N E W O R L E A N S
New Orleans is a city in southern Louisiana, located on the Mississippi River. Most of the city is situated on the east bank, between the river and Lake Pontchartrain to the north. Because it was built on a great turn of the river, it is known as the Crescent City. New Orleans, with a population of 496,938 (1990 census), is the largest city in Louisiana and one of the principal cities of the South. It was established on the high ground nearest the mouth of the Mississippi, which is 177 km (110 mi) downstream. Elevations range from 3.65 m (12 ft) above sea level to 2 m (6.5 ft) below; as a result, an ingenious system of water pumps, drainage canals, and levees has been built to protect the city from flooding. The city covers a land area of 518 sq km (200 sq mi). New Orleans experiences mild winters and hot, humid summers. Temperatures in January average 13 deg C (55 deg F), and in July they average 28 deg C (82 deg F). Annual rainfall is 1,448 mm (57 in).
C O N T E M P O R A R Y C I T Y
The population of New Orleans, including Anglos, French, Blacks, Italians, Irish,Spanish, and Cubans, reflects its cosmopolitan past. The CAJUNS, or Acadians,are descendants of French emigres expelled from Nova Scotia (or Acadia) during the 18th century. They speak their own French dialect. The port is one of the world's largest and ranks first in the United States in tonnage handled. Major exports are petroleum products, grain, cotton, paper, machinery, and iron and steel. The city's economy is dominated by the petrochemical, aluminum, and foodprocessing industries and by tourism.
The most important annual tourist event is MARDI GRAS, which is celebrated for a week before the start of Lent. The Superdome, an enclosed sports stadium, attracts major sporting events and is an element in achieving the city's position as a leading convention center. One of the legacies of the six-month-long 1984 World's Fair, held in New Orleans, is a new convention center. New Orleans is noted for its fine restaurants, for its Dixieland jazz, and for its numerous cultural and educational facilities. TULANE (1829), Dillard (1869), and Loyola(1849) universities are major institutions of higher learning. The French Quarter, or Vieux Carre (French for "old square"), is the site of the original city and contains many of the historic and architecturally significant buildings for which New Orleans is famous.
H I S T O R Y
New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, sieur de Bienville, and named for the regent of France, Philippe II, duc d'Orleans. It remained a French colony until 1763, when it was transferred to the Spanish. In 1800, Spain ceded it back to France; in 1803, New Orleans, along with the entire Louisiana Purchase, was sold by Napoleon I to the United States. It was the site of the Battle of New Orleans (1815) in the War of 1812. During the Civil War the city was besieged by Union ships under Adm. David Farragut; it fell on Apr. 25, 1862.
Gateway! New Orleans is a Registered Trademark™