1. A City Vulnerable to Flooding
New Orleans is a city that is particularly vulnerable to flooding due to its official elevation of two feet below sea level. This low elevation makes it especially susceptible to flooding from hurricanes and other natural disasters, as well as from the rising sea levels caused by climate change. The city has implemented a number of measures to protect itself from flooding, such as building levees and flood walls, but the risk of flooding remains a major concern for the city and its residents.
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2. A City of Diversity and Culinary Delights
The vibrant city of New Orleans is renowned for its unique French Creole culture and cuisine, which is a reflection of its namesake, Orléans, France. The city's culture is a mix of French, Spanish, African, and Native American influences, and its cuisine is a delicious blend of these cultures, featuring dishes such as gumbo, jambalaya, and po'boys. New Orleans is a city that celebrates its diverse heritage, and its cuisine is a testament to this.
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3. The Origins of Dixieland Jazz
The term "Dixieland" has its roots in the state currency of New Orleans, the "dix". During the 19th century, when states were still using their own currencies, the "dix" was the currency of choice in New Orleans. It was so widely used that it eventually gave rise to the term "Dixieland", which is now used to refer to the traditional jazz music of the city.
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4. The Spanish Influence on New Orleans Architecture
The city of New Orleans is renowned for its unique culture, which is heavily influenced by French heritage. However, the architecture of the city is actually dominantly Spanish, a result of a devastating fire in the 1700s that led to major reconstruction while the city was under Spanish rule. This event has had a lasting impact on the city, and the Spanish influence can still be seen in the architecture of New Orleans today.
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5. The Causeway: A Stunning 24 Mile Bridge Spanning the Mississippi River
The bustling city of New Orleans is home to the world's longest continuous bridge, the Causeway. Spanning an impressive 24 miles, the Causeway is a marvel of engineering and a must-see for any visitor to the area. It's a great way to take in the sights of the city and its surrounding areas, and is a great way to experience the beauty of the region.
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6. The Dome that Drenched New Orleans
The iconic Superdome in downtown New Orleans is one of the largest domed stadiums in the world, with a capacity of up to 76,468 people. It's so large that it can create its own weather system, with condensation forming rainstorms inside the dome. This impressive feat of engineering has been a staple of the New Orleans skyline since 1975, and continues to be a popular destination for sports fans and tourists alike.
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7. Mardi Gras: The Grand Parade of Endymion
The world-famous Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans is a spectacle of vibrant colors, music, and revelry. It is made possible by the many "krewes" that provide the floats for the days of the festival. The largest of these is Endymion, which boasts an impressive parade of over seventy floats and fifty marching bands. This grand procession is a highlight of the festival and a must-see for anyone visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
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8. New Orleans' Favorite Submarine Sandwich
In New Orleans, the classic submarine sandwich is known as a "po'boy". This local term is used in place of the more widely known names such as "sub" and "grinder". The po'boy is a beloved staple of the city's cuisine, and can be found in many restaurants and eateries throughout the city.
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9. The largest city in the Confederacy: New Orleans
During the American Civil War, New Orleans was the largest city in the Confederate States of America, boasting a population of over 168,675 people. This made it the largest city in the South, and the second largest city in the entire country at the time. It was a major port city, and a strategic hub for the Confederacy, providing access to the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. It was also a major center for the slave trade, and a major producer of cotton, sugar, and other goods. New Orleans was a major target for Union forces, and was eventually captured in 1862.
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10. The City of Voodoo
New Orleans has a long and storied history with voodoo. It was one of the major points through which the religion was introduced to the United States, and the particular form that evolved in the city became known as New Orleans voodoo. This form of voodoo is distinct from other forms of the religion, and is characterized by its use of gris-gris, voodoo dolls, and the incorporation of Catholic saints into its rituals. It is still practiced in the city today, and is an important part of the culture and history of New Orleans.