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New Orleans, Louisiana
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Nickname: ""The Crescent City", "The Big Easy", "The City That Care Forgot""
Location in the State of Louisiana and the United States
Coordinates 29°57'53?N, 90°4'14?W
Parish United States
Orleans Parish, Louisiana
Mayor Ray Nagin (D)
City 350.2 mi² / 907.0 km²
Land 180.6 mi² / 467.6 km²
Water 169.7 mi² / 439.4 km²
City (2000) 484,674
Elevation -2 to 6 m
Summer (DST) CST (UTC-6)
New Orleans (local pronunciations: /nu?'??li?nz/, /nu?'??li??nz/, or /nu?'??l?nz/) (French: La Nouvelle-Orléans, pronounced /la nuv?l ??le?~/ in standard French accent) is a major United States port city and historically the largest city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is in southeastern Louisiana along the Mississippi River, just south of Lake Pontchartrain, and is coextensive with Orleans Parish. New Orleans is named after the historical Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, and is one of the oldest and most historic cities in the United States.
New Orleans is known for its multicultural heritage as well as its music and cuisine. It is considered the birthplace of jazz. Its status as a world-famous tourist destination is due in part to its architecture and its annual Mardi Gras and other celebrations.
The city's several nicknames are illustrative. "Crescent City" alludes to the course of the Mississippi River around and through the city; "The Big Easy" is a reference by musicians to the relative ease of finding work there; and "The City that Care Forgot" refers to the outwardly easy-going, carefree nature of many of the residents. The most recent U.S. census put New Orleans' population at 484,674 and the population of Greater New Orleans at 1,337,726.
2 Geography and climate
7.2 Colleges and universities
8.2 Tribute "City"
8.6 Sites of interest
9.1 Notable buildings
Sign at Jackson Square in the French QuarterMain article: History of New Orleans
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 of its relatively high elevation along the flood-prone banks of the Lower Mississippi River and its location adjacent to a Native American trading route and portage between the river and Lake Pontchartrain.
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 French Quarter dates from this Spanish period. Louisiana reverted to French control in 1801, but two years later Napoleon sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. The city grew rapidly, with influxes of Americans, French and Creole French.
During the War of 1812 the British sent a force to try to conquer the city. The British were defeated by American forces led by Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. However, a peace treaty was signed between the United States and Britain on December 24, 1814, and news of the treaty did not reach the United States in time to prevent the battle from occurring.
1888 German map of New OrleansThe population of the city doubled in the 1830s, and by 1840 the city's population was over 100,000—one of the largest cities in the U.S. Population growth was frequently interrupted by yellow fever epidemics, the last of which occurred in 1905.
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 color in the South. Early in the American Civil War New Orleans was captured by the Union. Ironically, 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 theretofore 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.
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 vulnerablility. Hurricane Betsy in 1965 had killed dozens of residents. The rain-induced 1995 flood demonstrated the weakness of the pumping system.
A view across Uptown New Orleans, with the Central Business District in the background (1990s).By the time Hurricane Katrina approached the city at the end of August 2005, most residents had evacuated. Storm surge pushed ashore by the hurricane caused the city to suffer the worst civil engineering disaster in American history. Floodwalls constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers failed, and 80% of the city flooded. Tens of thousands of remaining residents were rescued by helicopter or otherwise made their way to shelters of last resort at the Superdome or the convention center. Over 1,300 people died.
The city was declared off-limits to residents while clean-up efforts began. The approach of Hurricane Rita caused repopulation efforts to be postponed, and the Lower Ninth Ward was reflooded by Rita's storm surge. By October 1, parts of the city accounting for about one-third of the population of New Orleans had been reopened.
As of May 2006, efforts continue to clean up debris, and restore infrastructure. While most of the city has reopened to residents, and areas which suffered moderate damage have substantially resumed functioning, the parts of town most severely damaged still have irregular utilities and city services, and the most severely damaged section of the Lower Ninth Ward is still not officially open for residents to return to live.
See also: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans and Drainage in New Orleans
Geography and climate
Vertical cross-section of New Orleans, showing maximum levee height of 23 feet (7 m).New Orleans is located at 29°57'53?N, 90°4'14?W (29.964722, -90.070556)GR1 on the banks of the Mississippi River, approximately 100 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 907.0 km² (350.2 mi²). 467.6 km² (180.6 mi²) of it is land and 439.4 km² (169.7 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 48.45% water.
The city is located in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, mostly between the Mississippi River in the south and Lake Pontchartrain in the north. The area along the river is characterized by ridges and hollows. Fields atop the ridges along the river are referred to as the "frontlands." The land contour slopes away from the frontlands to the "backlands", comprised of clay and silt.
The city of New Orleans has the lowest elevation in the state of Louisiana, and the lowest point in the United States, after Death Valley and the Salton Sea. Much of the city is one to ten feet (0.3 to 3 m) below sea level. Some 45% of the city is above sea level. These were the areas developed before 1900. Rainwater is pumped into Lake Pontchartrain via a series of canals lined by levees, dikes, and floodwalls. Because of the city's high water table, most houses do not have basements. In the cemeteries, most crypts are above ground.
New Orleans by the riverSee also: Wards of New Orleans and New Orleans neighborhoods
The Central Business District of New Orleans is located immediately north and west of the Mississippi River, and was historically called the "American Quarter." Most streets in this area fan out from a central point in the city. Major streets of the area include Canal Street and Poydras Street. In the local parlance "downtown" means downriver from Canal Street, while "uptown" means upriver from Canal Street. Downtown neighborhoods include the French Quarter, Treme, Faubourg Marigny, Bywater, the 7th Ward, and the Lower 9th Ward. Uptown neighborhoods include the Garden District, the Irish Channel, the University District, Carrollton, Gert Town, Fontainebleau, and Broadmoor.
Other major districts within the city include Bayou St. John, Mid City, Gentilly, Lakeview, Lakefront, New Orleans East, The upper 9th Ward and Algiers.
Parishes located adjacent to the city of New Orleans include St. Tammany Parish to the north, St. Bernard Parish to the south and east, Plaquemines Parish to the southwest, and Jefferson Parish to the south and west.
A true-color satellite image of New Orleans taken on NASA's Landsat 7The climate of New Orleans is subtropical, with 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 11.0°F (-11.6°C) on December 23, 1989. The highest recorded temperature was 102.0°F (38.9°C) on August 22, 1980. The average precipitation is 59.74 inches (1520 mm) annually.
On rare occasions, snow will fall. Most recently, a trace of snow fell on Christmas in 2004, during the 2004 Christmas Eve Snowstorm. On December 25, a combination of rain, sleet, and snow fell on the city, leaving some bridges icy. Before that, the last white Christmas was in 1954, and brought 4.5 inches (110 mm). The last significant snowfall in New Orleans fell on December 22, 1989, when most of the city received 1 or 2 inches of snow.
Note: Many Hurricane Katrina evacuees, though they have not returned, remain residents of the city.
Projections of the city's eventual population following reconstruction are highly speculative. The 2000 U.S. Census figures presented here are the most recent verifiable data for the city's population. A January 2006 survey pegged the population at approximately 200,000.
City of New Orleans
Population by year
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 484,674 people, 188,251 households, and 112,950 families residing in the city. The most recent (2004) population estimate for the city is 462,269. The population density was 1,036.4/km² (2,684.3/mi²). There were 215,091 housing units at an average density of 459.9/km² (1,191.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 67.25% African American, 28.05% White, 0.20% Native American, 2.26% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.93% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. 3.06% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
New Orleans contains many distinctive neighborhoods.The population of Greater New Orleans stood at 1,337,726 in 2000, making it the 35th largest metropolitan area in the United States. These population statistics are based on legal residents of the city. But due to the enormous annual tourist flow, the number of people inside the city at a given time, such as Mardi Gras season, tends to exceed these numbers sometimes by the hundreds of thousands.
There were 188,251 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.8% were married couples living together, 24.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 40.0% were non-families, 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.23.
The age distribution of the city's population is 26.7% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,133, and the median income for a family was $32,338. Males had a median income of $30,862 versus $23,768 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,258. 27.9% of the population and 23.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 40.3% of those under the age of 18 and 19.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The population of New Orleans peaked in 1960. Since then, suburban parishes such as Jefferson and St. Tammany have increased in population.
An analysis by Brown University sociologist John R. Logan in January of 2006 suggests that as many as 50% of whites and 80% of blacks displaced by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath may relocate permanently.
New Orleans has a mayor-council government. The city council consists of five councilmembers who are elected by district and two at large councilmembers. Mayor C. Ray Nagin, Jr. was elected in May 2002, and is reelected in the mayoral election of April 22, 2006.
The New Orleans Police Department provides professional police services to the public in order to maintain order and protect life and property. The Orleans Parish Civil Sheriff's Office serves (delivers) papers involving lawsuits. The Criminal Sheriff's Office maintains the parish prison system as well as the French Quarter patrol.
The city of New Orleans and the parish of Orleans operate as a merged city-parish government.GR6 Before the city of New Orleans became co-extensive with Orleans Parish, Orleans Parish was home to numerous smaller communities. Some of these communities within Orleans Parish have historically had separate identities from the city of New Orleans, such as Irish Bayou and Carrollton. Algiers 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.
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.
See also: Mayors of New Orleans
A tanker on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.New Orleans is one of the most visited cities in the United States, and tourism is a major staple in the area's economy. Approximately 14 million people visit New Orleans each year. The city's colorful Carnival celebrations during the pre-Lenten season, centered on the French Quarter, draw particularly large crowds. Other major tourist events and attractions in the city include Mardi Gras, the Sugar Bowl, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Voodoo Fest, Southern Decadence (one of the largest annual Gay/Lesbian celebrations in the world), and the Essence Festival.
New Orleans is also an industrial and distribution center, and one of the busiest seaports in the world. The Port of New Orleans is the largest U.S. port for several major commodities including rubber, cement and coffee.
Like Houston, 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 energy companies that have their regional headquarters in the city, including BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and Shell Oil Company. The city is the home and worldwide headquarters of two Fortune 500 companies: Entergy Corporation, an energy and infrastructure providing company, and Freeport-McMoRan, a copper and gold exploration company.
The federal government has a significant presence in the area. The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility is located in the eastern portion of Orleans Parish. The facility is operated by Lockheed-Martin and is a large manufacturing facility where external fuel tanks for space shuttles are produced. The Michoud Assembly Facility also houses the National Finance Center operated by the USDA.
Other companies with a significant presence or base in New Orleans include BellSouth, Hibernia Corp., IBM, Navtech, Harrah's (downtown casino), Popeye's Fried Chicken, and Zatarain's.
New Orleans has a high violent crime rate. Its homicide rate has consistently ranked in the top five of large cities in the country since the 1980s. In 1994, 421 people were killed (85.8 per 100,000 people), a homicide rate which has not been matched by any major city to date. The homicide rate rose and fell year to year throughout the late 1990s, but the overall trend from 1994 to 1999 was a steady reduction in homicides.
From 1999 to 2004, the homicide rate again increased. New Orleans had the highest murder rate of any major American city in 2002 (53.3 per 100,000 people). In 2004, there were 275 murders reported.
After Hurricane Katrina, media attention focused on the reduced violent crime rate following the exodus of many New Orleanians. That trend is beginning to reverse itself as more people return to the city, although calculating the homicide rate remains difficult given that no authoritative source can cite a total population figure.
As in other U.S. cities of comparable size, the incidence of homicide and other violent crimes is highly concentrated in certain city neighborhoods that are sites of open air drug trade. Most murder victims have criminal records. In 2003, most victims in New Orleans were killed within three months of their last arrest. The homicide rate for the New Orleans metropolitan statistical area, which includes the suburbs, was 24.4 per 100,000 in 2002.
New Orleans Public Schools, the city's school district, is one of the area's largest school districts. NOPS contains approximately 100 individual schools. Following Hurricane Katrina, the state of Louisiana took over most of the schools within the system (all schools that fell into a certain "worst-performing" metric); about 20 new charter schools have also been started since the storm, educating about 15,000 students.
The Greater New Orleans area has approximately 200 parochial schools.
Colleges and universities
Several institutions of higher education also exist within the city, including University of New Orleans, Tulane University, Loyola University New Orleans, Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Medical School, and Our Lady of Holy Cross College. Other schools include Delgado Community College, Nunez Community College, Culinary Institute of New Orleans, Herzing College, Commonwealth University, and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
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 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. 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.
Balcony in New Orleans
New Orleans is usually pronounced by locals as "noo-AW-lyenz," "noo-AW-linz," "noo-OR-linz," or "noo-OR-lyenz." The tendency among people around the world to say "noo-or-LEENZ" stems from the use of that pronunciation by singers and songwriters, who find it easy to rhyme. The pronunciation "NAW-linz" is likewise not generally used nor liked by locals but has been popularized by the tourist trade.
The distinctive local accent is unlike either Cajun or the stereotypical Southern accent so often misportrayed by film and television actors. It does, like earlier Southern Englishes, feature frequent deletion of post-vocalic "r". It is similar to a New York "Brooklynese" accent to people unfamiliar with it. There are many theories to how the accent came to be, but it likely results from New Orleans' geographic isolation by water, and the fact that New Orleans was a major port of entry into the United States throughout the 19th century. Many of the immigrant groups who reside in Brooklyn also reside in New Orleans, with Irish, Italians, and Germans being among the largest groups.
The prestige associated with being from New Orleans by many residents is likely a factor in the linguistic assimilation of the ethnically divergent population. This distinctive accent is dying out generation by generation in the city (but remains very strong in the surrounding Parishes). As with many sociolinguistic artifacts, it is usually attested much more strongly by older members of the population. One subtype of the New Orleans accent is sometimes identified as Yat (from "Where y'at). This word is not used as a generalized term for the New Orleans accent, and is generally reserved for the strongest varieties. Also notable are lexical items specific to the city, such as "lagniappe" (pronounced LAN-yap) meaning "a little something extra," "makin' groceries" for grocery shopping, or "neutral ground" for a street median.
The culture of the city has had a profound impact on many people, one of which was Walt Disney, who built a replica of the French Quarter called New Orleans Square in his park Disneyland in 1966, with buildings and landscaping fitting that of 19th Century New Orleans set upon the park's Rivers of America port. When it opened, Walt Disney had then New Orleans mayor, Victor H. Schiro be made honorary mayor of New Orleans Square, and Schiro, in turn, made Disney an honorary citizen of the real New Orleans.
Mounted Krewe Officers in the Thoth Parade during Mardi Gras.Greater New Orleans is home to numerous year-around celebrations, including Mardi Gras, New Year's Eve celebrations, and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. 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"), held just before the beginning of the Catholic 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 French Quarter (Vieux Carré, translated "Old Square"), a walking parade aptly named Krewe du Vieux.
The largest of the city's many musical festivals is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Commonly referred to simply as "Jazz Fest", it is one of the largest music festivals in the nation, and features crowds coming from all over the world to experience music, food, arts, and crafts. Despite the name, it features not only jazz but a large variety of music, including both native Louisiana music and nationally-known popular music artists.
Louis Armstrong, famous New Orleans Jazz musician.New Orleans has always been a significant center for music with its intertwined European, Latin American, and African-American cultures. The city engendered jazz with its brass bands. Decades later it was home to a distinctive brand of rhythm and blues that contributed greatly to the growth of rock and roll. In addition, the nearby countryside is the home of Cajun music, Zydeco music, and Delta blues.
The city also created its own spin on the old tradition of military brass band funerals; traditional New Orleans funerals with music feature sad music (mostly dirges and hymns) on the way to the cemetery and happy music (hot jazz) on the way back. Such traditional musical funerals still take place when a local musician, a member of a club, krewe, or benevolent society, or a noted dignitary has passed. Until the 1990s most locals preferred to call these "funerals with music," but out of town visitors have long dubbed them "jazz funerals." Younger bands, especially those based in the Treme neighborhood, have embraced the term and now have funerals featuring only jazz music.
The major daily newspaper is the New Orleans Times-Picayune, publishing since 1837. Weekly publications include The Louisiana Weekly and Gambit Weekly.
Greater New Orleans is well served by television and radio. The market is the 43rd largest Designated Market Area (DMA) in the U.S., serving 672,150 homes and 0.610% of the U.S. Major television network affiliates serving the area include WWL 4 (CBS), WGNO 26 (ABC), WDSU 6 (NBC), WVUE 8 (FOX), WNOL 38 (WB), WUPL 54 (UPN), and WPXL 49 (PAX). PBS stations include WYES 12 and WLAE 32. WHNO 20 also operates as an independent station in the area, providing mainly religious programming.
Radio stations serving Greater New Orleans include:
Jazz: WWNO-FM (88.9), WWOZ-FM (90.7), WTUL-FM (91.5)
Classical: WWNO-FM (89.9)
Country: WNOE-FM (101.1)
Contemporary: KLRZ-FM (100.3), WLMG-FM (101.9), WDVW-FM (92.3)
Gospel/Christian: KHEV-FM (104.1), WYLD-AM (940), WBSN-FM (89.1), WLNO-AM (1060), WSHO-FM (800), WOPR-FM (94.9), WVOG-AM (600)
Latino: KGLA-AM (1540), WFNO-FM (830)
Oldies: WJSH-FM (104.7)
Public: WRBH-FM (88.3), WWNO-FM (89.9)
Rock: KKND-FM (106.7), WRNO-FM (99.5), WEZB-FM (97.1), WKBU-FM (95.7)
Sports: WODT-AM (1280)
Talk: WWL-AM (870), WWL-FM (105.3), WSMB-AM (1350), WIST-AM (690)
Urban/Urban Contemporary: KMEZ-FM (102.9),KNOU-FM (104.5), WQUE-FM (93.3), WYLD-FM (98.5)
Sites of interest
Bourbon Street, New Orleans, in 2003, looking towards Canal Street.Greater New Orleans has many major attractions, from the world-renowned Bourbon Street and the French Quarter's notorious nightlife, St. Charles Avenue (home of Tulane and Loyola Universities), and many stately 19th century mansions.
Favorite tourist scenes in New Orleans include the French Quarter (known locally as "the Quarter"), which dates from the French and Spanish eras and is bounded by the Mississippi River and Rampart Street, Canal Street and Esplanade Ave. The French Quarter contains many popular hotels, bars, and nightclubs, most notably around Bourbon Street. Other notable tourist attractions in the quarter include Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, the French Market (including the Café du Monde, famous for café au lait and beignets), and jazz at Preservation Hall.
Also located near the French Quarter is the old New Orleans Mint, formerly a branch of the United States Mint, now operates as a museum. The National D-Day Museum is a relatively new museum (opened on June 6, 2000) dedicated to providing information and materials related to the allied invasion of Normandy, France. The Natchez is an authentic steamboat with a calliope which tours the Mississippi twice daily.
Art museums in the city include the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) in City Park and the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The Audubon Park and the Audubon Zoo are also located in the city of New Orleans. New Orleans is also noted for its many beautiful cemeteries. Some notable cemeteries in the city include Saint Louis Cemetery and Metairie Cemetery.
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.")
Significant gardens include Longue Vue House and Gardens and the New Orleans Botanical Garden.
The Louisiana Superdome, home to the New Orleans Saints.Club Sport Founded League Venue
New Orleans Saints Football 1967 NFL:NFC Louisiana Superdome
New Orleans Hornets Basketball 1988 (as Charlotte Hornets) NBA: Western Conference New Orleans Arena
New Orleans VooDoo Arena Football 2004 AFL New Orleans Arena
New Orleans Zephyrs Baseball 1902 Pacific Coast League Zephyr Field
The city also hosts two college football bowl games annually: the New Orleans Bowl and the Sugar Bowl. The city also holds the Bayou Classic, which is an annual college football game between Grambling State University and Southern University. Nine Super Bowls have been contested in New Orleans.
Historically, many teams have been formerly located in the city, including the New Orleans Pelicans baseball team (1887–1959), the New Orleans Breakers of the United States Football League, the New Orleans Night of the Arena Football League (1991–1992), and the New Orleans Brass ice hockey team (1997–2003). Former basketball teams were the New Orleans Buccaneers (c. 1967–1970), and the New Orleans Jazz (1974–1980) which became the Utah Jazz.
New Orleans is also home to Southern Yacht Club, located at West End on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Established in 1849, it is the second oldest yacht club in the United States. The building was severely damaged, first by storm surge and then by fire, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans' tallest building is the 51-story One Shell Square. The proposed 67-story Trump International Hotel & Tower would be the tallest building in the city and state at 700 feet (213 m).
Tallest buildings Name Stories Height
One Shell Square 51 697 ft (213 m)
Bank One Center 53 645 ft (197 m)
Crescent City Towers (former Plaza Tower) 45 531 ft (162 m)
Energy Centre 39 530 ft (162 m)
LL&E Tower 36 481 ft (147 m)
Sheraton New Orleans 48 479 ft (146 m)
New Orleans Marriott 42 449 ft (137 m)
Texaco Center 32 442 ft (135 m)
One Canal Place 32 440 ft (134 m)
1010 Common 31 438 ft (134 m)
The metropolitan area is served by Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, located approximately nine miles west of the city in the suburb of Kenner. Prior to Hurricane Katrina, it served millions of passengers on approximately 300 nonstop flights per day to or from destinations throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The airport also handled a significant amount of charter operations to/from Europe, with which it's had a significant degree of success in retrieving. As of June 2006, Armstrong International is projected to return to 57% of its pre-Katrina total traffic, by seat-count.
Within the city itself is Lakefront Airport, a small, general aviation airport, as well as the New Orleans Downtown Heliport, located on the roof of the Louisiana Superdome's parking garage. There are also several regional airports located throughout the metropolitan area.
The city is also served by rail via Amtrak. The New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal is the central rail depot, and it is served by three trains: the Crescent to New York City, the City of New Orleans to Chicago, Illinois, and the Sunset Limited from Orlando to Los Angeles.
In addition, the city is served by six Class I freight railroads. Union Pacific Railroad and BNSF Railway approach the city from the west, Norfolk Southern Railway and CSX from the east, and the Canadian National Railway and Kansas City Southern Railway from the north.
Public transportation in the city is operated by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority ("RTA"). In addition to the many bus routes connecting the city and suburban areas, there are three active streetcar lines moved by electric motors powered by DC wires overhead. The St. Charles line (green cars, formerly connecting New Orleans with the then independent suburb of Carrollton) is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in New Orleans and a historic landmark. The Riverfront line (also known as the Ladies in Red since the cars are painted red) runs parallel to the river from Canal Street through the French Quarter to the Convention Center above Julia Street in the Arts District. The Canal Street line uses the Riverfront line tracks from Esplanade Street to Canal Street, then branches off down Canal Street and ends at the cemeteries at City Park Avenue with a spur running from the intersection of Canal and Carrollton Avenue to the entrance of City Park at Esplanade near the entrance to the New Orleans Museum of Art.
The city's streetcars were also featured in the Tennessee Williams play, A Streetcar Named Desire. The streetcar line to Desire Street became a bus line in 1948. There are proposals to revive a Desire light rail streetcar line.
As of April 2006, the St. Charles streetcar line is still not operational due to overhead wire damage from Hurricane Katrina. The Canal line is functioning, but the red cars were flooded by the hurricane, so the green cars are currently running on the Canal line.
Recently, many have proposed extending New Orleans's public transit system by adding light rail routes from downtown along Airline Highway through the airport to Baton Rouge and from downtown to Slidell and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Proponents of this idea claim that these new routes would boost the region's economy, which has been badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and serve as an evacuation option for hospital patients out of the city.
Roads in the city are arranged in a radial grid pattern, emanating out to various parts of town from a central point north of the Central Business District. I-10 loops east-west through the city, and traverses the northern edge of the Central Business District, taking traffic west towards Baton Rouge, Louisiana and east-northeast to Slidell, Louisiana. The "Highrise" carries I-10 across the Industrial Canal.
Farther east, the I-10 connects New Orleans East with Slidell, bridging an arm of Lake Pontchartrain. This crossing, a dual causeway known as the "Twin Spans," was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina. By October 2005 single lanes in each direction had been reopened on the eastbound span. The westbound span was reopened in early January 2006. The Twin Spans is to be replaced with a new six-lane bridge, expected to be completed in 2009. As I-10 heads south from Metairie towards the Central Business District, it is called the Pontchartrain Expressway.
I-610 provides a direct shortcut across the northern central part of the city, allowing through traffic to bypass I-10's L-shaped route which traverses the more congested areas.
US 90 leaves the Central Business District and goes west through the city's Uptown neighborhood via South Claiborne Avenue, crossing the Missisisppi River at the Huey P. Long Bridge near the unincorporated suburb of Jefferson. I-10 is also connected to I-12, north of Lake Pontchartrain, via the tolled Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, consisting of two parallel bridges, which are also the longest in the world.
The interstate highways serving New Orleans were laid out in the middle of the 20th century, a time when a larger proportion of Gulf of Mexico freight traffic passed through New Orleans. I-10 goes west to Houston and beyond and east to Mobile and Florida, with I-59 and I-55 heading northward to Birmingham and Jackson, respectively. Later, I-12 created a shortcut that avoided crossing Lake Pontchartrain. In Slidell, I-59 and I-12 both end at an interchange with I-10, which turns southward toward New Orleans while I-12 continues straight to rejoin I-10 in Baton Rouge. There are also plans to extend I-49 from Lafayette to New Orleans. The route would follow U.S. Highway 90 and the Westbank Expressway, placing the southern terminus at I-10 behind the Superdome. The southern termini of US Highways 11 and 61 are in New Orleans, and US 51 terminates just west of the city, Laplace.
The Pontchartrain Expressway (U.S. Highway 90's business route), becomes the Westbank Expressway south of the Mississippi River. Along its route west then northwest from the Crescent City Connection bridge to its terminus at I-10 near the Superdome, the Pontchartrain Expressway follows the path of the former New Basin Canal, dug in the 19th century by thousands of immigrant (mostly Irish) laborers, and filled in in 1947. Some of the older warehouse structures still standing along the Pontchartrain Expressway can trace their roots to their days along the banks of the canal.
Roads along the Mississippi River were the first to carry overland traffic into New Orleans. US 51 (the "Old Hammond Highway"), US 90, and US 11 followed old Indian routes along slight ridges to become the first automotive highways. Louisiana governor Huey P. Long championed Airline Highway (US 61) to bypass the circuitous river road between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The route of today's US 90 east of New Orleans once included a ferry crossing at Fort Pike. Governor Long built public draw bridges at the Rigolets as political retaliation against the operators of a then-private toll bridge across Lake Pontchartrain. Long achieved his objective: the US 11 toll bridge failed commercially and is owned by the State. US 11 was the escape route for Ignatius J. Reilly at the end of John Kennedy Toole's novel, A Confederacy of Dunces.
West of New Orleans, the Ruddock exit at milepost 6 of I-55 is the only trace left of a thriving community that was literally washed away by the hurricane of September 1915. Frenier Beach Hurricane Storm Surge Revisited In the 1960s, a controversial "Dixie Freeway" that would have been designated I-410 would have created an "outer loop" encompassing St. Bernard Parish, the westbank areas of New Orleans and Jefferson, and back across the river in St. Charles Parish where I-310 now runs. Environmental concern for the wetlands south of New Orleans and economic considerations derailed those plans.
For more information on New Orleans, Louisiana, please visit Wikipedia.
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