Monday, November 30, 2009
That's My World - New Orleans
That's My World is sponsored each week by Klaus, head of the My World team along with Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy, Louise and myself. It's a great opportunity to "visit" many places all over the world as well as giving each of you a chance to show your world. Click on the icon and sign up. Please do read the rules and instructions!
I'm going back a long way today, but it was and is a totally fascinating place. In my early twenties I lived and worked in New Orleans, Louisiana. I had visited there when I was a senior in high school and always loved it's history, so when the opportunity presented itself, I went eagerly. The photos and history are courtesy of Google and Wikipedia.
La Nouvelle-Orléans (New Orleans) was founded May 7, 1718, by the French Mississippi Company, under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, on land inhabited by the Chitimacha. It was named for Philippe II, Duke of Orléans, who was Regent of France at the time. His title came from the French city of Orléans. The French colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire in the Treaty of Paris (1763) and remained under Spanish control until 1801, when it reverted to French control. All of the surviving 18th century architecture of the Vieux Carré (French Quarter) dates from this Spanish period. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Thereafter, the city grew rapidly with influxes of Americans, French, Creoles, Irish, Germans and Africans. Major commodity crops of sugar and cotton were cultivated with slave labor on large plantations outside the city.
The French Market!
As a principal port, New Orleans played a major role during the antebellum era in the Atlantic slave trade. Its port handled huge quantities of commodities for export from the interior and imported goods from other countries, which were warehoused and then transferred in New Orleans to smaller vessels and distributed the length and breadth of the vast Mississippi River watershed. The river in front of the city was filled with steamboats, flatboats, and sailing ships. Despite its dealings with the slave trade, New Orleans at the same time had the largest and most prosperous community of free persons of color in the nation, and who were often educated and middle-class property owners.
St. Louis Cathedral!
Because of the low sea level in New Orleans, the dead are buried above ground and the old cemeteries are quite fascinating. One of the most visited ones is the crypt where Marie Laveau is buried. She supposedly was born in New Orleans in 1794 and was considered a free woman of color. Being a mulatto, that being the name given to people of mixed black, white and sometimes Indian blood. Sometimes she was described as a descendant of French aristocracy or a daughter of a wealthy white planter. This was very common at that time. She was and still is by some, considered to be the ultimate queen of voodoo.
And everywhere there is street music.
With places like Bourbon Street, Jackson Square and the French Market, restaurants like Antoine's, Galatoire's, and Arnaud's there's never a lack of fascinating places to go. I don't care for it as much today as it has not only suffered Katrina, but has become in some ways a sleazy, tourist trap. That wasn't the case when I lived New Orleans and each time I went to the French Quarter it was like stepping back into history and I loved it!