New Orleans exudes a palatial experience, situated at the bend of the Mississippi River. It serves as a touchstone from the 1700s being the prime city of Louisiana and the bustling northern port of the Gulf of Mexico for a captivating history and complex culture
The flexibility of New Orleans can be traced back to the era when the city was founded by the French, ruled by the Spanish for 40 years, and ultimately bought by the US in 1803.
This accords the city its penchant for Creole culture and its ability to eclipse from the clamour of Mandi Gras to the tranquillity of a courtyard wall.
The French and Dawning of New Orleans
The original inhabitants of New Orleans were the Native Americans of the Woodland and Mississippi. There exists only a handful of white settlers before 1718; however, this year marked Louisiana French Governor Jean Baptiste Le Moyne to establish the city of Nouvelle Orleans.
Later in 1722, Louisiana’s capital was shifted from Biloxi. The same year witnessed a harrowing incident of the hurricane that wreaked havoc in the city, which was later re-established in the fashion of the French Quarter following the grid pattern. The celebrated Mardi Gras has its roots in French and Spanish Catholicism.
The Spanish Rule
The year 1762 marked the ceding of Louisiana to Spain by the French government. The Spanish rule was the longest for a prolonged 40 years, indulging in trade with Cuba and Mexico, to the extent of adopting Spanish racial practices.
This rule facilitates a class of free people of colour. In 1788 and 1794, the occurrence of explosive fires ravaged the city. In 1803 after the French gaining dominance in Louisiana, it was sold to the US in the Louisiana Purchase.
The ethos of the War of 1812 was in defence of New Orleans, which was spearheaded by Colonel Andrew Jackson against the British Force.
The Inception as an American Colony
New Orleans transcended into the wealthiest city of the United States in the 19th century. This wealth was contributed by trade relations it shared with the Caribbean, South America, and Europe.
During the commencement of the Civil War, it remained the largest city in the Confederacy. But with the reconstruction that was enkindled, the race was a forceful political force driven by the emancipated slaves; the 1870s then witnessed the rise of the White League and the Ku Klux Klan. Though the advent of railroads was welcomed, the influential ports of New Orleans was still an asset.
The 20th Century
The 1900 bore testament to the birth of jazz clubs and dance halls, and electrified streetcars. The city was witnessing a metamorphosis. After World War II, many Americans left the city on conflicts sprouted with suburbanization and school integration, leaving an increasingly African-American population.
The city galvanized as a tourist attraction with swarms of visitors to witness the Mardi Gras celebration, despite these social changes.