If you are in Louisiana and looking for something ‘out of the ordinary’? Then you’ve come to the right place in New Orleans! Built on the banks of the Mississippi River, this city offers the traveler a program that is unprecedented and unparalleled elsewhere in the US. ‘Nawlins’ is a melting pot of cultures. Afro-Americans, Creoles, Cajuns, etc. live here… This makes the atmosphere and rhythm of the city very special. Everywhere you go, soulful music sounds like RnB and jazz.
The people are friendly and the festival content of the city is quite high. How about Mardi Gras, whose festivities here last about a month? Or the New Orleans Jazz Festival, which has given the city international fame? In addition to a range of cultures, New Orleans has also acquired a range of nicknames over the years! ‘The big easy’ is one of these and NOLA (New Orleans Louisiana) is doing well with the locals.
When Philippe Duc d’Orléans was governor of France in 1718, a new city was founded on the Mississippi River. The city was christened New Orleans, named after the governor. The Treaty of Paris transferred power to the Spaniards in 1763 until 1801. In that year the city again came under French control.
In 1803 Napoleon sold the newly acquired New Orleans to the United States and a new era dawned for the city. Due to its strategic location, the city had a busy harbor where all kinds of goods traded. The slave trade was also an important source of income.
In fact, New Orleans has been different from the rest of the US at a fairly early stage. Thus, a great contrast had formed in regard to African Americans. Partly because of the thriving slave trade, New Orleans was able to call itself the richest city in the then United States in the mid-19th century. On the other hand, the city was known for its large population of free African Americans, which was quite unusual at the time.
Like many southern states, Louisiana cut itself off from the so-called Union at the time of the American Civil War. Unlike most of the South, New Orleans was occupied by the Union fairly early in the war.
New Orleans has a subtropical, humid climate with hot summers. The average temperature in July is over 33 degrees! In addition, it is very stuffy and humid in the summer. New Orleans is not very strategic in terms of raging hurricanes.
Due to the proximity of the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes regularly pass and rage over the city. Hurricane Katrina is an example of this. Although this hurricane did not directly blow over the center of the city, large parts of the city were destroyed. The water systems gave out and the city was flooded.
A few years later, the city is still far from over the top. However, people in New Orleans are doing everything they can to resume daily life. More and more people are returning to the city and New Orleans’ population is estimated to be about 240,000.
The festivals New Orleans is known for, such as Mardi Gras and the Jazz festival, still take place today. To show that the city is working hard to rebuild, the NBA All Star Game was brought to the city and the Superdome played the BCS National Championship in early 2008. This is a national football championship.
The River Road
The famous River Road runs from New Orleans to Baton Rouge on both sides of the Mississippi River. Have you feasted your eyes in New Orleans and are you ready for something different? Then take this route to the capital Baton Rouge. Adjacent to the road are farmlands with the beautiful antebellum houses. This landscape is a feast for the eyes and a road trip along the Mississippi should not be missed during your vacation in Louisiana!
If there is one architectural style that predominates along this ‘road’, it is that of the Greek Revival. The antebellum houses are built in this style, which means that these houses are an imitation of the Greek houses and temples. Think of the commonly used columns in Greek architecture.
Greek Revival is a common phenomenon in the South. The houses were built by wealthy sugar cane farmers. Surrounding it are the much-discussed sugar cane plantations where slaves used to work for the rich whites. At the Evergreen Plantation you can soak up the historic atmosphere that prevailed here in the 19th century. Here the so-called ‘slave quarters’ have remained standing and are lined up next to each other in a long row.
In the past, this arrangement was commonplace and thousands of these slave residences lined the banks of the Mississippi. Today the Evergreen Plantation is one of the few plantations in the south of the US where you can still see this.