New Orleans, Louisiana

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"The Big Easy" redirects here. For the movie, see The Big Easy (1987 film).
City of New Orleans
Image:New Orleans, Louisiana flag.svg
Image:NO city seal.gif
Flag Seal
Nickname: ""The Crescent City", "The Big Easy", "The City That Care Forgot", "NOLA" (acronym for New Orleans, LA)"
Location in the State of Louisiana and the United States
Coordinates: 29°57′53″N, 90°4′14″W
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Orleans
Founded 1718
Mayor Ray Nagin (D)
 - City 350.2 mi² / 907 km²
 - Land 180.6 mi² / 467.6 km²
 - Water 169.7 mi² / 439.4 km²
Elevation -2 to 6 m
 - City (2005) 454,863
 - Density 2518 per mi² / 973/km²
 - Metro 1,319,367
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)

New Orleans (pronounced New OR-linz in American English; French La Nouvelle-Orléans, pronounced in standard accent Image:Ltspkr.png /la nuvɛl ɔʀleɑ̃/; Spanish Nueva Orleans) is a major United States port city and historically the largest city in the U.S. state of Louisiana.

New Orleans is in southeastern Louisiana along the Mississippi River, just south of Lake Pontchartrain, and is coextensive with Orleans Parish. It is named after Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. New Orleans is known for its multicultural heritage as well as its music and cuisine. It is considered the birthplace of jazz.<ref name="pbsjazz">Template:Cite web </ref><ref name="usinfo">Template:Cite web</ref>

Its status as a world-famous tourist destination is due in part to its architecture and its annual Mardi Gras and other celebrations. It has been called the "most unique city in America"<ref></ref><ref></ref><ref></ref><ref></ref><ref></ref><ref></ref><ref></ref>.

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 1900s to the relative ease of finding work there, but most New Orleanians attribute the term to the city being more carefree and slowed down than cities like New York (the Big Apple)
  • The City that Care Forgot refers to the outwardly easy-going, carefree nature of many of the residents.
  • America's Most Interesting City

The Greater New Orleans population was approximately 1.4 million people prior to Hurricane Katrina. Within the city limits of New Orleans itself, the population was 484,674 people (according to the 2000 U.S. census). Since Hurricane Katrina, the population within the city limits of New Orleans itself has been estimated to be between 187,525 and 287,000. For more information, see the section on Demographics below.


[edit] Hurricanes Katrina and Rita

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. Hurricane Betsy in 1965 had 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.

By the time Hurricane Katrina approached the city at the end of August 2005, most residents had evacuated. Storm surge pushed ashore by the hurricane caused the city to suffer the worst civil engineering disaster in American history.<ref>Marshall, Bob. "17th Street Canal levee was doomed", Times-Picayune, 2005-11-30. Retrieved on 2006-03-12.</ref> Floodwalls constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed, and 80% of the city flooded. Tens of thousands of remaining residents were rescued by helicopter or otherwise made their way to shelters of last resort at the Superdome or the convention center. Over 1,500 people died.

The city was declared off-limits to residents while clean-up efforts began. The approach of Hurricane Rita caused repopulation efforts to be postponed,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and the Lower Ninth Ward was reflooded by Rita's storm surge. By October 1, parts of the city accounting for about one-third of the population of New Orleans had been reopened.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

As of November 2006, efforts continue to clean up debris and restore infrastructure. The city is completely reopened to residents, and areas that suffered moderate damage have substantially resumed functioning. Parts of the city most severely damaged still have irregular city services; as residents return to the devastated areas, city services are being restored accordingly. The Lower Ninth Ward which recieved a large amount of flooding and damage, has seen most city services return despite the low return of residents.

See also: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and Drainage in New Orleans

[edit] New Orleans Revival

Despite the number of houses being damaged while residents wait for Louisiana Recovery Authority road home money New Orleans is in for a revival. The Bayou Classic, the traditional game between Southern University vs Grambling University, has made a commitment to the city of New Orleans for November 2006 after being displaced to Houston, Texas for its November 2005 date. The Essence Music Festival has made a commitment to city of New Orleans in July of 2007 after being displaced to Houston, Texas for July 2006 along with other major events such as Mardi Gras and Jazz Festival which never left. The National Football League has made a commitment to the city of New Orleans with the return of the New Orleans Saints for the 2006-2007 season and even a possible 2011 or 2012 Super Bowl. The National Basketball Association has made a commitment to the city of New Orleans with the return of the New Orleans Hornets part time in 2006-2007 (one game per month) and full time for the 2007-2008 season and even granting New Orleans the 2008 NBA All Star game which generates millions of dollars for host cities. With residents slowly but surely returning to the city of New Orleans and the greater New Orleans area the long term future of New Orleans looks promising.

[edit] Geography and climate

Image:New Orleans Levee System.gif
Vertical cross-section of New Orleans, showing maximum levee height of 23 feet (7 m).
Image:Landsat new orleans nfl.jpg
A true-color satellite image of New Orleans taken on NASA's Landsat 7

New Orleans is located at 29°57′53″N, 90°4′14″W (29.964722, -90.070556)GR1 on the banks of the Mississippi River, approximately 100 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 907 km² (350.2 mi²). 467.6 km² (180.6 mi²) of it is land and 439.4 km² (169.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 48.45% water.

The city is located in the Mississippi Plain, mostly between the Mississippi River in the south and Lake Pontchartrain in the north. The area along the river is characterized by ridges and hollows. Fields atop the ridges along the river are referred to as the "frontlands." The land contour slopes away from the frontlands to the "backlands", comprised of clay and silt.[citation needed]

The city of New Orleans has the lowest elevation in the state of Louisiana, and the third lowest point in the United States, after Death Valley and the Salton Sea.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Much of the city is one to ten feet (0.3 to 3 m) below sea level. Areas above sea level are primarily adjacent to the Mississippi River. These were the areas developed before 1900. Rainwater is pumped into Lake Pontchartrain via a series of canals lined by levees, dikes, and floodwalls. Because of the city's high water table, most houses do not have basements. In the cemeteries, most crypts are above ground. The city has considered passing a building code that would require all new residences being constructed on negatively elevated ground to have a garage and storage level on the first floor to protect people's living spaces from floodwaters.

[edit] Cityscape

New Orleans' skyline seen from Tulane University located Uptown in Oct. of 2006
Image:IMG 7317 4.jpg
New Orleans' skyline seen from above the Industrial Canal
See also: Wards of New Orleans and New Orleans neighborhoods

The Central Business District of New Orleans is located immediately north and west of the Mississippi River, and was historically called the "American Quarter." Most streets in this area fan out from a central point in the city. Major streets of the area include Canal Street and Poydras Street. In the local parlance "downtown" means downriver from Canal Street, while "uptown" means upriver from Canal Street. Downtown neighborhoods include the French Quarter, Treme, the 7th Ward, Faubourg-Marigny, Bywater (the Upper Ninth Ward), and the Lower Ninth Ward. Uptown neighborhoods include the Garden District, the Irish Channel, the University District, Carrollton, Gert Town, Fontainebleau, and Broadmoor.

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

Parishes located adjacent to the city include St. Tammany Parish to the north, St. Bernard Parish to the south and east, Plaquemines Parish to the south and southeast, and Jefferson Parish to the south and west.

[edit] Climate

Image:Average Monthly Temperatures -- NO, BR, HOUS.jpg
The average monthly temperatures in New Orleans are similar to those in Houston, TX and Baton Rouge, LA

The climate of New Orleans is humid subtropical, with short, generally mild winters and hot, humid summers. In January, morning lows average around 43°F (5°C), and daily highs around 62°F (17°C). In July, lows average 74°F (23°C), and highs average 91°F (33°C). The lowest recorded temperature was 11°F (-11.7°C) on December 23, 1989. The highest recorded temperature was 102°F (38.9°C) on August 22, 1980. The average precipitation is 64.2 inches (1630 mm) annually; the summer months are the wettest, while October is the driest month.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Precipitation in winter usually accompanies the passing of a cold front. Hurricanes also pose a threat to the area, and the city is particularly vulnerable because of its low elevation. According to a recent report by The Weather Channel, the city is one the most vulnerable in the country when it comes to hurricanes.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> In addition, a hurricane striking New Orleans is also one of the top scenarios most feared by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

New Orleans experiences snowfall only on rare occasions. Most recently, a small amount of snow fell on Christmas in 2004, 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 4.5 inches (110 mm). The last significant snowfall in New Orleans fell on December 22, 1989, when most of the city received 1 or 2 inches of snow.

[edit] Demographics

The New Orleans Metropolitan Area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, currently includes seven Parishes: Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, St. Tammany, St. Charles, and St. John the Baptist. With a pre-Katrina total population of 1.4 million, it was the 35th largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States. The metro area suffered a loss of population as a result of hurricane Katrina in August 2005.

The 2000 U.S. census put New Orleans' population at 484,674, but Hurricane Katrina in 2005 caused the city's evacuation. The devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures that followed in August 2005 caused the city's evacuation with many residents not having returned yet. A November 2006 study, conducted by the Louisiana Recovery Authority (L.R.A.), put the Orleans Parish population at 191,139. Results of the Louisiana Health and Population Survey can be downloaded at

The methodology was developed by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The 2006 Louisiana Health and Population Survey relied on a two-stage cluster sample design in which n block clusters are selected and k housing units are sampled in each block cluster. Block clusters are geographic areas composed of one or more census blocks. The Census creates block clusters based on the number of expected housing units (i.e. number of housing units recorded during the 2000 Census). The Bureau then randomly selected 240 block clusters within Orleans Parish. A geographic stratification was made to separate the East Bank from the West Bank of the Mississippi River, and within the East Bank a stratification was made to separate generally flooded from generally un-flooded areas. Due to the methodology, all types of housing units had the chance of being selected for surveying, including single-family residences, apartment buildings, mobile homes, boats, RVs, and trailers provided to internally displaced persons (IDPs) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

An additional 9,526 individuals were determined to be living in group quarters. The group quarters population was attained directly by contacting the management of group facilities located in Orleans Parish. This figure does not include the incarcerated population.

City of New Orleans
Population by year<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

1810 17,242
1820 27,176
1830 46,082
1840 102,193
1850 116,375
1860 168,675
1870 191,418
1880 216,090
1890 242,039
1900 287,104
1910 339,075
1920 387,219
1930 458,762
1940 494,537
1950 570,445
1960 627,525
1970 593,471
1980 557,515
1990 496,938
2000 484,674<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 484,674 people, 188,251 households, and 112,950 families residing in the city. The most recent (2004) population estimate for the city is 462,269. The population density was 1,036.4/km² (2,684.3/mi²). There were 215,091 housing units at an average density of 459.9/km² (1,191.3/mi²). 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.

Image:Colorful houses in New Orleans.jpg
New Orleans contains many distinctive neighborhoods.

The population of Greater New Orleans stood at 1,337,726 in 2000, making it the 35th largest metropolitan area in the United States. These population statistics are based on legal residents of the city. But due to the enormous annual tourist flow, the number of people inside the city at a given time, such as Mardi Gras season, tends to exceed these numbers sometimes by the hundreds of thousands.

There were 188,251 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.8% were married couples living together, 24.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 40% were non-families, 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.23.

The age distribution of the city's population is 26.7% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,133, and the median income for a family was $32,338. Males had a median income of $30,862 versus $23,768 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,258. 27.9% of the population and 23.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 40.3% of those under the age of 18 and 19.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

The population of New Orleans peaked in 1960. Since then, suburban parishes such as Jefferson and St. Tammany have increased in population.

An analysis by Brown University sociologist John R. Logan in January of 2006<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> suggests that as many as 50% of whites and 80% of blacks displaced by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath may relocate permanently.

A more recent study by the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) completed in October 2006 estimates that the city is currently about 44% white and 46% black. The LRA concludes that 187,525 people are living in New Orleans compared to 484,674 pre-Katrina.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Government

New Orleans has a mayor-council government. The city council consists of five councilmembers who are elected by district and two at large councilmembers. Mayor C. Ray Nagin, Jr. was elected in May 2002, and was reelected in the mayoral election of April 22, 2006.

The New Orleans Police Department provides professional police services to the public in order to maintain order and protect life and property. 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's Office maintains the parish prison system, provides security for the Criminal District Court, and provides backup for various New Orleans Police Department patrols.

The city of New Orleans and the parish of Orleans operate as a merged city-parish government.GR6 Before the city of New Orleans became co-extensive with Orleans Parish, Orleans Parish was home to numerous smaller communities. Some of these communities within Orleans Parish have historically had separate identities from the city of New Orleans, such as Irish Bayou and Carrollton . The original City of New Orleans was comprised 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 ceased being separate from the city of New Orleans when the city of Carrollton was annexed as the 16th and 17th wards. However, to this day, the USPS still recognizes and accepts mailings which are addressed to Carrollton, LA, as legal and will deliver them to the ZIP code 70118.

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. On November 7, 2006 a constitutional amendment passed both statewide and in Orleans Parish which consolidates 7 assessors into one by the year 2010

See also: Mayors of New Orleans

[edit] Economy

Image:Barge on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.jpeg
A tanker on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.

New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in the United States, and tourism is a major staple in the area's economy. Approximately 14 million people visit New Orleans each year.[citation needed] The city's colorful Carnival celebrations (leading up to Mardi Gras or "Fat Tuesday", the feast day before "Ash Wednesday") during the pre-Lenten season draw particularly large crowds. Other major tourist events and attractions in the city include the Sugar Bowl, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (popularly known by locals as "Jazz Fest"), Voodoo Music Experience, Southern Decadence (one of the largest annual Gay/Lesbian celebrations in the world), and the Essence Festival, not to mention sporting events including Super Bowls and NCAA final fours.

New Orleans is also an industrial and distribution center, and the busiest port system in the world by gross tonnage. The Port of New Orleans is the largest U.S. port for several major commodities including rubber, cement and coffee.[citation needed] 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 N.O., 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 lying just offshore. Louisiana ranks 5th in oil production and 8th in reserves. Louisiana 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, Louisiana. Other infrastructure includes 17 petroleum refineries with a combined crude oil distillation capacity of nearly 2.8 million barrels per calendar day, 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. Natural gas and electricity dominate the home heating market with similar market shares totaling about 47 percent each. With all of the product to distribute, Louisiana is home to many major pipelines supplying the nation: Crude Oil - Chevron, BP, Texaco, Shell, Exxon, Scurloch-Permian, Mid-Valley, Calumet, Conoco, Koch, Unocal, Dept. of Energy, Locap. Product - TEPPCO, Colonial, Chevron, Shell, Plantation, Explorer, Texaco, Collins, BP. Liquefied Petroleum Gas - Dixie, TEPPCO, Black Lake, Koch, Chevron, Dynegy, Kinder, Dow, Bridgeline, FMP, Tejas, Texaco, UTP. [1] There are a substantial number of energy companies that have their regional headquarters in the city, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, 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 recently merged its copper and gold exploration unit with an Arizona company and relocated that division to Phoenix, Arizona.

The federal government has a significant presence in the area. The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility is located in the eastern portion of Orleans Parish. The facility is operated by Lockheed-Martin and is a large manufacturing facility where external fuel tanks for space shuttles are produced. The Michoud Assembly Facility also houses the National Finance Center operated by the USDA.

In recent years, in an effort to diversify her economy, New Orleans has become known as "Hollywood South". Many large budget and critically acclaimed feature films have been made in and around New Orleans over the last few years, such as Ray, Runaway Jury, The Pelican Brief, The Skeleton Key, Glory Road, All the King's Men, Déjà Vu, Last Holiday, Failure to Launch, and countless other full-length films and documentaries.

Other companies with a significant presence or base in New Orleans include the worldwide headquarters of Entergy Corporation and its subsidiaries, BellSouth, IBM, Navtech, Harrah's (downtown casino), Popeye's Fried Chicken, Zatarain's, Whitney Bank (corp. HQ), Capital One (banking HQ), Southern Comfort, Tidewater (Corp. HQ), McMoran Exploration(worldwide corporate HQ) and Energy Partners (corp.HQ).

Most major corporations that had offices or headquarters in New Orleans have returned post-Katrina. Also, over 95% of businesses whose annual income is over $20,000,000 have come back.

[edit] Crime & Police

New Orleans has a high violent crime rate. Its homicide rate has consistently ranked in the top five of large cities in the country since the 1980s along with Detroit, St. Louis, and Atlanta. In 1994, 421 people were killed (85.8 per 100,000 people), a homicide rate which has not been matched by any major US city to date. <ref>"New Orleans murder rate on the rise again", MSNBC, 2005-08-18. Retrieved on 2006-05-17.

</ref> 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 murder rate of any major American city in 2002 (53.3 per 100,000 people), and again retained the highest murder rate in 2003, with 275 murders according to this report.

Violent crime is a serious problem for New Orleans residents, especially African American, yet far less of a problem for tourists. Reports show that almost 90% of Whites living within the city limits felt safe in their surroundings, while only about 25% of Blacks felt safe in their surroundings. As in other U.S. cities of comparable size, the incidence of homicide and other violent crimes is highly concentrated in certain city neighborhoods, such as housing projects, that are sites of open air drug trade. Most murder victims have criminal records. In 2003, most victims in New Orleans were killed within three months of their last arrest. The statistics state that only about 9% of murder victims in 2004 year were of European or Asian Ancestry. The crime is primarily black on black drug related. link The homicide rate for the New Orleans metropolitan statistical area, which includes the suburbs, was 24.4 per 100,000 in 2002.<ref></ref>

After Hurricane Katrina, media attention focused on the reduced violent crime rate following the exodus of many New Orleanians. That trend is beginning to reverse itself as more African-Americans return to the city, although calculating the homicide rate remains difficult given that no authoritative source can cite a total population figure.<ref></ref> Regardless, statistics are showing that violent crime is beginning to return to the city. The city finished the month of July 2006 with 22 murders, which was the same as the pre-Katrina average for the city since 2002 when the population was much higher. The numbers for this year, with 80 murders by the end of July, put the city on pace to have 58.36 murders per 100,000 citizens, and the number of murders has continued to rise each month. [2] [3]

[edit] Education

[edit] Schools

New Orleans Public Schools, the city's school district, was one of the area's largest school districts before Hurricane Katrina. It was widely recognized as the lowest performing school district in Louisiana. According to researchers Carl L. Bankston and Stephen J. Caldas, only 12 of the 103 school districts in New Orleans showed reasonably good performance at the beginning of the twenty-first century.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Following Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana took over most of the schools within the system (all schools that fell into a certain "worst-performing" metric); about 20 new charter schools have also been started since the storm, educating about 15,000 students.

The Greater New Orleans area has approximately 200 parochial schools. The prevalence of 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.

[edit] Colleges and universities

Several institutions of higher education also exist within the city, including University of New Orleans, Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Medical School, and Our Lady of Holy Cross College. Other schools include Delgado Community College, University of Phoenix, Culinary Institute of New Orleans, Herzing College, Commonwealth University, Notre Dame Seminary, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

[edit] Libraries

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,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> the Law Library of Louisiana,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

The New Orleans Public Library includes 13 locations, most of which were damaged by Hurricane Katrina.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> The main library includes a Louisiana Division housing city archives and special collections.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Other research archives are located at the Historic New Orleans Collection<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and the Old U.S. Mint.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

[edit] Culture

[edit] Dialect

See also: Yat (New Orleans)

New Orleans is usually pronounced by locals as "Noo-AW-lyenz," "New-Or-linz," or "New-Or-lee-anz". The tendency among people around the world to say "New-Or-LEENZ" stems both from the use of that pronunciation by singers and songwriters, who find it easy to rhyme, and from accepted pronunciations of other cities named Orleans in the English speaking world. However, that pronunciation is generally disdained by the residents of New Orleans. The pronunciation "NAW-linz" is likewise not generally used nor liked by locals but has been popularized by the tourist trade.

The distinctive local accent is unlike either Cajun or the stereotypical Southern accent so often misportrayed by film and television actors. It does, like earlier Southern Englishes, feature frequent deletion of post-vocalic "r". It is similar to a New York "Brooklynese" accent to people unfamiliar with it. There are many theories to how the accent came to be, but it likely results from New Orleans' geographic isolation by water, and the fact that New Orleans was a major port of entry into the United States throughout the 19th century. Many of the immigrant groups who reside in Brooklyn also reside in New Orleans, with Irish, Italians, and Germans being among the largest groups.

The prestige associated with being from New Orleans by many residents is likely a factor in the linguistic assimilation of the ethnically divergent population. This distinctive accent is dying out generation by generation in the city (but remains very strong in the surrounding Parishes). As with many sociolinguistic artifacts, it is usually attested much more strongly by older members of the population. One subtype of the New Orleans accent is sometimes identified as Yat (from "Where y'at). This word is not used as a generalized term for the New Orleans accent, and is generally reserved for the strongest varieties. Also notable are lexical items specific to the city, such as "lagniappe" (pronounced LAN-yap) meaning "a little something extra," "makin' groceries" (from the French 'Faire l'épicerie'- to make/do shopping) for grocery shopping, or "neutral ground" for a street median (derived from a traditional area between new American neighborhoods and native French, Spanish and creole neighborhoods or 'faubourgs' where it was acceptable for all to meet).

Some other words and names are pronounced differently in the New Orleans vocabulary, while the spelling remains consistent with standard English, or the word's original language. Burgundy for example is pronounced buh-GUN-dee when referring to the New Orleans street, though other usages of the word (as in the color or the wine) are pronounced as the standard BUR-gun-dee.

[edit] Tribute "City"

The culture of the city has had a profound impact on many people, one of which was Walt Disney, who built a replica of the French Quarter called New Orleans Square in his park Disneyland in 1966, with buildings and landscaping fitting that of 19th Century New Orleans set upon the park's Rivers of America port. When it opened, Walt Disney had then New Orleans mayor, Victor H. Schiro be made honorary mayor of New Orleans Square, and Schiro, in turn, made Disney an honorary citizen of the real New Orleans.

[edit] Events

Mounted Krewe Officers in the Thoth Parade during Mardi Gras.

Greater New Orleans is home to numerous celebrations, including Mardi Gras and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. New Orleans' most popular celebration is her Carnival, officially beginning on the Feast of the Epiphany; which locals sometimes refer to as "Twelfth Night." The Carnival season is often known (especially by out-of-towners) by the name of its last day, Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday"), held the Tuesday before before the beginning of the Catholic liturgical season of Lent, which by its commencement on Ash Wednesday ends the Carnival season.

The largest of the city's many musical 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; and features crowds coming from all over the world 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 nationally-known popular music artists.

[edit] Music

New Orleans has always been a significant center for music with its intertwined European, Latin American, and African-American cultures. New Orleans' unique musical heritage was born in its pre-American and early American days with 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 neighbors, New Orleans was blessed to give birth to the nation's only indigenous music, jazz. With New Orleans' large, educated and influential Creole, Haitian and free black population, these African beats intertwined with trained musicians and the city's now famous brass bands gained wide popularity (and they remain just as popular today). Decades later it was home to a distinctive brand of rhythm and blues that contributed greatly to the growth of rock and roll. A great example of the New Orleans sound in the 60s 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 60s and 70s. 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 poor African-American neighborhoods of the city through the 1990s. A cousin of Bounce, New Orleans Rap has seen commercial success locally and internationally.[citation needed] Throughout the 1990s many sludge/doom metal bands have started in the New Orleans area. Notable bands include: Acid Bath, Crowbar, Goatwhore, Soilent Green, Eyehategod, and Down (whose first album was entitled "NOLA"). In addition, the nearby countryside is the home of Cajun music, Zydeco music, and Delta blues.

The city also created its own spin on the old tradition of military brass band funerals; traditional New Orleans funerals with music feature sad music (mostly dirges and hymns) on the way to the cemetery and happy 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 out of town visitors have long dubbed them "jazz funerals." Younger bands, especially those based in the Treme neighborhood, have embraced the term and now have funerals featuring only jazz music.

[edit] Media

The major daily newspaper is the New Orleans Times-Picayune, publishing since 1837. Weekly publications include The Louisiana Weekly and Gambit Weekly.<ref>Gambit Weekly</ref> Also in wide circulation is the Clarion Herald, the biweekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Greater New Orleans is well served by television and radio. The market is the 54th largest Designated Market Area (DMA) in the U.S., serving 566,960 homes and 0.509% of the U.S. Major television network affiliates serving the area include:

WHNO 20 also operates as an independent station in the area, providing mainly religious programming.

Radio stations serving Greater New Orleans include:

An additional note about WWOZ and WTUL: WWOZ not only plays modern and traditional New Orleans jazz, but also blues, New Orleans R&B, Cajun, zydeco, gospel, Latin, Brazilian, Caribbean, Americana, and more. (It is fondly referred to by many New Orleanians as the "best radio station in the world".) WTUL, the Tulane University station, plays mostly alternative "college circuit" rock on week days; on nights and weekends it has DJs that play Americana, alternative country/bluegrass, jazz, classical, punk/ska, reggae, world beat, and many of the finest local bands and songwriters.

Two very famous pop music stations in New Orleans, quite influential in playing and promoting New Orleans-based bands and singers, were 50,000-watt WNOE-1060 and 10,000-watt WTIX-690. These two stations competed head-to-head for most of the period from the late 50's to the late 70's, and are considered by many in the Gulf Coast region as legendary top 40 radio stations.

[edit] Sites of interest

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, in 2003, looking towards Canal Street.

Greater New Orleans has many major attractions, from the world-renowned Bourbon Street and the French Quarter's notorious nightlife, St. Charles Avenue (home of Tulane and Loyola Universities), and many stately 19th century mansions.

Favorite tourist scenes in New Orleans include the French Quarter (known locally as "the Quarter"), which dates from the French and Spanish eras and is bounded by the Mississippi River and Rampart Street, Canal Street and Esplanade Ave. The French Quarter contains many popular hotels, bars, and nightclubs, most notably around Bourbon Street. Other notable tourist attractions in the quarter include Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market (including Café du Monde, famous for café au lait and beignets), and jazz at Preservation Hall.

Also located near the French Quarter is the old New Orleans Mint, formerly a branch of the United States Mint, now operates as a museum. The National D-Day Museum (renamed as the National WWII Museum) is a relatively new museum (opened on June 6 2000) dedicated to providing information and materials related to the allied invasion of Normandy, France. The Natchez is an authentic steamboat with a calliope which tours the Mississippi twice daily.

Art museums in the city include the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) in City Park and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. Audubon Park, the Audubon Zoo, and the Aquarium of the Americas are also located in the city of New Orleans. New Orleans is also noted for its many beautiful cemeteries. Some notable cemeteries in the city include Saint Louis Cemetery and Metairie Cemetery.

Significant gardens include Longue Vue House and Gardens and the New Orleans Botanical Garden. Gardens are also found in places like City Park and Audubon Park. City Park still has one of the largest if not the largest stands of oak trees in the world.

Chalmette Battlefield, located just below the city, is the site of the Battle of New Orleans in which General Andrew Jackson repelled between 11,000 and 14,500 seasoned British troops. General Jackson banded together local New Orleans citizens, Choctaw Indians, local Barataria pirates (the infamous Jean Lafitte), and the first all free black militia in order to rout the British. The final battle of the war of 1812 took place in January of 1815 (officially after the war had ended). It is speculated that had the British taken New Orleans the Treaty of Ghent would have been discarded and hostilities would have continued[4]. Andrew Jackson gained enough fame from the battle of New Orleans to be elected President of the United States in 1828. Tours of the battlefield are available and a reenactment is held every year.

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, bus tours of the damaged areas became popular and are still available.

[edit] Food

New Orleans is world-famous for its food. Like its Jazz, New Orleans is blessed with the only truly indigenous local cuisine in the nation. From the infiltration of hearty cajun country fare over the centuries to the local creole, haute creole and New Orleans French cuisines, New Orleans food is perhaps its most cherished possession. Local ingredients, African, French, Spanish and Cajun traditions combine to produce a truly unique and easily recognizable New Orleans flavor.

Unique specialties include beignets, square-shaped fried pastries that could be called French doughnuts (served with coffee and chicory "au lait"); Po'boy and Italian Muffalettas; Gulf oysters on the half-shell, boiled crawfish, and other seafood; étouffée, jambalaya, gumbo, and other Creole dishes; and the Monday evening 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.

[edit] Sports

Main article: Sports in New Orleans

Professional sports teams include the New Orleans Saints (NFL), the New Orleans Hornets (NBA) and the New Orleans Zephyrs (PCL). The home stadium of the Saints is the Louisiana Superdome, which hosts the annual Sugar Bowl as well as numerous other prominent events (for a listing of these events, see Louisiana Superdome). The home stadium of the Hornets is the New Orleans Arena. New Orleans is also home to the Fair Grounds Race Course, the nation's third-oldest thoroughbred track. In addition, New Orleans is home to the Zurich Classic, a golf tournament on the PGA Tour. For more on sports in New Orleans, see Sports in New Orleans.

[edit] Infrastructure

[edit] Notable buildings

New Orleans' tallest building is the 51-story One Shell Square. The approved 67-story Trump International Hotel & Tower would be the tallest building in the city and state if built at the proposed height of 700 feet (213 m). New Orleans is now entering what could become a large downtown residential building boom, with multiple high-rise towers already planned for the city.

Tallest buildings
Name Stories Height
One Shell Square 51 697 ft (213 m)
Bank One Center (former Place St. Charles) 53 645 ft (197 m)
Crescent City Towers (former Plaza Tower) 45 531 ft (162 m)
Energy Centre 39 530 ft (162 m)
LL&E Tower (now 909 Poydras Building) 36 481 ft (147 m)
Sheraton New Orleans 48 479 ft (146 m)
New Orleans Marriott 42 449 ft (137 m)
Texaco Center 32 442 ft (135 m)
One Canal Place 32 440 ft (134 m)
1010 Common 31 438 ft (134 m)

[edit] Transportation

Image:IMG 3666border cropped.jpg
A Saint Charles Avenue streetcar headed down Canal Street

[edit] Streetcars

There are three active streetcar lines moved by electric motors powered by DC wires overhead. The St. Charles line (green cars, formerly connecting New Orleans with the then independent suburb of Carrollton) is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in New Orleans and a historic landmark. The Riverfront line (also known as the Ladies in Red since the cars are painted red) runs parallel to the river from Canal Street through the French Quarter to the Convention Center above Julia Street in the Arts District. The Canal Street line uses the Riverfront line tracks from Esplanade Street to Canal Street, then branches off down Canal Street 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 light rail streetcar line.

As of April 2006, the St. Charles streetcar line is still not operational due to overhead wire damage from Hurricane Katrina. The Canal line is functioning, but the red cars were flooded by the hurricane, so the green cars are currently running on the Canal line.

[edit] Buses

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 Jefferson Parish Department of Transit Administration [5] operates Jefferson Transit [6] which provides service between the city and its suburbs.

[edit] Proposed Light Rail

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.

[edit] Roads

see also: Famous streets of New Orleans

New Orleans has two main interstate highways, Interstate 10 (I-10) and Interstate 610 (I-610). I-10 runs east-west through the city, and traverses the northern edge of the Central Business District. 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, as I-49 is currently being extended from Lafayette to New Orleans.

The two main U.S. highways passing through New Orleans are U.S. 90 and U.S. 61. U.S. 90 runs along Jefferson Highway/S. Clairborne, Broad Street, and Gentilly Blvd/Chef Menteur Highway. U.S. 61 runs across Airline Hwy/Tulane Ave.

The tolled Crescent City Connection is New Orleans' major bridge across the Mississippi River, providing a connection between I-10 on the north side of the river and the Westbank Expressway on the south side of the river.

New Orleans' other bridge across the Mississippi River is the Huey P. Long Bridge, over which U.S. 90 crosses the river.

New Orleans also has a bridge running north across Lake Pontchartrain, the tolled Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, consisting of two parallel bridges, which are also the longest bridges in the world.

[edit] Airports

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, the military base in the suburb of Belle Chase Louisiana, and "Southern Seaplane" also located in Belle Chase. Southern Seaplane has a 3,200 foot runway for wheeled planes and a 5,000 foot water runway for seaplanes.

[edit] Railroad

The city is served by rail via Amtrak. The New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal is the central rail depot, and it is served by three trains: the Crescent, the City of New Orleans, and the Sunset Limited.

In addition, the city is served by six of the seven Class I freight railroads in North America: Union Pacific Railroad, BNSF Railway, Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX, the Canadian National Railway and the Kansas City Southern Railway. The New Orleans Public Belt provides interchange services between the railroads.

[edit] Sister cities

New Orleans has ten sister cities:<ref>Sister Cities designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI). Retrieved June 8, 2006.</ref>

[edit] Gallery

[edit] See also

[edit] References


[edit] External links

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