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Welcome To New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans

New Orleans is a major United States port city and the largest city in Louisiana.
New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana along the Mississippi River some 50 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. The city is bordered by Lake Pontchartrain to the north. It is coextensive with Orleans Parish. It is named after Philippe II, Duc d'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 and is considered the birthplace of jazz.

 Its status as a world-famous tourist destination is due in part to its architecture, music, cuisine, its annual Mardi Gras, and other celebrations and festivals. The city is often referred to as "The most unique city in America".

History

La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded in 1718 by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. 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. See Founding Families of New Orleans. In 1763, the French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire and remained under Spanish control for 40 years. Most of the surviving architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) dates from this Spanish period. Louisiana reverted to French control in 1801, but Napoleon sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase two years later. The city grew rapidly with influxes of Americans, French, and Creole French.

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 a leading role in the slave trade, while at the same time having the most prosperous community of free persons of colour in the South.[1][8] 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.
The Union captured New Orleans early in the American Civil War. This action spared the city the destruction suffered by many other cities of the American South.

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. Urban development until then 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.[9][10]

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; however, since that time measures have been taken to repair New Orleans's hurricane defenses and restore pumping capacity.

By the time Hurricane Katrina approached the city at the end of August 2005, most residents had evacuated. Although the hurricane's eye passed east of the city, the city's federal flood protection system failed, resulting in the worst civil engineering disaster in American history. 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 remaining residents were rescued by boat, helicopter or otherwise made their way to shelters of last resort at the Louisiana Superdome or the Morial Convention Center. Over 1,500 people died in Greater New Orleans.
The city was declared off-limits to residents while clean-up efforts began. The approach of Hurricane Rita caused repopulation efforts to be postponed, and the Lower Ninth Ward was reflooded by Rita's storm surge. By October 1, 2005, parts of the city accounting for about one-third of the population of New Orleans had been reopened.

Geography

New Orleans is located at New Orleans29°57′53″N, 90°4′14″W on the banks of the Mississippi River, approximately 105 miles (170 km) upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 350.2 square miles (907 km²), of which 180.6 square miles (467.6 km²) of it is land and 169.7 square miles (439.4 km²) of it is water. The total area is 48.45% water.

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 Elevation of New Orleans

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. After 1965, the US Army Corps built floodwalls and man made levees around a much larger geographic footprint that included previous marshland and swamp. But this human interference has caused considerable subsidence (sinking). There is much debate on the severity of the sinking. A study by the Geological Society of America reported.

While erosion and wetland loss are huge problems along Louisiana's coast, the basement 30 to 50 feet (15 m) beneath much of the Mississippi Delta has been highly stable for the past 8,000 years with negligible subsidence rates.

But a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers claims that "New Orleans is subsiding (sinking)".

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 mean (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 16 feet (5 m) and others as low as 10 feet (3 m) below sea level.

In 2005, storm surge from Hurricane Katrina caused catastrophic failure of the federally designed and built levees thereby flooding 80% of the city. 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 2,000 square miles (5,000 km²) of coast (including many of its barrier islands) which once protected New Orleans against storm surge. Following Hurricane Katrina the Army Corps of Engineers have instituted massive levee repair and hurricane protection measures to protect the city. By 2011 the city of New Orleans is planned to have 100-year flood protection. This means protection against the worst storm that would occur in an average 100-year period. This can also be stated as any given year having a 1% chance of having a storm that would cause some degree of flooding.


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. Two consecutive hurricane seasons have passed without any tropical activity near the city. That has given the Corps of Engineers more time to implement their projects. Congress has allocated $7 billion to bolster New Orleans' flood protection.

Climate

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 (6 °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 7 °F (−14 °C) on February 13, 1899. The highest recorded temperature was 102 °F (39 °C) on August 22, 1980. The average precipitation is 64.2 inches (1,630 mm) annually; the summer months are the wettest, while October is the driest month. 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.[27] Since 1965, portions of New Orleans have been flooded by four different storms, Hurricane Betsy, Hurricane Georges, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.[28][29] It is likely that we will see increases in hurricane intensity during the 21st century according to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report
Army Corps of Engineers interactive map showing flood risk.

New Orleans experiences snowfall only on rare occasions. Most recently, 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 4.5 inches (11 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.

Cityscape

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.

An aerial view of New Orleans (1999).
An aerial view of New Orleans (1999).

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 world-famous 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 (e.g., South Broad becomes North Broad upon crossing Canal Street into downtown). In the local parlance downtown means "downriver from Canal Street" while uptown means "upriver from Canal Street". Downtown neighborhoods include the The Vieux Carré or French Quarter, Treme, the 7th Ward, Faubourg-Marigny, Bywater (the Upper Ninth Ward), and the Lower Ninth Ward. Uptown neighborhoods include the Warehouse District (the American Sector), the Lower Garden District, Garden District, the Irish Channel, the University District, Carrollton, Gert Town, Fontainebleau, and Broadmoor. In common language, 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.

New Orleans, Chartres Street looking towards Canal Street, (2004).
New Orleans, Chartres Street looking towards Canal Street, (2004).

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

The state of Louisiana is divided into parishes, rather than counties like most other U.S. states. 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.

One Shell Square, at 51 floors, stands as the tallest building in New Orleans.
One Shell Square, at 51 floors, stands as the tallest building in New Orleans.

New Orleans is world-famous for its plethora 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 (which developed in the city) 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 largeAntebellum 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 trailblazing 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, a title it will hold until the completion of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, scheduled in 2009.  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.

As of May 29, 2007, The $400 Million Trump Tower is going ahead.
"Lured by congressionally authorized tax credits and other financial incentives after Hurricane Katrina, a procession of developers announced plans to build high-rises.

The City of New Orleans & The Mississippi River

Demographics

The 2000 U.S. Census count for New Orleans was 484,674, and the population was estimated to be 454,865 just prior to Hurricane Katrina, according to the U.S. Census bureau. The Census Bureau estimated that 223,000 people were living in New Orleans in July 2006. A population study from July 2006 to March 2007 found that the city gained 32,000 people during that seven month time frame, bringing its population to 255,000, or 56% of its pre-Katrina population. 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. 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 for a figure of about 70% of pre-Katrina population. Estimations by the Census state that of those 37% who left the region entirely 36% moved to the Greater Houston area, 17% moved to Northern Louisiana, 8% relocated to the Southern California area, and the remaining 39% moved elsewhere throughout the country 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 undocumented workers, mostly from Mexico, currently residing in New Orleans. This previously unchronicled group, combined with other estimates, could place the city's post-Katrina population closer to 300,000.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 17,242
1820 27,176 57.6%
1830 46,082 69.6%
1840 102,193 121.8%
1850 116,375 13.9%
1860 168,675 44.9%
1870 191,418 13.5%
1880 216,090 12.9%
1890 242,039 12.0%
1900 287,104 18.6%
1910 339,075 18.1%
1920 387,219 14.2%
1930 458,762 18.5%
1940 494,537 7.8%
1950 570,445 15.3%
1960 627,525 10.0%
1970 593,471 -5.4%
1980 557,515 -6.1%
1990 496,938 -10.9%
2000 484,674 -2.5%
Est. 2006* 223,388 -53.9%
Historical Population Figures

Economy

A tanker on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.
A tanker on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.

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

According to current travel guides, the city of New Orleans is in the top ten of the most visited cities in the United States, and tourism is a major staple in the area's economy. 10.1 million visitors came to New Orleans in 2004, and the city was on pace to break that level of visitation in 2005. Annually, tourism in New Orleans is a $5.5 billion industry and accounts for 40 percent of New Orleans' tax revenues. Tourism employed 85,000 people, making it New Orleans' top industry.

The city's colorful Carnival celebrations leading up to Mardi Gras 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"), the Voodoo Music Experience, Southern Decadence, and the Essence Music Festival, as well as sporting events like Super Bowls and NCAA final fours.

Prior to Katrina, in the Greater New Orleans Area, there were 265 hotels with an inventory of 38,338 rooms.. As of May, 2007 there are over 140 metro area hotels and motels in operation with over 31,000 rooms in inventory.

According to a CNN poll, released in October 2007, New Orleans is the best city in the United States for live music, cocktail hours and "cheap eats", according to the results of a Travel + Leisure/CNN Headline News poll. New Orleans ranked No. 1 in eight categories, behind only New York City, which took the top spot in 15 categories. But, 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. According to the results, New Orleans is the best city for both flea market and antique shopping and cheap food. The Big Easy is also the top spot for cocktail hour, live music, going out at night, "wild weekends" and "girlfriend getaways". Residents of the Big Easy are also the most fun, according to the poll results. New Orleans ranked second for gay friendliness, overall food and dining, friendliness of residents and people-watching, behind San Francisco, California, Chicago, Illinois, Charleston and New York City, respectively. "We weren't surprised to see New Orleans' great performance," said Amy Farley, a senior editor at Travel + Leisure, which will print the complete results in its November issue. "New Orleans is legendary for its great after dark scene."

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 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 N.O., 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 2.8 million barrels per 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 - Exxon,Chevron, BP, Texaco, Shell, Scurloch-Permian, Mid-Valley, Calumet, Conoco, Koch, Unocal, Dept. of Energy, Locap. Product - TEPPCO, Colonial, Plantation, Explorer, Texaco, Collins. Liquefied Petroleum Gas - Dixie, TEPPCO, Black Lake, Koch, Chevron, Dynegy, Kinder, Dow, Bridgeline, FMP, Tejas, Texaco, UTP. [55] 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 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 (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). The VA Mediacal Center is located in downtown New Orleans. Post-Katrina however it only delivers outpatient services. There have been plans for a new Facility in downtown New Orleans and will be completed in the future.

In an effort to diversify its economy, tax incentives for movie production companies began to be offered in 2002. This led to a substantial increase in the number of films shot in the New Orleans area and led to the nickname of "Hollywood South". Many big-budget and critically acclaimed feature films have been made in New Orleans and around the New Orleans Metropolitan area since 2002, such as Ray, Runaway Jury, The Pelican Brief, The Skeleton Key, Glory Road, All the King's Men, Déjà Vu, Last Holiday, Waiting..., Failure to Launch, Stay Alive, 1995's Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh and countless other full-length films and documentaries. Hollywood stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have made New Orleans their home with the purchase of a home in the French Quarter, and a new movie studio complex is to be built in the Treme neighborhood. K-Ville, a cop drama series set in post-Katrina New Orleans, has been picked up for the Fox Network's 2007-08 prime-time schedule, according to sources in Hollywood, a move that could pump millions of dollars of location production money into the local economy. The show stars Anthony Anderson (The Shield, The Departed) and Cole Hauser (The Cave, Paparazzi).

City leaders in New Orleans want a tax incentive similar to the one for movie productions, for Broadway plays. New Orleans is home to many historical theaters such as the Saenger Theater and believe a tax incentive would bring the nation's biggest Broadway plays and musicals to the city and would lead to Louisiana, primarily New Orleans, becoming known as "Broadway South". The tax incentive bill would be included during the 2007 Louisiana Legislative Session and would have to be approved.

Other companies with a significant presence or base in New Orleans include the worldwide headquarters of the Entergy and its subsidiaries, Freeport-McMoRan, AT&T, IBM, Navtech, Harrah's (downtown casino), Popeye's Fried Chicken, Zatarain's, Whitney Bank (corp. HQ), Capital One (banking HQ),Tidewater (Corp. HQ), McMoran Exploration, and Energy Partners (corp.HQ).

Culture

New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in America[citation needed] and 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. Magazine Street, with its many historic antique shops, is also an area visited by many tourists. Also on St. Charles Avenue is the historic Pontchartrain Hotel.

Favorite tourist scenes in New Orleans include 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. 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.

horse carriage entering Royal Street
horse carriage entering Royal Street

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.

Also located in the French Quarter is the old New Orleans Mint, formerly a branch of the United States Mint, which now operates as a museum. Located on Royal Street is 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. Near the Quarter in the neighboring Warehouse District sits the National World War II Museum, opened on June 6, 2000, as the National D-Day Museum, dedicated to providing information and materials related to the allied invasion of Normandy, France. Also nearby is Confederate Memorial Hall, containing the second largest collection of Confederate memorabilia in the world in the oldest continually operating museum in Louisiana.

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. Audubon Park, the Audubon Zoo, and the Aquarium of the Americas are also located in the city. 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.

Within the surrounding area, there are various points of interest. Many wetlands are in close proximity to the Greater New Orleans area, 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.

Greater New Orleans is home to numerous celebrations, including Mardi Gras, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. New Orleans' most popular celebration is the 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"), which is held the Tuesday before the beginning of the Catholic liturgical season of Lent, which commences on Ash Wednesday, ending 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 internationally-known popular music artists.

Along with JazzFest, New Orleans' Voodoo Music Experience and Essence Music Festival are both large music festivals featuring both local and internationally known music artists.

Other major tourist events and attractions in the city include Southern Decadence, as well as sporting events like the Sugar Bowl, Super Bowls, and NCAA final fours.
Like many United States cities, New Orleans has developed a distinctive local dialect over the years. This dialect 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 post-vocalic "r". One dialect is similar to the New York "Brooklynese" dialect to people unfamiliar with it. There are many theories to how this dialect came to be, but it likely resulted 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, especially Sicilians, and Germans being the largest groups, as well as the largest Jewish community between Florida, Atlanta and Texas. In addition, New Orleans has a sizable Croatian minority as well.

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.
Throughout the Greater New Orleans area, various ethnic groups have retained their distinctive language traditions to this day. Although rare, Kreyol Lwiziyen is still spoken by Louisiana Creole people. 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 Isleños population.

Transportation

New Orleans has three active streetcar lines. The St. Charles line is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in America and 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, with the remainder of the route expected to be restored in 2008.

For further information about New Orleans please visit the following websites:

http://www.cityofno.com/
City of New Orleans website
http://www.neworleansonline.com/
Official Tourism Guide to New Orleans
http://wikitravel.org/en/New_Orleans
Wikipedia Travel Guide to New Orleans
http://www.nolacemeteries.com/ New Orleans Cemeteries

Information provided from the Wikipedia article found at www.wikipedia.com © 2008 Move In And Out, Inc.

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