About New Orleans
Named for the Duke of Orleans, Regent to King Louis XV, the city was originally founded as a main port for French settlers and traders in the New World. Over the years New Orleans would change hands over a half-dozen times—from the Kingdom of France to Spain and the French First Republic—before settling in for the long haul with the United States of America.
This indelible colonial heritage is on display every day in the city’s customs, its culture and its instantly-recognizable architecture.
It’s the kind of city where you can enjoy a sweltering morning browsing fascinating shops … then retire to a fancy supper where you’re served like royalty … before finishing things off with NOLA’s out-of-this-world nightlife on Bourbon Street.
You can take a streetcar ride through the oak-lined St. Charles Avenue, admiring the beauty of the city’s historic mansions. Or you can put on your walking shoes for Magazine Street—where six whole miles of boutique shopping awaits.
In short, New Orleans makes the world your oyster. The only question is how you’ll enjoy it …
France’s Exciting Gateway to the New World
Despite the city’s reputation as a hard-partying yet easygoing place for relaxation, New Orleans was actually founded by a Corporation—the French Mississippi Company back in 1718. The company ultimately collapsed in spectacular and historic fashion, but New Orleans’ exciting story was only just beginning …
Because when the Haitian Revolution overtook France’s major Caribbean hub, many French aristocrats were driven out of power and out of the country. Some 90% of these people re-settled in New Orleans, and started establishing the city’s long-standing history of high-class indulgence.
Through the Treaty of Paris and then the Louisiana Purchase, the city eventually came under control of the United States—becoming the site for the pivotal Battle of New Orleans, where future President Andrew Jackson rose to fame.
By the 1850s and 60s, the city had become a major American hub. Home to over 170,000 people and a spectacular assortment of Mississippi River Steamboats and impressive architecture, the place was a feast for all five senses and a home to prosperity. At the time it was claimed that New Orleans had the second-highest per capita income of any city in the nation, and the highest in the South.
It would stay that way for decades to come—with the city growing and prospering as a spectacular playground of indulgence and excitement. Post-war Reconstruction and the American Civil Rights movement both created friction in the Big Easy, but the local culture grew and matured as a result.
Decimated as the city was by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita just after the turn of the 21st Century, New Orleans’ immortal spirit remains alive and well today. From the street corner jazz musicians to the bars of Bourbon Street, you can feel the city’s allure even now as it rebuilds itself once again.
A Destination Like No Other
Of course, no discussion of New Orleans would ever be complete without mention of its thriving and unique local culture—but then, no discussion could ever hope to cover it all …
From the French Quarter to the mule-drawn carriages ferrying tourists up and down Royal Street, everything about New Orleans is simply iconic. From the restaurants to the city’s museums and streetfront vendors, it’s all simply one of a kind.
Numerous films including Ray, Runaway Jury and 12 Years a Slave were all filmed in New Orleans, and a thriving young theater community in the city has begged comparison to both Broadway and Hollywood.
And from Louie Armstrong to Cash Money Records, the city’s flair for creative musical innovation remains alive and well today. Sure, Lil Wayne is hardly contemporary Jazz music, but the unabashed creativity of the city’s musicians remains beyond question.
Finally there’s the food. And what food—influenced by Creole French cooking styles and inspired by the city’s incredible access to Southern seafood, New Orleans’ cuisine is among its most unique and memorable creative offerings. Dishes like Jambalaya, Gumbo and good red beans will make your mouth water just to think of them.
Work Hard and Play Hard
With all this excitement and tourist appeal, you might think New Orleans’ local economy is dominated by the service industry—that big hotels and local government would dominate the payrolls.
In reality, the city’s still a thriving seaport and processing hub for Gulf Coast goods and resources. Metropolitan New Orleans is a center of maritime industry with the 5th-largest American port by overall shipping volume.
Due to its position on the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is also home to a substantial oil refining and processing industry—much like Houston, Texas. This energy industry has grown and become more diverse in recent decades. The city’s only Fortune 500 company (Entergy) is a power generation specialist that focuses on nuclear power solutions.
Of course, tourism still plays a large role in the local economy—but so does higher education, with some 50,000 students enrolled in local schools and universities.
Your Own Slice of the Big Easy
As the city continues to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans’ condo market has made an impressive comeback with all sorts of new luxury offerings available in the Big Easy.
Local government remains cautious when it comes to approving new condo projects—insistent on maintaining the city’s unique aesthetic instead of importing more modern styles—but plenty of new construction is already underway and an exciting array of new condo residences are available for buyers looking to soak up more NOLA flavor …