Before you go, here are ten things you should know about New Orleans.
A short Google search for New Orleans facts reveals that some of the same topics keep cropping up. Things like its rich musical traditions, wonderful cuisine, and Mardi Gras’ masked masquerade.
These cultural USPs, like those of every great city, are merely one side of the coin. Hurricane Katrina’s ruins, eerie secrets, and a shady involvement in the slave trade can all be found under New Orleans’ gleaming sequined mask.
Discover amazing information about New Orleans, from the busy Bourbon Street to the rest of the city.
In New Orleans, the French Quarter is a must-see.
1. What is the origin of the name New Orleans. Instead of coming up with original names, colonists choose to stick to the hometown 2.0 concept. However, the English did not have a monopoly on these unimaginative name customs, and the ‘New’ in New Orleans was inspired by a Frenchman.
Before the French sidled up and claimed Louisiana in 1682, the area that is now New Orleans was a native inhabited country. Governor Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne was the one who decided to build a city on the first high ground inland from the Mississippi River’s mouth.
Le Moyne, a zealous supporter of the French empire (and a bootlicker), could conceive of nothing more honorable than naming the nascent city after Philip II, Duke of Orléans, the Regent of France at the time. As a result, La Nouvelle Orléans arose.
2. What is New Orleans’ motto. Even if you simply have a passing interest in New Orleans, you’ll be aware of the city’s proud, easygoing attitude toward life. New Orleans’ motto is “laissez les bien temps rouler,” a clumsy English-to-Cajun-French translation of “let the good times roll,” and a perfect example of why sentiment always takes precedence over language.
This motto for New Orleans isn’t merely put on the end of tourism advertisements either. It’s something that you can see and feel all across town.
The go-cup culture of street drinking in the French Quarter, as well as the never-ending parties during Mardi Gras, exemplify this frenetic intensity. It’s a free-spirited mentality born of a mash-up of civilizations that have coexisted for ages, fostering a distinct and self-sufficient way of life.
3. The birthplace of jazz. Jazz was a synthesis of so many things that it would take a book to even begin to scratch the surface of where it all began. But one thing is certain: it originated in New Orleans.
What about the short story? Traditional African and Caribbean rhythms merged with religious gospel music and marching band pomp over time. But jazz was also the result of natural cultural alchemy, a product of passion, community, joy, and struggle that developed over time.
Buddy Bolden, a dancehall musician and famed bandleader from the 1890s, is generally referred to as the “first man of Jazz” – if you truly need a name to put to the city’s brass past.
The swing and blues tones of New Orleans bebop now flood the air in the French Quarter. There are numerous jazz clubs, and the annual New Orleans Jazz Fest attracts visitors from all over the world.
Take a jazz cruise down the Mississippi River to really get a sense of the sounds of Louisiana if you’re searching for a method to soak up the city’s most famous musical genre (an honorable mention here goes to its 90s sludge metal scene).
4. What distinguishes New Orleans’ cemeteries? Flowers on the doorstep of a vault in a cemetery in New Orleans.
In New Orleans, the phrase “six feet under” doesn’t truly apply. If you sipped your final cocktail in New Orleans, you may find yourself buried in one of the city’s famous above-ground cemeteries.
New Orleans’ cemeteries are gated enclaves for those who have passed away. Because they lived at or below sea level, burying the dead underground has a lot of wet effects. The answer was to construct tombs and mausoleums in town-like cemeteries.
These cemeteries have acquired their own culture over the years. These memorials to the deceased range from simple vaults to enormous, house-like family tombs, and are one-of-a-kind examples of urban design that reflect New Orleans’ eclectic ethnic background.
You can also take guided tours of these ‘Cities of the Dead,’ which will explain the history of New Orleans’ 42 Historic Cemeteries in greater detail. The iconic tombs of Voodoo queen Marie Laveau and rebellious civil rights activist Homer Plessy can be found in the largest, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. Nicolas Cage has even built a pyramid tomb for himself, just in case fate decides to stop him from creating problematic films.
5. America’s most haunted city. New Orleans is, without a doubt, the most haunted city in the United States. Of course, there isn’t any official government data on America’s most haunted cities. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, it’s easy to see how New Orleans – a city known for its haunted cemeteries, voodoo, and occult connections – came to be known as a refuge for the undead.
The stories are endless: Delphine LaLaurie’s slave torture and murders at her Royal Street estate; the bloody, gruesome, and unsolved massacre at the Gardette-LePrete Mansion in the French Quarter; the child ghost of Hotel Monteleone; the restless souls who inhabit the opulent restaurant Muriel’s, where séances are still held to this day. These are only a few of the most well-known stories.
Countless NOLA locals have claimed to have witnessed weird occurrences in the city. I mean, it can’t all be a coincidence, right? With a mule-drawn French Quarter guided ghost tour, you may make your own decision.
6. Slavery in New Orleans has a long and tumultuous history. Around 60% of New Orleans citizens are African-American, and Afro-Caribbean culture is the source of much of the liveliness associated with NOLA culture. However, you don’t have to look far into the region’s history to learn about its sad experience with slavery.
Slaves in New Orleans were sold practically everywhere, unlike in well-known cities like Montgomery and Richmond, where slaves were sold for a specific purpose. Slave auctions were held in enslaved people’s prisons, ships, hotels, and even public parks. The slave market of the South,’ as New Orleans was dubbed, gives you an indication of how lucrative the slave trade was.
More slaves from the Upper South arrived in New Orleans on transit to the region’s estates, according to historian Lawrence N. Powell, than were taken to the United States via the Transatlantic slave trade.
The Whitney Plantation presents an emotive memorial experience for those seeking a greater knowledge of this tumultuous chapter in Louisiana’s history. The plantation museum, located up the Mississippi River between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, is a bleak and brutal look into the lives of America’s enslaved peoples.
Check out this complete list of Black History Museums in the United States to learn more about Black history.
7. Voodoo’s birthplace in the United States. The mysterious and frequently distorted world of voodoo has long been associated with New Orleans, with its gris-gris, famous priestesses, and zombies.
Louisiana Voodoo has its origins in West African Vodun, a centuries-old African religion practiced in Benin, Ghana, and Nigeria. Slaves taken to the South took with them these traditions, which merged with local Catholicism to form the enigmatic, spiritual belief system that is still maintained in New Orleans today.
Before you get too enthusiastic, it has nothing to do with little dolls used to cause agony to your adversaries, so you’ll have to come up with something else. Louisiana Voodoo is sometimes characterized as mystical and associated with the occult, yet it is actually quite harmless.
Voodoo is mostly done in private nowadays, as a manner of connecting individuals with nature and the spirits that influence their daily lives. People seek to cure ailments and improve their lives through prayer, rituals, readings, music, and dancing.
Do you want to know more? Take a voodoo tour of New Orleans to see what’s true and what’s not.
8. Mafia history that isn’t well-known. Following the assassination of Police Chief David Hennessy in 1891, a cartoon was created.
When you think of the Mafia, what comes to mind? Most likely, cities such as New York and Chicago. Perhaps romanticized representations of gangster life in movies and TV shows.
You probably don’t think of New Orleans as a location where you’d wake up with a decapitated horse’s head on your pillow. One of the lesser-known facts about New Orleans is that it was here where the first serious mafia event in the United States occurred.
When rival groups of Italian immigrants working at the New Orleans docks began fighting in 1890, Police Chief David Hennessy attempted to put a stop to the violence that had erupted within his domain. It was his responsibility to get to the bottom of a shady power struggle over the area’s fruit import business.
What is the cost of his efforts? On his way home from work, he was hit by a barrage of gunfire. The assassination of Hennessy shocked Louisiana, but the subsequent trial of 19 mafia recruits revealed just how far the organization had infiltrated the city, with several witnesses being coerced and bought.
The accused’ acquittal sparked uproar, and 11 of them were later lynched by a crowd of outraged villagers. It is still considered to be one of the largest mass lynchings in American history.
9. America’s oldest and most active cathedral. St. Louis Cathedral, the United States’ oldest continuously operational cathedral, is located in New Orleans. This steadfast church is one of the most distinctive buildings in the French Quarter, with a colonial front and steeples reminiscent of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Since 1720, it has served as a place of worship. After passing from French to Spanish rule (it is called after Louis IX), a severe fire destroyed the cathedral in 1788, and it was rebuilt in 1794. Following that, the existing building has weathered a number of storms, including Hurricane Katrina, as well as a bombing.
A family came for a Christening on a calm Sunday in 1909, a few hours after mass, blissfully ignorant that hidden nitroglycerin would shortly rock the cathedral, shattering its magnificent glass windows.
One of the realities about New Orleans that we’ll probably never know is who planted the homemade dynamite bomb in the choir loft. Fortunately, the cathedral has had a considerably less eventful existence since then.
10. Hurricane Katrina, which struck the United States in 2005, was the costliest natural disaster in US history. Hurricane Katrina produced an estimated $170 billion in damages, making it the most expensive natural disaster in American history. The category 5 Atlantic hurricane that hit the southern United States in August 2005 wreaked havoc on Louisiana, particularly New Orleans.
The storm, which had winds of 127 miles per hour, killed over 1,500 people in Louisiana. The levees and flood barriers in New Orleans failed, with terrible results. The majority of the city was flooded; almost 70% of the city’s housing was damaged, and displaced residents accounted for over half of the population. Lower Ninth Ward, the city’s poorest neighborhood, took the brunt of the damage.
Sadly, despite the New Orleans community’s determination, Katrina’s impacts may still be felt today. While tourist attractions and wealthier districts have largely recovered, grassroots organizations such as Rebuilding Together are frequently charged with rehabilitating low-income regions such as the Lower Ninth.
The Lower Ninth Market, an initiative inspired by New Orleans local Burnell Colton’s hard work, was one of the success stories in the aftermath of the tragedy.