New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America, North America

Founded: 1718; Incorporated: 1805
Location: Southeastern Louisiana on Lake Pontchartrain near the mouth of the Mississippi River; United States, North America
Motto: "Laissez le bon temps rouler!" ("Let the good times roll!")
Flag: White field with red (top) and blue (bottom) stripes, and three gold fleur de lys.
Flower: Magnolia (Louisiana state flower)
Time Zone: Central Standard Time (CST)
Ethnic Composition : 34.9% white, 61.9% black, 3.5% Hispanic origin, 3.2% other
Elevation: 5 ft. below sea level
Latitude and Longitude: 29°95′44N, 90°07′50W
Coastline: 40 miles
Climate: Semitropical climate. Winters are mild, and snowfall is rare; summers are hot and humid, and thunderstorms are common.
Annual Mean Temperature: 70.4°F (21.4°C)
Seasonal Average Snowfall:. 20 in. (50 mm); Average annual precipitation (total of rainfall and melted snow) : 62.08 in. (1,580 mm)
Government: Mayor-council
Weights and Measures: Standard US
Monetary Units: Standard US
Telephone Area Codes: 504
Postal Codes: 70053, 70056, 70112–70119, 70122, 70124–70131


Four major north-south highways serve the New Orleans area: Interstate 55 runs from New Orleans to Chicago, Illinois; U.S. Highway 61 runs from New Orleans to Memphis, Tennessee; U.S. Highway 11; and State Highway 23. The two main east-west routes are Interstate 10, which runs from Jacksonville, Florida, to Los Angeles, California; and U.S. Highway 90, which connects the city with Lafayette to the west and Mobile, Alabama, to the east.

Bus and Railroad Service

Buslines serving New Orleans include Baptiste, Canary's Transportation, Loews Express, Louisiana Transit, and Greyhound. The main bus terminal is the Greyhound/Trailways Bus Station at 1001 Loyola Avenue. Amtrak passenger trains arrive and depart from the Amtrak Station, also located at 1001 Loyola Avenue. New Orleans is connected via rail to California, Chicago, Florida, New York, and points in between.

New Orleans Population Profile

City Proper

Population: 496,000
Area: 468 sq km (180.6 sq mi)
Ethnic composition: 34.9% white; 61.9% black; 3.5% Hispanic origin; 3.2% other
Nicknames: America's Most Interesting City; The Crescent City; The Big Easy

Metropolitan Area

Population: 1,072,000
Area: 941 sq km (363.5 sq mi)
World population rank1: 341
Percentage of national population2: 0.4%
Average yearly growth rate: 0.4%


  1. The New Orleans metropolitan area's rank among the world's urban areas.
  2. The percent of the United States' total population living in the New Orleans metropolitan area.


Major domestic airlines running flights to and from New Orleans International Airport include American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, TWA, United, and US Airways. Many international airlines also fly directly into the airport, which is 23 kilometers (14 miles) northwest of downtown New Orleans (approximately 20 minutes). Locals sometimes still call it Moissant Field, its former name.


In the world of trade, New Orleans is known as one of the busiest and most efficient international ports in the country, handling 14 million tons of cargo annually. More than 100 steamship lines dock there, and as many as 52 vessels can be berthed at one time.

Bicycle Paths

The French Quarter welcomes bikers, with Royal and Bourbon streets closing off during the day to all traffic but cyclists and pedestrians. City Park and Audubon Park are also bicycle-friendly locations.

Ferry Service

In a 25-minute round trip, the Canal Street Ferry travels across the Mississippi between the Canal Street Wharf and Algiers Ferry Landing. The ride is free to pedestrians; motorists pay one dollar for return to the wharf. The ferry runs daily from 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM.

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) operates buses, shuttles, and streetcars throughout the New Orleans area. Buses require one dollar exact change or a token (sold only in banks). Transfers are ten cents extra. The Vieux Carre shuttle runs weekdays from 5:00 AM to 7:30 PM. Visitor passes allow unlimited travel on buses and streetcars. One-day passes are issued for four dollars; three-day passes may be purchased for eight dollars. The Riverfront Streetcar operates along the river between Esplanade Avenue and the Robin Street Wharf. It makes five stops above Canal Street and five stops below. The streetcar runs from 6:00 AM to midnight on weekdays and 8:00 a.m. to midnight on weekends. The fare is one dollar and 25 cents.


Walking tours are one of the most popular ways to see New Orleans. A walk through the historic French Quarter offers access to various jazz clubs, museums, antique shops, and galleries. A stroll through the Garden District offers a view of the elegant mansions, known for their extravagant gardens, built by the Americans who settled in New Orleans after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. A walking tour through the foot of Canal Street in the Central Business District offers shopping mall stops, as well as visits to the World Trade Center and the Aquarium of the Americas.

Sightseeing tours by steamboat and streetcar are also popular. The New Orleans Steamboat Company runs the two-hour Natchez harbor cruise for a fare of $14.75 at 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM daily. It also runs a two-hour evening jazz cruise from 7:00 to 9:00 PM daily. The evening cruise fare is $22.50, $42.50 with dinner. A smaller boat, the John James Audubon, runs between the Aquarium of the Americas and the Audubon Zoo. The Audubon cruise leaves daily at 10:00 AM, noon, 2:00, and 4:00 PM from the aquarium; and 11:00 AM, 1:00, 3:00 and 5:00 PM from the zoo. Round-trip fare is $13.50.

City Fact Comparison
Indicator New Orleans Cairo Rome Beijing
(United States) (Egypt) (Italy) (China)
Population of urban area1 1,072,000 10,772,000 2,688,000 12,033,000
Date the city was founded 1718 AD 969 753 BC 723 BC
Daily costs to visit the city2
Hotel (single occupancy) $88 $193 $172 $129
Meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) $40 $56 $59 $62
Incidentals (laundry, dry cleaning, etc.) $2 $14 $15 $16
Total daily costs $130 $173 $246 $207
Major Newspapers3
Number of newspapers serving the city 1 13 20 11
Largest newspaper Times-Picayune Akhbar El Yom/Al Akhbar La Repubblica Renmin Ribao
Circulation of largest newspaper 259,317 1,159,339 754,930 3,000,000
Date largest newspaper was established 1837 1944 1976 1948
1United Nations population estimates for the year 2000.
2The maximum amount the U.S. Government reimburses its employees for business travel. The lodging portion of the allowance is based on the cost for a single room at a moderately-priced hotel. The meal portion is based on the costs of an average breakfast, lunch, and dinner including taxes, service charges, and customary tips. Incidental travel expenses include such things as laundry and dry cleaning.
3David Maddux, ed. Editor&Publisher International Year Book. New York: The Editor&Publisher Company, 1999.

The St. Charles Streetcar offers a 90-minute, 13-mile sightseeing opportunity. An official historic landmark, the streetcar travels up St. Charles Avenue, through the Garden District, past the Audubon Park and Zoo, as well as

Buildings of old New Orleans in the foreground contrast with skyscrapers under construction and the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints football team. ()
other popular Uptown sights. For a one-dollar fare, the streetcar boards in the Central Business District at Canal and Carondelet Streets. It runs daily every five minutes from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM ; every 15 to 20 minutes from 6:00 PM to midnight; and every hour from midnight to 7:00 AM.

5. Neighborhoods

Major neighborhoods and other well-known parts of the city include the French Quarter, the Central Business District, the Garden District, the University Section, Mid-City, and Lakeshore Drive. Surrounding communities include Covington, Grenta, Harahan, Kenner, Metairie, Slidell, and Westwego.

The French Quarter

Also called Vieux Carre (Old Square), the French Quarter is the original colony, founded by French Creoles in 1718. The carefully preserved historic district is delineated by Canal Street, Esplanade Avenue, North Rampart Street, and the Mississippi River.

The neighborhood is characterized by two-and three-story buildings of old brick and pastel-painted stucco. An eclectic crowd passes beneath hanging plants that dangle from the eaves of buildings. Home to some 7,000 residents, most houses date from the early to mid-nineteenth century and are fronted by secluded courtyards.

Although the district encompasses only about two-and-a-half kilometers (one square mile), it is packed full of must-see locations. Other than world-renowned French Creole restaurants, jazz clubs, and antique shops, the district is home to St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square, the Cabildo, Washington Artillery Park, the Old U.S. Mint, the Beauregard-Keyes House, the Gallier House, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, the nineteenth-century LaBranche Houses, First Skyscraper, Preservation Hall, the Historic New Orleans Collection, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, Napoleon House, Hermann-Grima House, the Musee Conti Wax Museum, and the Old Ursuline Convent, which is the only remaining original French colonial structure today.


Downriver of the French Quarter are the suburbs of Marigny, Bywater, Treme—famous for Congo Square and Basin Street—Arabi, and Chalmette, where the Battle of New Orleans was fought in 1815. Algiers is a very old residential section on the city's west bank, across the Mississippi from the Quarter and the foot of Canal Street.

The Central Business District

The heart of America's second-largest port, as well as the main parade route during Mardi Gras, the Central Business District cuts a wide path between Uptown and Downtown, Canal Street being the official dividing line. Defined by Canal Street, the river, Howard Avenue, and Loyola Avenue, the Central Business District is home to the city's newest convention hotels, shopping malls, and department stores, international trade agencies and consulates, monuments, and the Superdome. Points of particular interest include the World Trade Center, the Aquarium of the Americas, Woldenberg Riverfront Park, and the Spanish Plaza.

The Garden District

One of the nation's most picturesque neighborhoods, the Garden District is defined by St. Charles Avenue, Louisiana Avenue, Jackson Avenue, and Magazine Street. It was settled by Americans who rushed to New Orleans after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase but remained upriver of the already-established French Quarter. Countering the Creole penchant for secluded courtyards, they built elegant homes surrounded by lavish gardens; however, many of the district's most stunning mansions were built during the city's "golden age," from 1830 until the Civil War.

Today, the grand mansions are private homes and closed to the public, but they are worth seeing from the outside. Sites of particular interest include Colonel Short's Villa, the Robinson House, and the home of novelist Anne Rice.


Beyond the Garden District lies the University Section, home of Loyola University and Tulane University, Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo, one of the nation's top five zoos, and the Carrollton and Broadmoor residential sections. Riverbend is both a residential and shopping area that is situated in an uptown bend in the Mississippi.


Located between downtown and Lake Pontchartrain, Mid-City is predominantly a residential area. It is also home to one of the nation's largest urban parks. City Park encompasses 607 hectares (1,500 acres) and contains the New Orleans Museum of Art, boating and fishing lagoons, golf and tennis courts, botanical gardens, a playground and amusement park with an antique carousel, and the world-renowned Live Oak trees. Also in Mid-City is the Fair Grounds Race Course, host to thoroughbred racing and the annual Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Lakeshore Drive

As is suggested by its name, Lakeshore Drive follows the south bank of Lake Pontchartrain. On the east end is Lakefront Airport, and on the west is West End Park, known for its fine seafood restaurants. The area is a popular picnic, fishing, sailing, and sunning spot. It is also host to the Mardi Gras Fountain, which is surrounded by plaques bearing various Carnival krewe emblems.

22. For Further Study


Chamber/New Orleans and the River Region. [Online] Available (accessed November 19, 1999).

Greater New Orleans Free-Net. [Online] Available (accessed November 19, 1999).

New Orleans City Government. [Online] Available (accessed November 19, 1999).

New Orleans Times and Directory. [Online] Available (accessed November 19, 1999). [Online] Available (accessed November 19, 1999).

Government Offices

New Orleans City Hall
1300 Perdido St.
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 565–6000

New Orleans City Council
1300 Perdido St. 2nd Fl W
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 565-7655

New Orleans Mayor
1300 Perdido St.
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 565–8076

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

New Orleans Visitor Center
529 Saint Ann St.
New Orleans, LA 70116
(504) 566–5031

New Orleans Metropolitan Convention and
Visitors Bureau
1520 Sugar Bowl Dr.
New Orleans, LA 70112
(504) 566–5011

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
900 Convention Center Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 582–3023

New Orleans and River Region
Chamber of Commerce
601 Poydras St., Suite 1700
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 527–6900


Ambassador's, Inc.
4955 W. Napoleon Ave., Ste. 116
Metairie, LA 70001
(888) 716–1792

Natives' Guide to New Orleans
3923 Bienville St.
New Orleans, LA 70119
(504) 486–5900

New Orleans Magazine
111 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Ste. 1810
Metairie, LA 70005–4955
(504) 838–7737

Offbeat Publications
333 St. Charles Ave., #614
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 944-4300

Times-Picayune Publishing Corp.
3800 Howard Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70140
(504) 826–3279

Where Magazine
528 Wilkinson Row
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 522–6468

Where Y'at Magazine
5500 Prytania St., PMA 248
New Orleans, LA 70115
(504) 891–0144


Barrett, Tracy. Kidding Around Nashville. Santa Fe: John Muir, 1998.

Chappell, Susan. The Opryland Insider's Guide to Nashville. New York: Ballantine, 2000.

Deegan, Paul. Nashville, Tennessee. New York: Crestwood, 1989.

Jackson, Joy. New Orleans in the Gilded Age: Politics and Urban Progress, 1880–96. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1969.

Lovett, Bobby L. The African American History of Nashville, Tennessee 1780–1930. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1999.