Delgado Community College, the William Carey College School of Nursing, the Culinary Institute of New Orleans, Herzing College, and Commonwealth University.


There are numerous academic and public libraries and archives in New Orleans, including Monroe Library at Loyola University, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University, [cite web
title=Howard-Tilton Memorial Library
] the Law Library of Louisiana, [cite web
title=Law Library of Louisiana
work=Louisiana Supreme Court
] and Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans. [cite web
title=Earl K. Long Library
work=University of New Orleans

The New Orleans Public Library includes 13 locations, most of which were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. However, only four libraries remained closed in 2007. [cite web
title=NOPL Branches
work=Hubbell Library
] The main library includes a Louisiana Division housing city archives and special collections. [cite web
title=Louisiana Division, City Archives and Special Collections
work=New Orleans Public Library

Other research archives are located at the Historic New Orleans Collection [cite web
title=Williams Research Center
work=Historic New Orleans Collection
] and the Old U.S. Mint. [cite web
title=Old US Mint
work=Louisiana State Museum

An independently operated lending library called Iron Rail Book Collective specializes in radical and hard-to-find books. The library contains over 8,000 titles and is open to the public. It was the first library in the city to re-open after Hurricane Katrina.



New Orleans has three active streetcar lines. The St. Charles line is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in America, and each car is a historic landmark. The Riverfront line runs parallel to the river from Esplanade Street through the French Quarter to Canal Street to the Convention Center above Julia Street in the Arts District. The Canal Street line uses the Riverfront line tracks from the intersection of Canal Street and Poydras Street, down Canal Street, then branches off and ends at the cemeteries at City Park Avenue with a spur running from the intersection of Canal and Carrollton Avenue to the entrance of City Park at Esplanade near the entrance to the New Orleans Museum of Art.

The city's streetcars were also featured in the Tennessee Williams play, "A Streetcar Named Desire". The streetcar line to Desire Street became a bus line in 1948. There are proposals to revive a Desire streetcar line, running along the neutral grounds of North Rampart and St. Claude, as far downriver as Poland Avenue, near the Industrial Canal.

Hurricane Katrina destroyed the power lines supplying the St. Charles Avenue line. The associated levee failures flooded the Mid-City facility storing the red streetcars which normally run on the Riverfront and Canal Street lines. Restoration of service has been gradual, with vintage St. Charles line cars running on the Riverfront and Canal lines until the more modern red cars are back in service; they are being individually restored at the RTA's facility in the Carrollton neighborhood. On December 23, 2007, streetcars were restored to running on the St. Charles line up to Carrolton Avenue. The much-anticipated re-opening of the second portion of the historic route, which continues until the intersection of Carrolton Avenue and Claiborne Avenue, was commemorated on June 28, 2008. [ [ New Orleans Regional Transit Authority : ] ]


Public transportation in the city is operated by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority ("RTA"). There are many bus routes connecting the city and suburban areas. The RTA lost 200+ buses due to Hurricane Katrina,this would mean that there would be a 30-60 minute waiting period for the next bus to come to the bus stop, and the streetcars took until 2008 to return, so the RTA placed an order for 38 Orion VII Next Generation clean diesel buses, which arrived in July of 2008. The RTA has these new buses running on biodiesel. The Jefferson Parish Department of Transit Administration [ [ Department of Transit Administration.] The Parish of Jefferson. Retrieved November 12, 2007.] operates Jefferson Transit which provides service between the city and its suburbs. [ [ Jefferson Transit] ]


New Orleans proper is served by interstate highways, Interstate 10, Interstate 610 and Interstate 510. I-10 travels east-west through the city as the Pontchartrain Expressway. In the far eastern part of the city, New Orleans East, it is known as the Eastern Expressway. I-610 provides a direct shortcut for traffic passing through New Orleans via I-10, allowing that traffic to bypass I-10's southward curve. In the future, New Orleans will have another interstate highway, Interstate 49, which will be extended from its current terminus in Lafayette to the city.

In addition to Interstate Highways, U.S. 90 travels through the city while U.S. 61 terminates in the city's downtown center. In addition, U.S. 11 terminates in the eastern portion of the city.

New Orleans is home to many bridges, The tolled Crescent City Connection is perhaps the most notable. It serves as New Orleans' major bridge across the Mississippi River, providing a connection between the city's downtown on the eastbank and its westbank suburbs. Other bridges that cross the Mississippi River in the New Orleans area are the Huey P. Long Bridge, over which U.S. 90 travels, and the Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge, which carries Interstate 310.

The Twin Span, a five-mile (8 km) causeway in eastern New Orleans carries I-10 across Lake Pontchartrain. Also in eastern New Orleans, Interstate 510/LA 47 travels across the Intracoastal Waterway/Mississippi River Gulf Outlet via the Paris Road Bridge, connecting New Orleans East and suburban Chalmette.

The tolled Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, consisting of two parallel bridges, are, at convert|24|mi|km|0 in length, the longest bridges in the world. Built in the 1950s (southbound span) and 1960s (northbound span), the bridges connect New Orleans with its suburbs on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain via Metairie.


The metropolitan area is served by Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, located in the suburb of Kenner. New Orleans also has several regional airports located throughout the metropolitan area. These include the Lakefront Airport, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans (locally known as Callendar Field) in the suburb of Belle Chasse and "Southern Seaplane," also located in Belle Chasse. Southern Seaplane has a convert|3200|ft|m|-1|sing=on runway for wheeled planes and a convert|5000|ft|m|-2|sing=on water runway for seaplanes. New Orleans' airport suffered some damage as a result of Hurricane Katrina, but as of April 2007 it contained the most traffic and is the busiest airport in the state of Louisiana, and it is the sixth busiest in the Southeast.


The city is served by rail via Amtrak. The New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal is the central rail depot, and is served by three trains: the "Crescent," operating between New Orleans and New York City; the "City of New Orleans," operating between New Orleans and Chicago; and the "Sunset Limited", operating through New Orleans between Orlando, Florida, and Los Angeles, California. From late August 2005 to the present, the Sunset Limited has remained officially a Florida-to-Los Angeles train, being considered temporarily truncated due to the lingering effects of Hurricane Katrina. At first (until late October 2005) it was truncated to a San Antonio-to-Los Angeles service; since then (from late October 2005 on) it has been truncated to a New Orleans-to-Los Angeles service. As time has passed, particularly since the January 2006 completion of the rebuilding of damaged tracks east of New Orleans by their owner CSX Transportation Inc., the obstacles to restoration of the Sunset Limited's full route have been more managerial and political than physical.

With the strategic benefits of both a major international port and one of the few double-track Mississippi River crossings, the city is served by six of the seven Class I freight railroads in North America: Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, Kansas City Southern, CSX, and Canadian National Railway. The New Orleans Public Belt provides interchange services between the railroads.

Recently, many have proposed extending New Orleans's public transit system by adding light rail routes from downtown along Airline Highway through the airport to Baton Rouge and from downtown to Slidell and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Proponents of this idea claim that these new routes would boost the region's economy, which has been badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and serve as an evacuation option for hospital patients out of the city. [cite web|url=|title=Consultant Studies New Orleans Rail Project--Moves Back into Area Office After Hurricane|accessdate=2008-03-22]

Algiers Ferry

The Canal Street Ferry connects the heart of New Orleans with the neighborhood of Algiers Point on the other side of the Mississippi River. This service has been in continuous operation since 1827. Pedestrians ride for free while automobiles are charged a fee. Service is from 6 am until midnight.

ister cities

New Orleans has eleven sister cities: [Sister Cities designated by [ Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI)] . Retrieved March 22, 2008.]

*flagicon|Venezuela Caracas, Venezuela
*flagicon|South Africa Durban, South Africacite news |first=David|last=Hammer|title=Marconi Meadows is fertile ground to replant a festival that celebrates diversity|url=|publisher=The Times-Picayune|date=2007-09-16|accessdate=2008-09-25]
*flagicon|Australia Holdfast Bay, Australia
*flagicon|Austria Innsbruck, Austria
*flagicon|France Juan-les-Pins, France
*flagicon|Venezuela Maracaibo, Venezuela
*flagicon|Japan Matsue, Japan
*flagicon|Mexico Mérida, México
*flagicon|Republic of the Congo Pointe Noire, Republic of the Congo
*flagicon|Argentina San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina
*flagicon|Honduras Tegucigalpa, Honduras


The city's several nicknames are illustrative:
*"Crescent City" alludes to the course of the Mississippi River around and through the city.
*"The Big Easy" was possibly a reference by musicians in the early 20th century to the relative ease of finding work there. It also may have originated in the Prohibition era when the city was considered one big speak-easy due to the inability of the federal government to control alcohol sales in open violation of the 18th Amendment. The term was used by local columnist Betty Gillaud in the 1970s to contrast life in the city to that of New York City. [ Origins of New Orleans Words and Traditions] . New Orleans Public Library, Louisiana Division. Retrieved February 18 2007] The name also refers to New Orleans' status as a major city, and at one time "one of the cheapest places in America to live" and came into popular usage throughout the United States in the wake of the 1987 film "The Big Easy", which was set in New Orleans. [ [ The Big Easy.] From: The Phrase Finder. Retrieved November 12, 2007.]
*"The City that Care Forgot" was given by American writer Mark Twain, and refers to the outwardly easy-going, carefree nature of many of the residents.
*"America's Most Interesting City" appears on welcome signs at the city limits.
*"Hollywood South" is a reference to the large number of films, big and small, shot in the city since 2002.
*"The Northernmost Caribbean City" is a reference from the "Boston Globe" as well as other travel guides due in part to the similarities of culture with the Caribbean islands.

ee also

* "Hurricane on the Bayou" (film)
* Joy N. Houck, Jr.
* List of New Orleanians
* New Orleans in Fiction, Film, Television, etc.
* New Orleans Mint
* New Orleans Police Department
* Orléans, France
* Reconstruction of New Orleans
* USS "Orleans Parish" (LST-1069)


External links

* [,21580.0.html Live Scanner Feeds Online- Emergency Evacuation Efforts Streaming]
* [ Official Website of the City of New Orleans]
* [ Official Tourism Website of the City of New Orleans]
* [ New Orleans PodCasting - Listen to the voices that are rebuilding New Orleans]
* [ New Orleans travel guide] by Wikitravel
* [ New Orleans Collection,1770-1904] New-York Historical Society
* [ History of New Orleans]
* [ A sampling of New Orleans music] including jazz, R&B, rock and roll, funk, and brass band
* [ New Orleans Cemeteries aka "The Cities of the Dead"]
* [ Army Corps of Engineers interactive map showing flood risk]
* [ Who’s Killing New Orleans?] - "City Journal"

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