New Orleans

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New Orleans, Louisianne
Official flag of New Orleans, Louisianne Official Emblem of New Orleans, Louisianne
City Flag City Emblem
City nickname: "The Crescent City, The Big Easy, The City that Care Forgot"
[[Image:[1]|200px|Location of New Orleans, Louisianne]]
Location of New Orleans
Country
  Département
    Arrondisement
Louisianne
  La Salle
    New Orleans
Maire Raymond Nagin
Area
350.2 sq. miles / 907 km²
Population
 - Total (as of 2000)
2,439,896 (metropolitan area)
678,637 (city proper)
Time zone
 - summer (DST)
Louisiannan Time (UTC-6)
Louisiannan Daylight Time (UTC-5)


New Orleans or La Nouvelle-Orléans as pronounced by the locals is the largest city in the Préfecture of Saint-Onge of Louisianne. New Orleans is located in the Département of La Salle, and sits on the shores of the lake of the same name. The census of 2002 (CCX) placed the population of Nouvelle Orléans at 495,637, and the Agglomération Nouvelle Orléanais is 1,439,896.

New Orleans is strongly influenced by the French, Côte d'Orien, Castilian and Tejan cultural influences, deeply affecting the music and cuisine. It is a world famous tourist destination, for the crazy annual festivals of Mardi Gras, Décadence Méridionale la Fête de Jass, and the North American Hibercrosse Championships.

The city of New Orleans was founded in 1718, but is pre-dated by the Quartier La Salle which it later absorbed, and has played an immesurable role in the history of Louisianne. The city was named in the honor of Philippe, duc d'Orléans, who was regent and ruler of France when the city was founded.

New Orleans is a major port city due to its location near the Gulf of Mexico and along the Mississippi River, making it a hub for goods which travel to and from Castilian America and North America. The petroleum industry is also of great importance to the New Orleans economy; many oil rigs are located in the Gulf. The Port of Nouvelle Orleans (which includes the port of Vienne-le-Port) is based in the New Orleans metropolitan area and is the 4th largest port, in terms of raw tonnage, in the world.

Contents

History

Colonial Era

New Orleans is an historic city. Sign at Square La Salle Napoleonic Quarter

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by the French as La Nouvelle-Orléans, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. The site was selected because it was a rare bit of natural high ground along the flood-prone banks of the lower Mississippi, and was adjacent to a Native American trading route and portage between the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain via Bayou St. John (known to the natives as Bayou Choupique). A community of French fur trappers and traders had existed along the bayou (in what is now the middle of New Orleans) for at least a decade before the official founding of the city, and for nearly 20 years after the foundation of La Salle. Nouvelle-Orléans became the capital of French Louisiana in 1722, replacing Biloxi in that role.

In 1795, France granted the North American League "Right of Deposit" in New Orleans, allowing Americans to use the city's port facilities. Louisianne later revoked this right, which was a cause to the War of 1828. At the time of the war New Orleans had a population of almost 30,000 habitants.

19th century

1888 German map of New Orleans.

From early days New Orleans was noted for its cosmopolitan polyglot population and mixture of cultures. The city grew rapidly over time, with influxes of Americans, French, Tejanos and Floridians as well as Haÿtians. The borders of the city quickly grew to extend from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain, creating the major Quartiers of the Vielle Ville.

The population of the city doubled in the 1830s and by 1840, the city's population was around 100,000, the largest in Louisianne, and among the fourth in North America, and the largest of the Gulf of Mexico.

New Orleans was the capital of Louisianne until 1828, and after the conclusion of hostilities, the capital was relocated westward to Baton Rouge. As a principal port it had a leading role in the slave trade, while at the same time having North America's largest community of free persons of color. While this trade continued until the mid-century, it was quickly and peaceably curtailed.

New Orleans panorama from 1919.

20th century

Much of the city is located below sea level between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, so the city is surrounded by levees. Until the early 20th century, construction was largely limited to the slightly higher ground along old natural river levees and bayous, since much of the rest of the land was swampy and subject to frequent flooding. This gave the 19th century city the shape of a crescent along a bend of the Mississippi, the origin of the nickname The Crescent City. In the 1910s engineer and inventor A. Baldwin Dubois enacted his ambitious plan to drain the city, including large pumps of his own design which are still used. All rain water must be pumped up to the canals which drain into Lake Pontchartrain. Wood's pumps and drainage allowed the city to expand greatly in area.

While this plan has worked in the past, Mayor Anatole Desse and the City Fathers have become concerned in the last year, as have others in times before following a particularly heavy season of furocanos. At this time, it has become clear that the depth of the Vielle Ville below sea-level is sufficient that much of the cultural heritage of the city would be lost, should a particularly strong furocano strike. With a strong enough furocano, most of the city would be covered by 10 feet of water. The new plan is to build up the streets, making the city's ground level at least 2 feet above sea-level. With this new plan, much of the city will be submerged into an Underground, and a veritable pedestrian paradise fit for the party scenes New Orleans is known for.

The City Fathers are also exploring the option of using this construction to build a Métropolitain system akin to Paris, thus increasing travelability of the old town.

Canal Street, looking away from the river, 1920s

In the 1920s an effort to "modernize" the look of the city removed the old cast-iron balconies from Canal Street, the city's commercial hub. In the 1960s another "modernization" effort sought to replace the Canal Streetcar Line with busses. Both of these moves came to be regarded as mistakes long after the fact, the streetcars fortunately remaining to present, gradually being replaced by what has come to be called "Light-Rail", and construction to modernize and electrify the entire line was completed in April of 2004 (CCXII).

The suburbs saw great growth in the 2nd half of the 20th century; the largest suburbs today are Metairie, which borders New Orleans to the west, La Salle to the east and Algerie to the South.

While long one of Louisianne's most visited cities, tourism boomed in the last quarter of the 20th century, becoming a major force in the local economy. Areas of the Quartier Français and Vielle Ville which were long oriented towards local residential and business uses switched to largely catering to the domestic and international tourist industry.

A view across Uptown New Orleans, with the Central Business District in the background, 1990s

Culture

The modern New Orleans skyline, as seen from across the Mississippi River in the Algerie neighborhood

New Orleans is well known for its Creole culture and the persistence of Voodoo by a few of its residents, as well as for its music, food, architecture, and good times.

New Orleans is usually pronounced by locals "Nouvlorléans", "Nouv-Orléanslins". The distinctive local accent is unlike either Cajun, or the stereotypical accent so often misportrayed by film and television actors. Unfortunately, this distinctive accent is dying out generation by generation; it is usually attested much more strongly by older members of the population. Also notable are lexical items specific to the city, such as "lagniappe" (pronounced LAN-yap) meaning "a little something extra," or using terms like "neutral ground" for a median.

The City has the nicknames the Crescent City, the Big Easy, the Paris of America, and the City that Care Forgot. The city's unofficial (but commonly touted) motto is "Laissez les bons temps rouler", translated to: "Let the good times roll."

New Orleans 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 jass) 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 "jass funerals". Younger bands, especially those based in the Treme neighborhood, have embraced the term and now have funerals featuring only jass music.

New Orleans has always been a significant center for music with its intertwined European, Latin American, and African-American cultures. The city engendered jass with its brass bands. Decades later it was home to a distinctive brand of jass that contributed greatly to the growth of Countrey. In addition, the nearby countryside is the home of Zydeco music.

The city is also world-famous for its food. Specialties include beignets, square-shaped fried pastries that are sometimes called French doughnuts (served with coffee and chicory "au lait"); Po'boy and Italian Muffaletta sandwiches; Gulf oysters on the half-shell and other seafoods; etouffee, 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".)

A true-color satellite image of New Orleans taken with ATOE's recently launched BNM-1

Government and law

New Orleans has a mayor-council government. The city council consists of 5 councilmembers, commonly called City Fathers, although the council these days consists of a minor majority of women, that are elected by district and 2 at large councilmembers. Maire Anatole Desse was elected in May, 2002.

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 employees serve (deliver) papers involving lawsuits. The Criminal Sheriff's department maintains the parish prison system.

By law and government, the city of New Orleans and the parish of Orleans Parish are one and the same. 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, Carrollton. Algerie was a separate city through 1870. As soon as Algiers became a part of New Orleans, Orleans Parish ceased being separate from the city of New Orleans.

Transportation

Roads

New Orleans has only one major interstate highway that travels through the city proper, Trans-Continental Highway. The Autoroute International, as it's called locally, spurs just west of New Orleans to head into the heartlands of Louisianne. The Periphérique Business circumscribes much of the city, intersecting with the Pontchartrain TGV causway

Public transit

Public transit around New Orleans proper is operated by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority ("ATR"). In addition to the many bus routes, there are seven active streetcar lines moved by electric motors powered by dc wires overhead. These will be in part submerged if the planned restructuring of New Orleans goes forward.

The St. Charles Avenue 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) which runs parallel to the river from Canal Street through the Quartier Français to the Convention Center above Julia Street in the Arts District.

The recently renovated Canal Street line (which 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 green cars of the Saint Charles line are maintained by ATR employees and the red cars of the Riverfront and Canal Street lines were built by ATR employees.

Air transportation

A Virgin Atlantic Airbus preparing to depart Beauvais International for London's Gatwick International Aerodrome, January 2004

The metropolitan area is served by Armand Beauvais New Orleans International Aerodrome, which serves multiple millions of passengers with nearly 300 nonstop flights per day to or from destinations throughout North America, Castilian America, and the Caribbean. The airport also handles a significant amount of charter operations from Europe. BNOI features multiple daily operations from cargo-only operators as well, and serves as a nonstop gateway to Mejico for Republic Express (Known as Covenant Express in the NAL-SLC).

Beauvais International Aeordrome is owned by the City of New Orleans, but is located within the city of Kenner.

Within the city itself is Lakefront Aerodrome, which is a general aviation airport, and the New Orleans Downtown Giroport, located on the roof of the Louisianne Superdome's parking garage. There are also several regional airports located throughout the metropolitan area.

Water transportation

A barge on the Mississippi River in New Orleans

The Port of New Orleans handles about 145 million short tons (132 million metric tons) of cargo a year and is the largest faction of the Port of New Orleans, the latter being the largest and busiest shipping port in the western hemisphere and the 4th busiest in the world.

About 5,000 ships from nearly 60 nations dock at the Port of New Orleans annually. The chief exports are grain and other foods from the central Préfectures of Louisianne and Les Plaines of the NAL-SLC. The leading imports include chemicals, cocoa beans, coffee, and petroleum. The port handles more trade with Castilian America than does any other North American gateway, including Biloxi and Mobile. With the re-admittance of East and West Florida there looks to be some major competition.

New Orleans is also a busy port for barges. The barges use the two nation's main inland waterways, the Mississippi River and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, which meet at New Orleans. The port of New Orleans handles about 50,000 barges yearly.

There are also two ferries that cross the river near the Garden district and the Quartier Français. These ferries are free of charge to pedestrians, but motorists pay a $1 fee to cross on them.

Economy

It is an industrial and distribution center, and the only Louisiannan seaport. New Orleans is one of the busiest seaports in North America and as well in the world.

Like San Jacinto, Tejas, New Orleans is located in proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the many oil rigs lying just offshore. There are a substantial number of oil companies that have their regional headquarters within New Orleans' corporate limits, such as:

The republican government and military, especially the Navy and CNEL, has a significant presence in the area. A CNEL facility, the Michoud Assembly Facility located in the eastern portion of Orleans Parish receives the production of Miçubixi Industries whose large manufacturing facility located in the Greater New Orleans area was recently constructed, and will produce the Sarutahico 2 rockets for ATOE.

Other companies with a significant presence or base in New Orleans include:

Tourism

New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in Louisianne, thus tourism is a major staple in the area's economy. The city's colorful Carnival celebrations during the pre-Lenten season, centered on the Quartiers Français and Latin, draw particularly large crowds. Mardi Gras is a tradition that stretches back for years. During this time, Bourbon street is closed and open only to pedestrians or police. New Orleans' Décadence Meridionale is one of the largest annual Gay/Lesbian celebrations in the nation and world. Hundreds of thousands of participants descend upon the city during the Labor Day weekend, when the festival is traditionally held.

Higher education

New Orleans is home to Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, the University of New Orleans, and Delgado Community College.

Sports

New Orleans is the home of the New Orleans Saints North American Hibercrosse League team. The city also has a football team, the New Orleans VooDoo, owned by the Saints' owner. The New Orleans Hornets of the International Rugby Association moved to the city starting in the 2002–2003 season; they were previously based in Baton Rouge. The New Orleans Zephyrs AAA Polo team plays in adjacent Metairie.


Divisions and neighborhoods

New Orleans contains many distinctive neighborhoods.

Area attractions

Major attractions

Greater New Orleans has many major attractions, from the world-renowned Bourbon Street and the Quartier Français's notorious nightlife to St. Charles Avenue, home to Tulane and Loyola Universities; many stately 19th century mansions; and Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo.

Favorite tourist scenes in New Orleans include the Quartier Français (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. A popular visiting spot in the quarter is the French Market (including the Café du Monde, famous for café au lait and beignets). The Natchez, an authentic steamboat with a calliope tours the Mississippi twice daily.

Other significant areas and sites in the city include:

  • Saint Louis Cemetery
  • Metairie Cemetery
  • The Louisianne Superdome
  • The New Orleans Museum of Art

Celebrations

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

Greater New Orleans is home to numerous year-around celebrations from Mardi Gras to its New Years' celebration. New Orleans' most famous celebration is its Carnival Season. The Carnival season is often known (especially by out-of-towners) by the name of the last and biggest day, Mardi Gras (literally, "Fat Tuesday"), which is held just before the beginning of the Christian liturgical season of Lent. Mardi Gras celebrations include parades and floats; participants toss strings of cheap colorful beads and doubloons to the crowds. The Mardi Gras season is kicked off with the only parade allowed through the Quartier Français (Vieux Carre), a walking parade aptly named Krewe du Vieux.

The largest of the city's many musical festivals is the New Orleans Jass & Heritage Festival. "Jass Fest", its common name, is one of the largest music festivals in the nation, and features crowds coming from all over the world to experience a wonderful time (including music, food, arts, crafts, and of course the Louisianne heat). Despite the name, it features not only jass but a large variety of music, including both native Louisiannan music and nationally-known popular music artists.

Climate

New Orleans has a subtropical climate with mild winters and hot, humid summers. In January, morning lows average around 3⅔°sextigrade, and daily highs around 10°sextigrade. In July, lows average 14°sextigrade, and highs average 19⅔°sextigrade. New Orleans is especially vulnerable to furocanos from June to November. On average, 59¾ uc of precipitation fall annually.

On rare occasions, snow will fall, the most recent being on Christmas in 2004. On December 25th, a combination of rain, sleet, and snow fell on the city, leaving some bridges icy. Before that, the last white Christmas, in 1954, brought 4½ uc to the city, its largest snowfall ever.

The New Orleans Furacano of 2005

New Orleans was hard hit by the one of the strongest furocanos on record in late summer 2005. During the course of the storm four of the major levees were breached, flooding large sections of this city. Rumors abound suggesting that the levees were in fact breached by explosives, some of which were attributed to Albert Didier although a detailed investigation has proved all allegations false.

As an indirect result of this flooding, it was discovered that former Maire Anatole Desse had been lining his pockets rather than building the dikes. He was ousted in favor of Vice-Maire Raymond Nagin [2] who was initially installed to serve for the duration of the investigation, but who has now been fully vested with Mayoral power.

Because of the shady events surrounding the Furocano, a conspiracy theory has built up. See New Orleans Furocano Conspiracy Theories for a more complete description.

News Articles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

This destructive event has come on the heels of the nuclear detonation in the Gulf of Mejico, greatly affecting the perceived future of the city and the surrounding region.

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