New Orleans

Welcome to New Orleans

"The only city in Europe that Americans can drive to" is a saying that only hints at New Orleans' unique character, a cross-pollination of French, Spanish, Native American, Afro-American and Southern cultures that can truly be called Creole.

Out of this rich cultural gumbo came the jazz sound of New Orleans' sons like Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet, the Delta blues music of the Mississippi, the rich baritone of the New Orleans-style hot brass band, the rhythm 'n' blues of Fats Domino, and the zydeco folk music of French-speaking Cajun country. Music flows through the city's metaphorical veins as forcefully as it blasts from the windows of its bars. Continually innovating, it is now home to Southern hip-hop and the staccato, ghetto sound of bounce music.

Called the Crescent City or just Nola, this is a hub of enjoyment and excess, a highly-regarded Louisiana cuisine of rich étouffée sauces and world-famous oysters and crawfish, easy days and long, long nights - the 24-hour bar is nothing new or unusual here, and the lack of enthusiasm for upholding Prohibition laws gave rise to the city's nickname as 'one Big (speak)Easy'.

Modern New Orleans is a city of great contrasts: historic and modern, conservative and liberal, rich and poor, black and white. The out-of-state licence plates and visitors who never left say much about the Crescent City's infectious spirit, because while the French Quarter does indeed feel European, life here can feel more like the Caribbean. Come and see for yourself - but don't make too many future plans, because you may just have to change them.

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Quick facts

  • Inhabitants in United States:
    306 million
  • Inhabitants in New Orleans:
    approximately 344,000 (1.17 million metro area)
  • Official language
    English
  • Currency
    US dollar
  • Time zone
    UTC-6
  • Emergency number
    911
  • Constitution
    Republic
  • Country phone code
    +1
  • Country code
    us
  • Local transportation
    Streetcar, bus, taxi