Practical Information in New Orleans

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New Orleans, Louisiana was founded in 1718 by Jean Bapiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville. Later the city was organized into a rectangular shape, which still exists today as the French Quarter. The city was built along the Mississippi river, and became known as "The Crescent City", because of its shape.

Location:  New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana, located within the United States. Specifically, New Orleans is located in southeastern part of Louisiana, with the Mississippi River running directly through the city. The Gulf of Mexico is approximately 105 miles down river from New Orleans. New Orleans is also the 5th largest port in the US, and sees the largest intake of petroleum for the US. A recent study by Tulane and Xavier University noted that over 50% of city lies at or above sea level, which leaves another 50% of the city below sea level, leaving the latter half vulnerable to flooding. New Orleans is considered high risk for hurricanes, and in 2005 was hit by a catastrophic disaster by the name of Hurricane Katrina. As a result of this hurricane, 80% of the city was flooded due to failed levees, and the city is still in undertaking a massive rebuilding effort. Coastal erosion is the main cause of hurricane risks in New Orleans, and engineers estimate New Orleans has lost over 2000 square miles of its coastline, leaving the city much more vulnerable to storm surges. 

Population:  Approximately 1.13 million residents in the seven parish greater New Orleans area according the 2008 US Census. New Orleans is one of the fastest growing cities in the US, 8.2% increase from 2007 to 2008.

Weather:  New Orleans is considered subtropical creating very hot, humid summers, and mild winters. Average rainfall is around 64 inches. New Orleans is considered the most vulnerable city in the US for hurricanes, along with Miami and New York City.

Currency:  US Dollar ($)

Telephone:  Country code is 1, the area code for New Orleans is 504.  DIAL 911 from any telephone for a police, fire, or hospital emergency.

Nicknames:  The Crescent City - due to its shape along the Mississippi River, and The Big Easy - coined by Musicians for ease of finding work.  

Best Time to Visit:  Mardi Gras/Carnival Festive (late winter to early spring) is a two week festival prior to Fat Tuesday the last day before Lent.  Elaborate parades, street parties, and full house in the French Quarter. Jazzfest (last weekend in April and first weekend in May) is the 2nd largest annual event in New Orleans and runs two long weekends as one of biggest outdoor music festivals in the country.


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