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This was my first trip outside Texas, from which came to live in Houston. It was a weekend week with three other colleagues and friends from the office.

We decided to come to New Orleans, among other things because it is the closest destinations and is totally different to what can be found in Texas in terms of environmental concerns.
Conduct for nearly six hours and on arrival we went to take something and see the progress. The streets were full of people drinking, singing, dancing ...
The truth is that if it were not for who was in the United States I would not be surprised by anything, because in my country is very normal, but for us it was a great novelty here. There was a tremendous ambientazo, so we will spend well.
The next morning a couple of us madrugamos something more to go see with a little detail that the city truly worthwhile. It seemed a European city rather than American, and it is normal for the impact of both Spain and France since they both belonged in that order.
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana.
The city is named after Philippe II, Duc d'Orléans, Regent of France, and is well known for its distinct French architecture, as well as its cross cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is also famous for its cuisine, music, and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the "most unique" city in America.
New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Mississippi River. The boundaries of the city and Orleans Parish are coterminous. 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.
La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, on land inhabited by the Chitimacha. 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. The French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris (1763) and remained under Spanish control until 1801, when it reverted to French control. All of the surviving 18th century architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) dates from this Spanish period. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Thereafter, the city grew rapidly with influxes of Americans, French, Creoles, Irish, Germans and Africans. Major commodity crops of sugar and cotton were cultivated with slave labor on large plantations outside the city.
The Haitian Revolution of 1804 established the second republic in the Western Hemisphere and the first led by blacks. Haitian refugees, both white and free people of color, arrived in New Orleans, often bringing slaves with them. While Governor Claiborne and other officials wanted to keep out more free black men, French Creoles wanted to increase the French-speaking population. As more refugees were allowed in Louisiana, Haitian émigrés who
had gone to Cuba also arrived. Nearly 90 percent of the new immigrants settled in New Orleans. The 1809 migration brought 2,731 whites; 3,102 free persons of African descent; and 3,226 enslaved refugees to the city, doubling its French-speaking population.
During the last campaign of the War of 1812, the British sent a force of 11,000 troops in an attempt to capture New Orleans. Despite great challenges, the young Andrew Jackson successfully cobbled together a motley crew of local militia, free blacks, US Army regulars, Kentucky riflemen, and local privateers to decisively defeat the British troops, led by Sir Edward Pakenham, in the Battle of New Orleans on 8 January 1815. However, it should be noted that the war had ended on 24 December of the previous year, a fact that was unknown to both sides.

As a principal port, New Orleans played a major role during the antebellum era in the Atlantic slave trade. Its port handled huge quantities of commodities for export from the interior and imported goods from other countries, which were warehoused and then transferred in New Orleans to smaller vessels and distributed the length and breadth of the vast Mississippi River watershed. The river in front of the city was filled with steamboats, flatboats, and sailing ships. Despite its dealings with the slave trade, New Orleans at the same time had the largest and most prosperous community of free persons of color in the nation, who were often educated and middle-class property owners.

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. Dwarfing in population the other cities in the antebellum South, New Orleans had, consequently, the largest slave mar
ket. Two-thirds of the more than one million slaves brought to the Deep South arrived via the forced migration of the internal slave trade. The money generated by sales of slaves in the Upper South has been estimated at fifteen percent of the value of the staple crop economy. The slaves represented half a billion dollars in property, and an ancillary economy grew up around the trade in slaves — for transportation, housing and clothing, fees, etc., estimated at 13.5 percent of the price per person. All of this amounted to tens of billions of dollars during the antebellum period, with New Orleans as a prime beneficiary.
New Orleans reached its most consequential position as an economic and population center in relation to other American cities in the decades prior to 1860; as late as that year it was the nation's fifth-largest city and by far the largest in the American South. 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. Consequently, New Orleans has periodically mounted attempts to regain its economic vigor and pre-eminence over the past 150 years, with varying degrees of success.

By the mid-20th century, New Orleanians were observing with concern that the city was even ceding its traditional ranking as the leading urban area in the South. By 1950, Houston, Dallas and Atlanta (along with Seattle, outside of the South) had s
urpassed New Orleans in size, and 1960 witnessed Miami's eclipse of New Orleans, even as New Orleans' population was recorded as reaching its historic peak by the 1960 Census. Like most older American cities in this period, New Orleans' center city commenced losing inhabitants, though the New Orleans metropolitan area continued expanding in population - just never as rapidly as its metropolitan peers in the Sun Belt. While the port remained one of the largest in the nation, automation and containerization resulted in significant job losses. The city's relative fall in stature meant that its former role as banker and financial services provider to the South was inexorably supplanted by competing companies in its now-larger peer cities. New Orleans' economy was always more of a trade-based, commercial entrepot than manufacturing powerhouse, but the city's smallish manufacturing sector also shrank in the post-World War II period. Despite some economic development successes under the administrations of DeLesseps "Chep" Morrison (1946–1961) and Vic Schiro (1961–1970), metropolitan New Orleans' growth rate consistently lagged behind the more vigorous Sun Belt cities.
New Orleans was vulnerable to flooding even before the city's footprint departed from the natural high ground near the Mississippi River. In the late 20th century, however, scientists and New Orleans residents gradually became aware of the city's increased vulnerability. In 1965, Hurricane Betsy killed dozens of residents, even though the majority of the city remained dry. The rain-induced flood of May 8, 1995 demonstrated the weakness of the pumping system. After that event, measures were undertaken to dramatically upgrade pumping capacity. By the 1980s and 90s, it was worrisomely clear that extensive, rapid and ongoing erosion of the marshlands and swamp surrounding New Orleans especially that related to the Mississippi River – Gulf Outlet Canal had left the city far more exposed to hurricane-induced catastrophic storm surges than it had ever before been in its history.

November 2007

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