New Orleans History
New Orleans is a consolidated city-county located in Louisiana along the Mississippi River. New Orleans is the most populated city in Louisiana, with an estimated population count of 393,292 in 2017. The city is also a major port and is considered a commercial and economic hub for the Gulf Coast Region.
New Orleans is known around the world for its music, cuisine, unique dialect, and celebrations and festivals. Because Louisiana is a melting pot of many different cultures, Louisiana Creole cuisine blends French, German, Italian, West African, Amerindian, and Spanish influences as well as influences from the South. Louisiana was founded by the French, which is why the food typically has a French aesthetic, with emphasis on slow-cooking and elaborate sauces.
New Orleans English is American English which is native to New Orleans and its metropolitan area. Natives of the region actually speak a variety of dialects, such as Southern U.S. English, African American Vernacular English, Cajun English, and Yat. While “Yat” typically refers to the accents that are particularly reminiscent of the working-class New York accent, some people use it as a regional marker to define the speech heard in certain parts of New Orleans.
In 1718, the city of New Orleans was founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and the French Mississippi Company. The land was named in honor of the Duke of Orléans and Reagent of the Kingdom of France, Philippe II. In 1763, the French colony ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris. This treaty formally ended the Seven Years’ War (also known as the French and Indian War) and marked the start of British dominance outside of Europe.
During the American Revolutionary War, the port was crucial for smuggling aid to the rebels and transporting military equipment up the Mississippi River. In the 1760s, Filipinos settled in New Orleans and in 1779, launched a campaign against the British. New Orleans then remained under Spanish control until 1803, when it briefly returned to being ruled by the French.
During the War of 1812, an army of 11,000 British soldiers was sent to capture New Orleans. However, General Andrew Jackson, with the support of the U.S. Navy, brought together a force of militia from Louisiana and Mississippi. On January 8, 1815, they defeated the British troops in the Battle of New Orleans.
In 1860, New Orleans was the nation’s fifth-largest city and was quite larger than all other southern cities. Onward from the mid-19th century, rapid economic growth shifted to other areas, leaving New Orleans’ importance to steadily decline. The growth of highways and railways decreased the river traffic, and thousands left Louisiana for the West Coast during the Great Migration around the time of World War II and after. After the late 1800s, censuses show that while New Orleans’ population continued to increase, it was at a slower rate than before the Civil War and the city slipped down the ranks in the list of America’s largest cities.
New Orleans has since been hit by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. The devastation caused many people to resettle outside the area, but federal and local efforts supported the recovery of severely damaged parts of the city. Several events and other forms of revenue have since returned.