New Orleans is the largest urban area in Louisiana and is a major port city in the United States. It was founded by the French in 1718, and was named after the regent Philippe II, Duke of Orleans. The territory was then ceded to the Spanish after the Seven Years War and temporarily returned to France in 1803 briefly before Napoleon sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase. The city would be the site of one of the last battles of the War of 1812, when General Andrew Jackson held off the British capture of the city and port. New Orleans was also seized early during the Civil War, sparing it much of the destruction that other southern cities had endured. Since the city sits below sea level, flooding has always been a problem, however, New Orleans experienced unprecedented destruction when Hurricane Katrina destroyed many of the levees holding back water in 2005.
While the flooding did reduce the population of the city, New Orleans has mostly bounced back in the last decade from the destruction. Luckily, there is still plenty to do in the city. New Orleans is considered the birthplace of jazz, and every year holds the Jazz and Heritage Festival. Of course, the city is even more famous for Mardi Gras, which continued unabated even after the flooding. The city is also famous for its historical French Quarter, which is where some of the best architecture in the city can be found, as well as many walking tours, shopping, and of course, jazz.
New Orleans is also famous for its delicious creole food, which can be found throughout the city. Also, visitors typically will check out Café Du Monde for a cup of coffee and the instantly recognizable beignet, which is fried dough topped with powdered sugar. Also on the menu: shrimp po’ boy sandwiches, red beans and rice, and gumbo!
There are several ways to get around the city, most notably the streetcar lines made famous by Tennessee William’s play A Streetcar Named Desire. There are also ferries, and many residents opt to ride bicycles. The city is serviced both by Amtrak rail and by Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, named after the famous musician.