New Orleans in New Orleans

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New Orleans ( or , locally or ; ) is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area (New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner) has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population of 1,360,436 as of 2000. The city/parish alone has a population of 343,829 as of 2010.

The city is named after Philippe d'Orléans, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, and is well known for its distinct French Creole architecture, as well as its cross cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is also famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz), and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" in America.

New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Mississippi River. The boundaries of the city and Orleans Parish are . The city and parish are bounded by the parishes of St. Tammany to the north, St. Bernard to the east, Plaquemines to the south and Jefferson to the south and west. Lake Pontchartrain, part of which is included in the city limits, lies to the north and Lake Borgne lies to the east. As the Creole elite feared, however, this changed with the Civil War; in 1862 French instruction in schools was abolished by Union general Ben Butler, and teaching of the language was forbidden in schools in 1868. Though New Orleans continued to grow in size, from the mid-19th century onwards, first the emerging industrial and railroad hubs of the Midwest overtook the city in population, then the rapidly growing metropolises of the Pacific Coast in the decades before and after the turn of the 20th century, then other Sun Belt cities in the South and West in the post–World War II period surpassed New Orleans in population. The effects of this gap were amplified by accelerating white flight, as the city's population grew poorer and blacker. New Orleans' political leadership, from 1980 onwards firmly in the hands of its African-American majority, struggled to narrow this gap by creating conditions conducive to the economic uplift of the black community.

New Orleans became increasingly dependent on tourism as an economic mainstay, arguably fatally so by the administrations of Sidney Barthelemy (1986–1994) and Marc Morial (1994–2002). Unimpressive levels of educational attainment, high rates of household poverty and rising crime became increasingly problematic in the later decades of the century, By the time the hurricane approached the city at the end of August 2005, most residents had evacuated. As the hurricane passed through the Gulf Coast region, the city's federal flood protection system failed, resulting in the worst civil engineering disaster in American history. Floodwalls and levees constructed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers failed below design specifications and 80% of the city flooded. Tens of thousands of residents who had remained in the city were rescued or otherwise made their way to shelters of last resort at the Louisiana Superdome or the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. Over 1,500 people died in Louisiana and some are still unaccounted for. Hurricane Katrina called for the first mandatory evacuation in the city's history, the second of which came 3 years later with Hurricane Gustav.

Hurricane Rita

The city was declared off-limits to residents while efforts to clean up after Hurricane Katrina began. The approach of Hurricane Rita in September 2005 caused repopulation efforts to be postponed, and the Lower Ninth Ward was reflooded by Rita's storm surge.

Post-disaster recovery

The Census Bureau in July 2006 estimated the population of New Orleans to be 223,000; a subsequent study estimated that 32,000 additional residents had moved to the city as of March 2007, bringing the estimated population to 255,000, approximately 56% of the pre-Katrina population level. Another estimate, based on data on utility usage from July 2007, estimated the population to be approximately 274,000 or 60% of the pre-Katrina population. These estimates are somewhat smaller than a third estimate, based on mail delivery records, from the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center in June 2007, which indicated that the city had regained approximately two-thirds of its pre-Katrina population. In 2008, the Census Bureau revised upward its population estimate for the city, to 336,644. Most recently, 2010 estimates show that neighborhoods that did not flood are near 100% of their pre-Katrina populations, and in some cases, exceed 100% of their pre-Katrina populations.

Several major tourist events and other forms of revenue for the city have returned. Large conventions are being held again, such as those held by the American Library Association and American College of Cardiology. College football events such as the Bayou Classic, New Orleans Bowl, and Sugar Bowl returned for the 2006–2007 season. The New Orleans Saints returned that season as well, following speculation of a move. The New Orleans Hornets returned to the city fully for the 2007–2008 season, having partially spent the 2006–2007 season in Oklahoma City. New Orleans successfully hosted the 2008 NBA All-Star Game and the 2008 BCS National Championship Game. The city hosted the first and second rounds of the 2007 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. New Orleans and Tulane University will be hosting the Final Four Championship in 2012.

Major annual events such as Mardi Gras and the Jazz & Heritage Festival were never displaced or cancelled. Also, an entirely new annual festival, "The Running of the Bulls New Orleans", was created in 2007.

Geography

New Orleans is located at (29.964722, −90.070556) on the banks of the Mississippi River, approximately 105 mi upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 350.2 sqmi, of which 180.56 sqmi, or 51.55%, is land.

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

New Orleans was originally settled on the natural levees or high ground, along the Mississippi River. After the Flood Control Act of 1965, the United States Army Corps of Engineers built floodwalls and man-made levees around a much larger geographic footprint that included previous marshland and swamp. Whether or not this human interference has caused subsidence is a topic of debate. A study by an associate professor at Tulane University claims:

On the other hand, a report by the American Society of Civil Engineers claims that "New Orleans is subsiding (sinking)":{{cquote|Large portions of Orleans, St. Bernard, and Jefferson parishes are currently below sea level—and continue to sink. New Orleans is built on thousands of feet of soft sand, silt, and clay. Subsidence, or settling of the ground surface, occurs naturally due to the consolidation and oxidation of organic soils (called "marsh" in New Orleans) and local groundwater pumping. In the past, flooding and deposition of sediments from the Mississippi River counterbalanced the natural subsidence, leaving southeast Louisiana at or above sea level. However, due to major flood control structures being built upstream on the Mississippi River and levees being built around New Orleans, fresh layers of sediment are not replenishing the ground lost by subsidence. Since the beginning of the 20th century, it has been estimated that Louisiana has lost 2000 sqmi of coast (including many of its barrier islands), which once protected New Orleans against storm surge. Following Hurricane Katrina, the United States Army Corps of Engineers has instituted massive levee repair and hurricane protection measures to protect the city.

In 2006, Louisiana voters overwhelmingly adopted an amendment to the state's constitution to dedicate all revenues from off-shore drilling to restore Louisiana's eroding coast line. Congress has allocated $7 billion to bolster New Orleans' flood protection.

According to a study by the National Academy of Engineering and the National Research Council, Levees and floodwalls surrounding New Orleans—no matter how large or sturdy—cannot provide absolute protection against overtopping or failure in extreme events. Levees and floodwalls should be viewed as a way to reduce risks from hurricanes and storm surges, not as measures that completely eliminate risk. For structures in hazardous areas and residents who do not relocate, the committee recommended major floodproofing measures—such as elevating the first floor of buildings to at least the 100-year flood level.

National protected areas

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

Climate


The climate of New Orleans is humid subtropical (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with short, generally mild winters and hot, humid summers. In January, morning lows average around 43 F, and daily highs around 62 F. In July, lows average 74 F, and highs average 91 F. The lowest recorded temperature was 7 F on February 13, 1899. The highest recorded temperature was 102 F on August 22, 1980. The average precipitation is 64.2 in 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 at risk because of its low elevation, and because it is surrounded by water from the north, east, and south, and Louisiana's sinking coast. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, New Orleans is the nation's most vulnerable city to hurricanes. Indeed, portions of Greater New Orleans have been flooded by: Grand Isle Hurricane of 1909, New Orleans Hurricane of 1915, Prior to Katrina, there were 265 hotels with 38,338 rooms in the Greater New Orleans Area. In May 2007, there were over 140 hotels and motels in operation with over 31,000 rooms.

A 2009 Travel + Leisure poll of "America's Favorite Cities" ranked New Orleans first in ten categories, the most first-place rankings of the 30 cities included. According to the poll, New Orleans is the best U.S. city as a spring break destination and for "wild weekends", stylish boutique hotels, cocktail hours, singles/bar scenes, live music/conerts and bands, antique and vintage shops, cafés/coffee bars, neighborhood restaurants, and people watching. The city also ranked second for gay friendliness (behind San Francisco, California), friendliness (behind Charleston, South Carolina), bed and bath hotels and inns, and ethnic food. However the city was voted last in terms of active residents and near the bottom in cleanliness, safety, and as a family destination.


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


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

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

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

Entertainment and performing arts


The New Orleans area is home to numerous celebrations, the most popular of which is Carnival, often referred to as Mardi Gras. Carnival officially begins on the Feast of the Epiphany, also known as the "Twelfth Night". Mardi Gras (French for "Fat Tuesday"), the final and grandest day of festivities, is the last Tuesday before the Catholic liturgical season of Lent, which commences on Ash Wednesday.

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

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

In 2002, Louisiana began offering tax incentives for film and television production. This led to a substantial increase in the number of films shot in the New Orleans area and brought the nickname "Hollywood South." Films which have been filmed or produced in and around New Orleans include: Ray, Runaway Jury, The Pelican Brief, Glory Road, All the King's Men, Déjà Vu, Last Holiday, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, and numerous others. In 2006, work began on the Louisiana Film & Television studio complex, based in the Treme neighborhood. Louisiana began to offer similar tax incentives for music and theater productions in 2007, leading many to begin referring to New Orleans as "Broadway South."


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

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

Much later in its musical development, New Orleans was home to a distinctive brand of rhythm and blues that contributed greatly to the growth of rock and roll. An example of the New Orleans' sound in the 1960s is the #1 US hit "Chapel of Love" by the Dixie Cups, a song which knocked The Beatles out of the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100. New Orleans became a hotbed for funk music in the 1960s and 1970s, and by the late 1980s, it had developed its own localized variant of hip hop, called bounce music. While never commercially successful outside of the Deep South, it remained immensely popular in the poorer neighborhoods of the city throughout the 1990s.

A cousin of bounce, New Orleans hip hop has seen commercial success locally and internationally, producing Lil Wayne, Master P, Birdman, Juvenile, Cash Money Records, and No Limit Records. Additionally, the wave of popularity of cowpunk, a fast form of southern rock, originated with the help of several local bands, such as The Radiators, Better Than Ezra, Cowboy Mouth, and Dash Rip Rock. Throughout the 1990s, many sludge metal bands started in the area. New Orleans' heavy metal bands like Eyehategod, Soilent Green, Crowbar, and Down have incorporated styles such as hardcore punk, doom metal, and southern rock to create an original and heady brew of swampy and aggravated metal that has largely avoided standardization. and ' in 2009 and 2010.

Food

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

Unique specialties include beignets (locally pronounced like "ben-yays"), square-shaped fried pastries that could be called "French doughnuts" (served with café au lait made with a blend of coffee and chicory rather than only coffee); Po' boy and Italian Muffuletta sandwiches; Chinese inspired beef Yaka mein; Gulf oysters on the half-shell, fried oysters, boiled crawfish, and other seafood; étouffée, jambalaya, gumbo, and other Creole dishes; and the Monday favorite of red beans and rice. (Louis Armstrong often signed his letters, "Red beans and ricely yours".) Another New Orleans specialty is the Praline , a candy made with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, butter, and pecans.

Dialect

New Orleans has developed a distinctive local dialect of American English over the years that is neither Cajun nor the stereotypical Southern accent, so often misportrayed by film and television actors. It does, like earlier Southern Englishes, feature frequent deletion of the post-vocalic "r". This dialect is quite similar to New York City area accents such as "Brooklynese", to people unfamiliar with either. There are many theories regarding how it came to be, but it likely resulted from New Orleans' geographic isolation by water and the fact that the city was a major immigration port throughout the 19th century. As a result, many of the ethnic groups who reside in Brooklyn also reside in New Orleans, such as the Irish, Italians (especially Sicilians), and Germans, among others, as well as a very sizable Jewish community.

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

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

Sports

New Orleans' professional sports teams include the 2009 Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints (NFL), the New Orleans Hornets (NBA), the New Orleans Zephyrs (PCL), and returning for the 2011 season, the New Orleans VooDoo (AFL). It is also home to the Big Easy Rollergirls, an all-female flat track roller derby team, and the New Orleans Blaze, a women's football team. A local group of investors began conducting a study in 2007 to see if the city could support a Major League Soccer team.

The Louisiana Superdome is the home of the Saints, the Sugar Bowl, and other prominent events. It has hosted the Super Bowl a record six times (1978, 1981, 1986, 1990, 1997, 2002) and will host again in 2013. The New Orleans Arena is the home of the Hornets, VooDoo, and many events that are not large enough to need the Superdome. New Orleans is also home to the Fair Grounds Race Course, the nation's third-oldest thoroughbred track. The city's Lakefront Arena has also been home to sporting events.

Each year New Orleans plays host to the Sugar Bowl, the New Orleans Bowl and the Zurich Classic, a golf tournament on the PGA Tour. In addition, it has often hosted major sporting events that have no permanent home, such as the Super Bowl, ArenaBowl, NBA All-Star Game, BCS National Championship Game, and the NCAA Final Four. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon and the Crescent City Classic are two road running events held annually in the city.

Economy

New Orleans is home to one of the largest and busiest ports in the world, and metropolitan New Orleans is a center of maritime industry. The New Orleans region also accounts for a significant portion of the nation's oil refining and petrochemical production, and serves as a white collar corporate base for onshore and offshore petroleum and natural gas production. New Orleans is a center for higher learning, with over 50,000 students enrolled in the region's eleven two- and four-year degree granting institutions. A top 50 research university, Tulane University, is located in New Orleans' Uptown neighborhood. Metropolitan New Orleans is a major regional hub for the health care industry and boasts a small, globally competitive manufacturing sector. The center city possesses a rapidly growing, entrepreneurial creative industries sector, and is, of course, renowned for its cultural tourism. Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.)[1] acts as the first point-of-contact for regional economic development and is slotted between Louisiana's Department of Economic Development and the various parochial business development agencies.

New Orleans came into being to act as a strategically located trading entrepot, and it remains, above all, a crucial transportation hub and distribution center for waterborne commerce. The Port of New Orleans is the 5th-largest port in the United States based on volume of cargo handled, second-largest in the state after the Port of South Louisiana, and 12th-largest in the U.S., based on value of cargo. The Port of South Louisiana, also based in the New Orleans area, is the world's busiest in terms of bulk tonnage and, when combined with the Port of New Orleans, it forms the 4th-largest port system in volume handled. Many shipbuilding, shipping, logistics, freight forwarding and commodity brokerage firms either call metropolitan New Orleans home or maintain a large local presence. Examples include Intermarine, Bisso Towboat, Northrop Grumman Ship Systems, Trinity Yachts, Expeditors International, Bollinger Shipyards, IMTT, International Coffee Corp, Boasso America, Transoceanic Shipping, Transportation Consultants Inc., Dupuy Storage & Forwarding and Silocaf. The largest coffee-roasting plant in the world, operated by Folgers, is located in New Orleans East.

Like Houston, New Orleans is located in proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the many oil rigs that 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 Moilbbl/d, the second highest in the nation after Texas. Louisiana's numerous ports include the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), which is capable of receiving ultra large oil tankers. Given the quantity of oil importing, Louisiana is home to many major pipelines supplying the nation: Crude Oil (Exxon, Chevron, BP, Texaco, Shell, Scurloch-Permian, Mid-Valley, Calumet, Conoco, Koch Industries, Unocal, U.S. Dept. of Energy, Locap); Product (TEPPCO Partners, Colonial, Plantation, Explorer, Texaco, Collins); and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Dixie, TEPPCO, Black Lake, Koch, Chevron, Dynegy, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Dow Chemical Company, Bridgeline, FMP, Tejas, Texaco, UTP). Several major energy companies have regional headquarters in the city or its suburbs, including Royal Dutch Shell, Eni and Chevron. Numerous other energy producers and oilfield services companies are also headquartered in the city or region, and the sector supports a large professional services base of specialized engineering and design firms, as well as an office for the federal government's Minerals Management Service.

The city is the home to a single Fortune 500 company: Entergy, a power generation utility and nuclear powerplant operations specialist. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the city lost its other Fortune 500 company, Freeport-McMoRan, when it merged its copper and gold exploration unit with an Arizona company and relocated that division to Phoenix, Arizona. Its McMoRan Exploration affiliate remains headquartered in New Orleans. Other companies either headquartered or with significant operations in New Orleans include: Pan American Life Insurance, Pool Corp, Rolls-Royce, Newpark Resources, AT&T, TurboSquid, iSeatz, IBM, Navtech, Superior Energy Services, Textron Marine & Land Systems, McDermott International, Pellerin Milnor, Lockheed Martin, Imperial Trading, Laitram, Harrah's Entertainment, Stewart Enterprises, Edison Chouest Offshore, Zatarain's, Waldemar S. Nelson & Co., Whitney National Bank, Capital One, Tidewater Marine, Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, Parsons Brinckerhoff, MWH Global, CH2M HILL, Energy Partners Ltd. and The Receivables Exchange.

Tourism is another staple of the city's economy. Perhaps more visible than any other sector, New Orleans' tourist and convention industry is a $5.5 billion juggernaut that accounts for 40 percent of New Orleans' tax revenues. In 2004, the hospitality industry employed 85,000 people, making it New Orleans' top economic sector as measured by employment totals. the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Ochsner Health System 10,000
2 Tulane University 3,700
3 Acme Truck Line 2,100
4 Al Copeland Investments 2,071
5 Vinson Guard Services 1,700
6 Touro Infirmary 1,514
7 American Nursing Services 1,500
7 Boh Bros. Construction 1,500
9 Laitram 1,166
10 United States Services Group 1,004

Demographics


According to the 2010 Census, 343,829 people and 189,896 households were in New Orleans. The racial and ethnic makeup of the city was 60.2% African American, 33.0% White, 2.9% Asian (1.7% Vietnamese, 0.3% Indian, 0.3% Chinese, 0.1% Filipino, 0.1% Korean), 0.0% Pacific Islander, and 1.7% were people of two or more races. People of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.3% of the population; 1.3% of New Orleans is Mexican, 1.3% Honduran, 0.4% Cuban, 0.3% Puerto Rican, and 0.3% Nicaraguan.

The last population estimate before Hurricane Katrina was 454,865, as of July 1, 2005. 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, representing about 70% of pre-Katrina population. More recently, the Census Bureau revised upward its 2008 population estimate for the city, to 336,644 inhabitants. Janet Murguía, president and chief executive officer of the National Council of La Raza, stated that there could be up to 120,000 Hispanic workers in New Orleans. In June 2007, one study stated that the Hispanic population had risen from 15,000, pre-Katrina, to over 50,000.

A recent article released by The Times-Picayune indicated that the metropolitan area had undergone a recent influx of 5,300 households in the later half of 2008, bringing the population to around 469,605 households or 88.1% of its pre-Katrina levels. While the area's population has been on an upward trajectory since the storm, much of that growth was attributed to residents returning after Katrina. Many observers predicted that growth would taper off, but the data center's analysis suggests that New Orleans and the surrounding parishes are benefiting from an economic migration resulting from the global financial crisis of 2008–2009.

Religion

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

New Orleans also famously has a presence of its distinctive variety of Louisiana Voodoo, due in part to syncretism with Roman Catholic beliefs, the fame of voodoo practitioner Marie Laveau, and New Orleans' distinctly Caribbean cultural influences. Although the exotic image of Voodoo within the city has been highly promoted by the tourism industry, there are only a small number of serious adherents to the religion.

New Orleans' pre-Katrina population of 10,000 Jews has now dropped to 7,000. In the wake of Katrina, all New Orleans synagogues lost members, but were able to re-open in their original locations, except for Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest and most prominent Orthodox synagogue in the New Orleans region. Beth Israel's building in Lakeview was destroyed by flooding, and it is currently in temporary quarters in Metairie.

Government

New Orleans has a mayor-council government. The city council consists of seven council members, who are elected by district and two at-large councilmembers. The current mayor, Mitch Landrieu, was elected on February 6, 2010 and assumed office on May 3, 2010. The Orleans Parish Civil Sheriff's Office serves papers involving lawsuits and provides security for the Civil District Court and Juvenile Courts. The Criminal Sheriff, Marlin Gusman, maintains the parish prison system, provides security for the Criminal District Court, and provides backup for the New Orleans Police Department on an as-needed basis.

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

New Orleans' government is now largely centralized in the city council and mayor's office, but it maintains a number of relics from earlier systems when various sections of the city ran much of their affairs separately. For example, New Orleans has seven elected tax assessors, each with their own staff, representing various districts of the city, rather than one centralized office. A constitutional amendment passed on November 7, 2006, will consolidate the seven assessors into one by 2010. On February 18, 2010, Errol Williams was elected as the first city-wide assessor. The New Orleans government operates both a fire department and the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services.

Federal representation

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in New Orleans. The New Orleans Main Post Office is at 701 Loyola Avenue in the Central Business District.

Crime and safety

Crime has been recognized as an ongoing problem for New Orleans, although the issue is outside the view of most visitors to the city: as in other cities in the United States of comparable size, the incidence of homicide and other violent crimes is highly concentrated in certain impoverished neighborhoods, such as housing projects.

Across New Orleans, homicides peaked in 1994 at 86 murders per 100,000 residents. By 2009, despite a 17% decrease in violent crime in the city, the homicide rate remained among the highest in the United States, at between 55 and 64 per 100,000 residents. In 2010, New Orleans was 49 per 100,000.

The violent crime rate was also a key issue in the city's 2010 mayoral race. In January 2007, several thousand New Orleans residents marched through city streets and gathered at City Hall for a rally demanding police and city leaders tackle the crime problem. Mayor Ray Nagin said he was "totally and solely focused" on addressing the problem. Later, the city implemented checkpoints during late night hours in problem areas.

Education

Schools

New Orleans Public Schools (NOPS) is the name given to the city's public school system. Pre-Katrina, NOPS was one of the area's largest systems (along with the Jefferson Parish public school system). In the years leading up to Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans public school system 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 public schools within the city limits of New Orleans showed reasonably good performance at the beginning of the 21st century.

Following Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana took over most of the schools within the system (all schools that fell into a nominal "worst-performing" metric); many of these schools, in addition to others that were not subject to state takeover, were subsequently granted operating charters giving them administrative independence from the Orleans Parish School Board, the Recovery School District and/or the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE). Presently, the majority of public school students in the NOPS system attend these independent public charter schools, the highest percentage in the nation.

The last few years have witnessed significant and sustained gains in student achievement, as outside operators like KIPP, the Algiers Charter School Network, and the Capital One - University of New Orleans Charter School Network have assumed control of dozens of schools. The most recent release of annual school performance scores (October 2009) demonstrated continued growth in the academic performance of New Orleans' public schools. If the scores of all public schools in New Orleans (Orleans Parish School Board-chartered, Recovery School District-chartered, Recovery School District-operated, etc.) are considered, an overall school district performance score of 70.6 results. This score represents a 6% increase over an equivalent 2008 metric, and a 24% improvement when measured against an equivalent pre-Katrina (2004) metric, when a district score of 56.9 was posted. Notably, this score of 70.6 approaches the score (78.4) posted in 2009 by the adjacent, suburban Jefferson Parish public school system, though that system's performance score is itself below the state average of 91.

This longstanding pattern is changing, however, as the NOPS system is engaged in the most promising and far-reaching public school reforms in the nation, reforms aimed at decentralizing power away from the pre-Katrina school board central bureaucracy to individual school principals and independent public charter school boards, monitoring charter school performance by granting renewable, five-year operating contracts permitting the closure of those not succeeding, and vesting choice in parents of public schools students, allowing them to enroll their children in almost any school in the district.

Colleges and universities

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

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, the Law Library of Louisiana, and the Earl K. Long Library at the University of New Orleans.

The New Orleans Public Library includes 13 locations, most of which were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. However, only four libraries remained closed in 2007. The main library includes a Louisiana Division housing city archives and special collections.

Other research archives are located at the Historic New Orleans Collection and the Old U.S. Mint.

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

The Louisiana Historical Association was founded in New Orleans in 1889. It operated first at Howard Memorial Library. Then its own Memorial Hall was added to Howard Library. The design for the new building was undertaken by the New Orleans architect Thomas Sully.

Transportation

Streetcars

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

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

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

Bicycling

The city's flat landscape, simple street grid, and mild winters, facilitate bicycle ridership, helping to make New Orleans 8th among U.S. cities in its rate of bicycle and pedestrian transportation, and 6th in terms of the percentage of bicycling commuters. Also, the City's bicyclists benefit from being located at the start of the Mississippi River Trail, a 3000 mi bicycle path that stretches from the City's Audubon Park to Minnesota. The first 25 mi of the path, through Destrehan, Louisiana, is paved with a smooth macadam surface. Bicyclists looking to cross the River have free access to the City's ferries. Since the 2005 levee-breach, the City has actively sought to promote bicycling by constructing a $1.5 million bike trail from Mid-City to Lake Pontchartrain, and by adding over 37 mi of bicycle lanes to various streets, including St. Charles Avenue.

  • Innsbruck, Austria
  • Juan-les-Pins, France
  • Maracaibo, Venezuela
  • Matsue, Shimane, Japan
  • Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
  • Pointe-Noire, Republic of the Congo
  • San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina
  • Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Nicknames

The city's several nicknames are illustrative:

  • Crescent City alludes to the course of the Lower Mississippi River around and through the city.
  • The Big Easy was possibly a reference by musicians in the early 20th century to the relative ease of finding work there. It also may have originated in the Prohibition era, when the city was considered one big speak-easy due to the inability of the federal government to control alcohol sales in open violation of the 18th Amendment. The term was used by local columnist Betty Gillaud in the 1970s to contrast life in the city to that of New York City. The name also refers to New Orleans' status as a major city, at one time "one of the cheapest places in America to live."
  • The City that Care Forgot has been used since at least 1938, and refers to the outwardly easy-going, carefree nature of many of the residents.
  • America's Most Interesting City appears on welcome signs at the city limits.
  • Hollywood South is a reference to the large number of films, big and small, shot in the city since 2002. Since 2005 the nickname has also frequently been applied to Shreveport, in northwestern Louisiana, which became an important location for movie and television production after Hurricane Katrina displaced shooting in New Orleans.
  • The Northernmost Caribbean City is a reference from The Boston Globe, as well as other travel guides due in part to the similarities of culture with the Caribbean islands.<ref name="BostonGlobeNorthernmost"/>

See also

  • Hurricane on the Bayou (film)
  • Île d'Orléans, Louisiana
  • List of National Historic Landmarks in Louisiana
  • List of people from New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Mississippi Suite, the fourth movement is an orchestral portrayal of Mardi Gras of the streets of the French Quarter
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Orleans Parish, Louisiana
  • New Orleans in fiction
  • Orléans, France

External links



Source en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans