** New Orleans **
Native Americans were the first known inhabitants of New Orleans. De Soto & La Salle both led expeditions through the area but there were very few white settlers until 1718. At this time Nouvelle – Orleans was founded on the first high ground above the mouth of the river. In 1722 a hurricane leveled most of the city & it was re-built using the current pattern. France originally controlled the territory but signed Louisiana over to the control of Spain in 1762 & 63. For the next 40 years New Orleans was a Spanish city with Spanish rules which allowed for a free class for people of color. The city was torn apart 2 more times by fire before finally being re – built with brick & mortar buildings. It even included a Cathedral which still stands today.
In 1803 the French regained control of Louisiana. They sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase a very short time later. Andrew Jackson led the force that successfully defended New Orleans from the British in the war of 1812. That final battle was won just outside of the city. During this time the city became one of the countries largest & wealthiest cities. This was due in part to the port which shipped goods such as the nations produce to much of the world. Slaves were sold in the markets everyday even though the city itself was a safe have for people of color. The entire area spoke French well into the 1800’s.
New Orleans was the biggest city in the whole confederacy during the Civil War. It only took 1 year before the Union knocked out the city defenses down the river & overcame the city. During the reconstruction of the country race became a very heavily debated area of discussion & when the KKK began taking root they had no second thoughts about entering New Orleans as well in the 1870’s. Even with the development of trains allowing for easier transport of goods & minimalizing the need to ship goods on the Mississippi, the port located there it remained vibrant & alive.
The streetcars were electrified by the turn of the century & a new form of music was born in the city shortly there after. It took hold in the speakeasy’s, bars, restaurants & in the red light district. The city was able to grow as technology allowed for the surrounding swampland to be drained & more people could live below the sea. The city was effected by hurricanes in several instances including 1965, 1947, 1915, 1909 & of course Hurricane Katrina in 2005. None of these catastrophically damaged the city until Katrina which leveled the cities defenses which were in place to keep the ocean water away. Katrina made thousands of people relocate around the world. The city is recovering but it is far from the care free city it once was.