What You Need To Know

New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The population of the city was 343,829 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. The New Orleans metropolitan area (New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area) had a population of 1,167,764 in 2010 and was the 46th largest in the United States. The New Orleans–Metairie–Bogalusa Combined Statistical Area, a larger TRADING area, had a 2010 population of 1,452,502. The city is named after the Duke of Orleans, who reigned as Regent for Louis XV from 1715 to 1723, as it was established by French colonists and strongly influenced by their European culture. It is well known for its distinct French and Spanish 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, dating to French colonial times. The city is often referred to as the “most unique” in the United States. New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, straddling the Mississippi River. The city and Orleans Parish(French: paroisse d’Orléans) 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. Before Hurricane Katrina, Orleans Parish was the most populous parish in Louisiana. It now ranks third in population, trailing neighboring Jefferson Parish, and East Baton Rouge Parish.

Area: 858 km2

Population: 389,617

 

Currency

  • The Dollar is the official currency of New Orleans

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 U.S. cities of comparable size, the incidence of homicide and other violent crimes is highly concentrated in certain impoverished neighborhoods, such as housing projects. In 2012, Travel+Leisure named New Orleans the #2 “America’s Dirtiest City”, down from a #1 “Dirtiest” status of the previous year. The magazine surveyed both national readership and local residents, from a list of prominent cities having the most visible illegal littering, dumping, and other environmental crime conditions. 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 49.1 per 100,000, and in 2012, that number climbed to 53.2. This is the highest rate among cities of 250,000 population or larger. Offenders in New Orleans are almost exclusively black men, with 97% of the offenders being black and 95% being male. 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. Then-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. The murder rate climbed 14% higher in 2011 to 57.88 per 100,000 retaining its status as the ‘Murder Capital of the United States’ and rising to 21 in the world.

 Economy

New Orleans has 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 renowned for its cultural tourism. Greater New Orleans, Inc. (GNO, Inc.) acts as the first point-of-contact for regional economic development, coordinating between Louisiana’s Department of Economic Development and the various parochial business development agencies.

 

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. New Orleans is known for specialties like 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); and Po-boy  and Italian Muffuletta sandwiches; 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 local /ˈprɑːln/, a candy made with brown sugar, granulated sugar, cream, butter, and pecans. The city also has notable street food including the Asian inspired beef Yaka mein.

 

Language

Already a melting pot of various immigrant cultures – French, Spanish, German, African and Irish, to name a few – Louisiana Creole French was only one of many languages spoken in early New Orleans. French was especially prominent in early New Orleans, due to its longstanding presence in the region

Health

  • Healthcare in New Orleans includes a combination of hospitals, clinics, and other organization for the residents of New Orleans, Louisiana.

Transport

  • Bicycling

    The city’s flat landscape, simple street grid, and mild winters, facilitate bicycle ridership, helping to make New Orleans eighth among U.S. cities in its rate of bicycle and pedestrian transportation, and sixth in terms of the percentage of bicycling commuters.

  • Buses

    Public transportation in the city is operated by the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority (“RTA”). There are many bus routes connecting the city and suburban areas.

  • Roads

    New Orleans is served by Interstate 10, Interstate 610 and Interstate 510. I-10 travels east-west through the city as the Pontchartrain Expressway. In the far eastern part of the city, New Orleans East, it is known as the Eastern Expressway. I-610 provides a direct shortcut for traffic passing through New Orleans via I-10, allowing that traffic to bypass I-10’s southward curve. In the future, New Orleans will have another interstate highway, Interstate 49, which will be extended from its current terminus in Lafayette to the city.
  • Airports

    The metropolitan area is served by the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, located in the suburb of Kenner. New Orleans also has several regional airports located throughout the metropolitan area.

  • Rail

    The city is served by rail via Amtrak. The New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal is the central rail depot, and is served by three trains: the Crescent, operating between New Orleans and New York City; the City of New Orleans, operating between New Orleans and Chicago; and the Sunset Limited, operating through New Orleans between Orlando and Los Angeles.

  • Ferries

    Ferries connecting New Orleans with Algiers (left) and Gretna (right) New Orleans has had continuous ferry service since 1827, with three routes in current operation. The Canal Street Ferry (or Algiers Ferry) connects downtown New Orleans at the foot of Canal Street with the National Historic Landmark District of Algiers Point on the other side of the Mississippi River (“West Bank” in local parlance) and is popular with tourists and locals alike.

 

Tourist and convention business

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 city also hosts the World Cultural Economic Forum (WCEF). The forum, held annually at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center, is directed toward promoting cultural and economic development opportunities through the strategic convening of cultural ambassadors and leaders from around the world. The first WCEF took place in October 2008.

 

Tallest buildings

For much of its history, New Orleans’ skyline consisted of only low- and mid- rise structures. The soft soils of New Orleans are susceptible to subsidence, and there was doubt about the feasibility of constructing large high rises in such an environment. Developments in engineering throughout the twentieth century eventually made it possible to build sturdy foundations to support high rise structures in the city, and in the 1960s, the World Trade Center New Orleans and Plaza Tower were built, demonstrating the viability of tall skyscrapers in New Orleans. One Shell Square took its place as the city’s tallest building in 1972. The oil boom of the 1970s and early 1980s redefined New Orleans’ skyline with the development of the Poydras Street corridor. Today, most of New Orleans’ tallest buildings are clustered along Canal Street and Poydras Street in the Central Business District.

 

Tourism

New Orleans has many visitor attractions, from the world-renowned French Quarter; to St. Charles Avenue, (home of Tulane and Loyola Universities, the historic Pontchartrain Hotel, and many 19th-century mansions); to Magazine Street, with its boutique stores and antique shops. According to current travel guides, New Orleans is one of the top ten most-visited cities in the United States; 10.1 million visitors came to New Orleans in 2004.  Prior to Hurricane Katrina (2005), 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 boutiqueHOTELS, cocktail hours, singles/bar scenes, live music/concerts and bands, antique and vintage shops, cafés/coffee bars, neighborhood restaurants, and people watching. The city also ranked second for the following: friendliness (behind Charleston, South Carolina), gay-friendliness (behind San Francisco), bed and breakfast hotels/inns, and ethnic food. However, the city was voted last in terms of active [?] residents, and it placed near the bottom in cleanliness, safety, and as a family destination.

 

Weather

The climate of New Orleans is humid subtropical (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with short, generally mild winters and hot, humid summers; most suburbs and parts of Wards 9 and 15 fall in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 9a, while the city’s other 15 wards are rated 9b in whole. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 53.4 °F (11.9 °C) in January to 83.3 °F (28.5 °C) in July and August. Officially, as measured at New Orleans International Airport, temperature records range from 11 to 102 °F (−12 to 39 °C) on December 23, 1989 and August 22, 1980, respectively; Audubon Park has recorded temperatures ranging from 6 °F (−14 °C) on February 13, 1899 up to 104 °F (40 °C) on June 24, 2009. Dewpoints in the summer months (June–August) are relatively high, ranging from 71.1 to 73.4 °F (21.7 to 23.0 °C).

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