New Orleans was founded by the French in 1718. The founder, the French J. B. Le Moyne de Bienville, gave it the name Nouvelle-Orléans in honor of the regent of France, the Duke of Orléans. The city is located 90 km from the Gulf of Mexico coast. And it’s located between the left bank of Mississippi and Lake Pontchartrain. The city was also the capital of the French possessions of Louisiana between 1722 and 1763. In 1763 all the territory was ceded to Spain. The French subsequently returned to possession of the region between 1800 and 1803, but in that year Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States.
A FRENCH AND SPANISH HISTORICAL CENTER
The city retains its clear French and Spanish imprint in its historic center, called the French Quarter or Vieux Carré. The old French Quarter, which is the great attraction of New Orleans, extends around Jackson Square with a checkerboard plan with two squares. A square was used for military parades, the parade ground. While the other was used for religious use, the Cathedral square.
The plan of the city is typical of 18th century French colonial settlements. The central district spans a hundred blocks with streets that intersect at right angles. The Spanish footprint that replaced the French one after the fire of 1788 is clearly visible in the facades with cast iron loggias and in the internal pátios with fountains and gardens.
Among the oldest buildings in the city we find the Cabildo, a Spanish-style building from 1795. The Saint-Louis cathedral from 1794. The Ursuline convent from 1734 and finally the French Market. However, the historic center of the city is very beautiful and atmospheric, and it is worth walking along the most characteristic streets. Especially Bourbon Street and Royal Street, with its antique shops.
MUSEUMS, CREOLE CUISINE, CARNIVAL AND JAZZ
New Orleans houses some interesting museums. Including first of all the Louisiana State Museum and the Delgado Museum of Art. Among the parks the most important is the City Park which extends north-west of the historic center almost to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain.
The city is especially famous for its Creole cuisine which has made it one of the most popular destinations in the United States for food and restaurants. Fish and seafood are among the specialties of Louisiana cuisine. Mardi Gras, the characteristic New Orleans carnival, and also the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, which takes place in April, are two of the internationally renowned events taking place in the city.
HOW TO GET
The city’s airport is the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) which is located approximately 16km west of the city center. New Orleans airport is well connected to all major airports in the United States and the Caribbean.