Blog Post 1- NOLA: This Southern City Has A Dark Side

 

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From my Instagram

I recently visited the city of New Orleans. It’s a port town on the southern coast of Louisiana right along the tail end of the Mississippi River. It’s a town of French and Spanish culture that resulted in Creole culture and is a hub for unique people to thrive. They have this festival called Mardi Gra– Oh! You’ve already heard of it? Right. It’s only one of the most known celebrations in The United States; even in the whole world.

History

New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne a wealthy and prominent explorer. He and his brother set out to establish the colony of Louisiana and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne loved the small area and dubbed it New Orleans after the Duke of Orleans. Then New Louisiana was given to the French Empire after the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and want back to French control in 1803. New Orleans (the tug-of-war child of a divorced Europe) was then sold to The US in 1803- mysteriously this sale was/is called The Louisiana Purchase. The city of New Orleans became what it is today, because of it’s rich French and Spanish history.

creole
Courtesy of FrenchCreoles.com

The Birth of the Creole culture in Louisiana

The term Creole is French and refers to the people native to Louisiana before it was sold to the US in 1803. The term was used to differentiate between Louisiana natives and European immigrants. The Creole culture is a fascinating mixture of many different countries’ languages, customs and histories. Food like Gumbo, red beans and rice, and Jambalaya are Creole. Their language, bits and pieces taken from Spanish, French, and African is known as Louisiana French. They also developed their own music called Zydeco.

Mardi Gras

“An American has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans”

-Mark Twain

Mardi Gras is an epic celebration that resulted from the Catholic Christian holidays Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The term Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday (Shrove Tuesday) and usually consists of a feast before a great fasting called Lent.

mardi gras
Courtesy of Fox News

New Orleans is a fun city full of interesting culture, great food, fun energy and Mardi Gras! It has alligators and French Quarter and Bourbon Street! It’s Fun Fun FUN.

But Wait…

From my Instagram

New Orleans is also a town of darkness. It was a well known Port in the 1700s and 1800s servicing the Atlantic Slave Trade. The town is a hot spot for paranormal enthusiasts due to it’s rich history of death and crimes resulting in Haunted houses, graveyards, churches, and other buildings. A must-do of visiting New Orleans is a haunted tour or a ghost tour. You can learn about New Orleans’ sordid past and visit some of the most famous horror stories in the United States. My friends and I did our own tour with a phone app that had a list of the most famous places as well as the background of the hauntings and a map. One of the most famous of New Orleans is the house of Madame LeLaurie (story used in the second season of American Horror Story) who, along with her doctor husband, tortured and dissected slaves in their attic for years. They did the most disgusting and atrocious things! Eeuugghh!!!

The Real Scary Stuff…

However, is the amount of violence in contemporary New Orleans and the amount of homeless. New Orleans, in 2017, had the highest rate of gun violence in the US; more than Chicago and Detroit.

The homeless and bums/drifters flock to New Orleans, because of all the tourists who also flock to the city to spend money and have a fun time. These tourists are most often drinking and/or drunk and are much more generous when it comes to giving out money or help.

Many are homeless, because of huge personal and professional losses after Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans suffered a 42% loss in revenue after the hurricane.

Tourism has been steadily growing after the hurricane, but the city is still reeling almost 20 years after. This town is beautiful; it’s blend of cultures, it’s creole and jazz music, it’s creole food, the bayous and swamps, the history, and the art make it a European get-away right here in the U.S. It’s definitely worth visiting, but while you’re there, don’t ignore the dark side.

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