10 new facts about Orleans to know before you go

10 new facts about Orleans to know before you go
10 new facts about Orleans to know before you go

A quick Google search for facts about New Orleans shows some of the same issues popping up over and over again. Things like its rich musical traditions, delicious food and the masquerade of Mardi Gras.

But, as with any big city, these cultural USPs are just one side of the doubloon. Behind the glittering sequined mask of New Orleans lie the remains of Hurricane Katrina, ghostly mysteries and a dismal role in the slave trade.

Read on for fascinating facts about New Orleans, bustling Bourbon Street and more.

1. Where did New Orleans get its name?

New England, New York, New Hampshire; instead of inventing unique names, settlers were in the habit of sticking to the Formula 2.0 hometown . The English had no monopoly when it came to these unimaginative naming conventions, however, and it was a Frenchman who inspired the ‘New’ in New Orleans.

It was Governor Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne who decided to found a city on the first high point inland from the mouth of the Mississippi River. .

A man in love with the French empire (and a bit of a boot-licker), Le Moyne could think of nothing more noble than naming this young town after the then Regent of France, Philip II, Duke of Orléans.

2. What is the New Orleans motto? 

You just need a passing interest in New Orleans to be aware of its prideful and carefree approach to life. New Orleans’ motto is “ laissez les bon temps rouler ”, a crude translation from English to Cajun French of “let the good times roll” and an excellent example.

This New Orleans slogan is not just something applied to the end of tourism campaigns. It’s something you can see and feel in the city. 

 It is a free spirit born from a lot of cultures that have come together over the centuries, cultivating a unique and independent lifestyle.

3. The spiritual home of jazz

Jazz was the culmination of so many things, you’d have to write a book about it to scratch the surface of where jazz started. But one thing is certain: it came from New Orleans.

Dancehall musician and legendary 1890s bandleader Buddy Bolden is often considered the ‘first man in jazz’ – if you really need to name the town’s past.

These days, the swing and blues notes of New Orleans bebop fill the air of the French Quarter. There are many jazz clubs, and the annual New Orleans Jazz Fest attracts fans from all over the world.

4. What makes New Orleans cemeteries special?

The phrase ‘six feet below’ doesn’t really apply in New Orleans. If you’ve had your last cocktail at the Big Easy, your final resting place could well be in one of the famous above-ground necropolises.

New Orleans cemeteries are gated communities to those who are no longer with us. Being at or below sea level, burying the dead underground had a series of soggy consequences. The solution was to build tombs and mausoleums in city-like cemeteries. You can even visit these ‘Cities of the Dead’ on guided tours that explain the history of New Orleans’ 42 Historic Cemeteries in more detail. The largest, St. Louis Cemetery #1

Over the years, these cemeteries have developed a culture of their own. From simple vaults to large family tombs resembling homes, these monuments to the dead are unique examples of urban design that reflect New Orleans’ mixed cultural heritage.

5. The most haunted city in America

Of course, there is no official government data on America’s most haunted cities. But whether you’re a ghostly skeptic or a ghost champion, it’s easy to see where New Orleans – a city of spooky graveyards, voodoo and links to the occult – has developed its reputation as a haven for those who are yet to die.

The French Quarter; The Hotel Monteleone’s Children’s Ghost; The restless souls that inhabit the luxurious Muriel’s restaurant, where spiritist sessions are still held today. These are just some of the folktales.

Numerous NOLA residents claimed to have seen strange happenings around town.Decide for yourself with a mule-led ghost tour of the French

6. A dark story of slavery in New Orleans

That said, you don’t need to delve into the history of the area to discover its painful association with slavery.

Unlike the auction houses in well-known centers like Montgomery and Richmond, slaves in New Orleans were sold almost everywhere. Slave pens, ships, hotels and even public parks held events for the purchase and sale of slaves. New Orleans was described as the ‘ Southern slave market ‘, which gives an idea of ​​how profitable the trade was.

According to historian Lawrence N. Powell, more Upper South slaves came to New Orleans en route to the region’s plantations than the total number brought to the United States during the transatlantic slave trade.

If you’re looking for a deeper understanding of this dark period in Louisiana history, the Whitney Plantation provides a moving, memorable experience. Located between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the Mississippi River, the plantation museum is a grim and unyielding glimpse into the lives of America’s enslaved peoples.

To delve into black history, check out this comprehensive list of Black History Museums in the

7. The birthplace of voodoo in the US

A world of gris-gris, famous priestesses and zombies, the mysterious and often twisted world of voodoo has long been associated with New Orleans. 

The roots of Louisiana Voodoo are found in West African Vodun, an ancient African religion in Benin, Ghana and Nigeria. The slaves who were brought south carried these traditions with them, which in turn merged with local Catholicism and developed into the mysterious spiritual belief system that is still practiced in New Orleans today.

Before you get excited, it has nothing to do with tiny dolls used to inflict pain on your enemies, so you’ll have to think of another way. Often portrayed as supernatural and linked to the occult, in reality, Louisiana Voodoo is quite healthy.

Through prayers, rituals, readings, songs and dances, people seek to cure illnesses and generally improve their lives.

Want to know more? Take a voodoo tour in New Orleans and separate fact from fiction. 

8. A Lesser Known Mafia Story

What do you think about when you think about the Mafia? Cities like New York and Chicago, probably. Romanticized representations of crowd life in movies and TV shows, perhaps.

You probably don’t think of New Orleans as the kind of place where you can wake up to pillow talk with a decapitated horse’s head.

When war broke out between rival groups of Italian immigrants working the New Orleans docks in 1890, Police Chief David Hennessy sought to end the violence that was taking place within his jurisdiction. It was his job to uncover the truth behind an uphill battle for control of the region’s fruit import business.

The price for your efforts? A hail of bullets on the way home from work. Hennessy’s murder shocked Louisiana, but the subsequent trial of 19 mob recruits would only highlight how entrenched the organization was already in the city, with many witnesses threatened and bribed.

The acquittal of the suspects caused outrage and 11 were later lynched by an angry mob of residents. 

9. The oldest working cathedral in America

New Orleans is home to the oldest continuously operating cathedral in the United States, St. Louis Cathedral. With a colonial façade and towers similar to Sleeping Beauty Castle, this indomitable church is one of the most iconic buildings in the French Quarter.

It has been a place of worship since 1720. series of storms, including Hurricane Katrina, and even a bombing raid.

Of the latter, on a quiet Sunday in 1909, a few hours after Mass, a family gathered for a baptism, blissfully unaware that the hidden nitroglycerin would soon shake the cathedral, shattering its stained glass.

Fortunately, the cathedral has lived a much less dramatic life since then. 

Hurricane Katrina was the costliest natural disaster in US history

The total damage caused by Hurricane Katrina is estimated at about $170 billion , making it the most expensive natural disaster in American history. Louisiana – and especially New Orleans – was impacted by the Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that struck the southern United States in August 2005.

More than 1,500 people died in Louisiana as a result of the storm, which had winds of 127 mph. New Orleans’ levees and flood protections have failed with disastrous consequences. Most of the city was underwater – more than 70 percent of the city’s housing was damaged and the displacement caused the population to dwindle by almost half. The poorest part of the city, Lower Ninth Ward, was hit hardest.

Unfortunately, despite the determination of the New Orleans community, the effects of Katrina are still felt today. While the wealthier tourist areas and neighborhoods have mostly recovered, grassroots organizations — nonprofits like Rebuilding Together — are often tasked with restoring low-income neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth.

One of the success stories after the disaster was the construction of the Lower Ninth Market, a project inspired by the tireless work of Burnell Cotlon, a native of New Orleans.


More facts about New Orleans

Where is New Orleans?

The city of New Orleans is located in the state of Louisiana, in the southern United States, on the banks of the Mississippi River. Occupying Lake Pontchartrain to the west and Lake Borgne to the east, New Orleans lies approximately 80 miles southwest of Louisiana’s capital, Baton Rouge.

What is the population of New Orleans?

The population dropped by nearly half after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and after more than a decade of recovery, the numbers have started to stabilize.

Why is New Orleans famous?

A veritable melting pot of cultures, New Orleans has a rich unique heritage and proud traditions.

When is New Orleans Mardi Gras?

Officially, the annual Mardi Gras celebrations begin on the twelfth night (January 6th). The momentum and festivities build and peak during the two weeks before Shrove Tuesday.

How old is New Orleans?

The city of New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, governor of French Louisiana. Louisiana had been under French control since 1682, and the new city was of great strategic importance due to its location near the mouth of the Mississippi River.

How do you pronounce New Orleans?

Popular pronunciation errors include N’awlins and New Or-lee-ans.

Is New Orleans safe?

Generally, New Orleans sights are considered very safe, but it’s still best not to wander alone at night (especially after a few cocktails). Unfortunately, overall New Orleans doesn’t have the best reputation for safety, with violent crime far above the national average.

What is New Orleans’ nickname?

The most popular nickname for New Orleans is Big Easy, which was coined as early as the mid-19th century. Other common names include Crescent City and simply NOLA.