New Orleans is situated in southeastern Louisiana and is the biggest city in the state. This city lies on the Mississippi River and is a major port of the United States. It covers an area of three hundred and fifty square miles and has a population of over three hundred and eleven thousand residents. This city can trace its roots back to May of 1718 when it was founded by the French Mississippi Company, under the scrutiny of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. In 1763, according to the terms of the Treaty of Paris, this colony was ceded to the Spanish Empire. It would remain under the control of Spain until 1801, when it would once again become a French colony. In 1803, Napoleon sold the territory to the U.S. in the Louisiana Purchase. After that, New Orleans received an influx of Americans, French, Germans and Africans. During the War of 1812, the British dispatched their forces to conquer the city. This invasion was thwarted by Andrew Jackson who assembled a force that contained Kentucky Riflemen, local militia and pirates, African Americans and U.S. regulars at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. During the American Civil War, New Orleans was captured by the Union.
Today, New Orleans is a city that has increasingly dependent on tourism for its survival. Luckily, the city has a large amount of attractions and attractions millions of tourists each and every year. New Orleans is in the list of the ten most visited cities in the United States of America. Each year over ten million tourist flock to the city every year. Before Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, there were over two hundred ad sixty-five hotels with over thirty-eight thousand rooms in the city. After the hurricane, there were one hundred and forty hotels with around thirty thousand rooms available to guests. The most popular attraction in the city is the French Quarter. The city when it was founded, was originally centered on the French Quarter. Today, the entire district is a National Historic Landmark and contains many buildings of historic significance. The district is known for its combination of guest houses, bars, hotels, residences, tourist oriented properties and its historical attractions.
One of the main attractions in the French Quarter is Jackson Square. Jackson Square is a park that was declared a historic landmark in 1960. Opposite the square are three eighteenth century buildings. These are St. Louis Cathedral, the Presbytere and the Cabildo. St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest operating cathedral in the United States. The church was erected in 1789, and in 1793 achieved the status of cathedral. St. Louis Cathedral is the most recognizable landmark of New Orleans. The Presbytere derives its name from the fact that it was built on the residence of the Capuchin Monks, though it never served as a residence of clergy. The Cabildo was built as the residence of the Spanish city government of New Orleans in 1799. It was also used as the site of the Louisiana Purchase transfer in 1803 and was used as city council until the 1850’s. In 1911, it became the Louisiana State Museum. Now the Cabildo has exhibits that cover the history of Louisiana from its settlement, through the Civil War and reconstruction all the way to present day. Running the length of the French Quarter is Bourbon Street. This street is known for its large number of bars and pubs. Some of the bars on this street include the Old Absinthe House, Pat O’Brien’s Bar, Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, Napoleon House Bar & Restaurant, Johnny White’s Bar, The Bourbon Pub and Molly’s at the Market.
The National World War II Museum is another prominent attraction in New Orleans. The museum was opened in the summer of 2000, on the fifty-sixth anniversary of D-Day. The lobby of the museum is very large and contains aircraft that are suspended from the ceiling. The top floors of the museum deals with the social, economic and political conditions that led up to World War II. The museum also contains a gift shop, electronic maps of the Pacific, models of the beaches and amphibious vehicles of the D-Day and two auditoriums where educational videos are available for patrons to view. Another attraction to visit while in the city is the Audubon Zoo. The Audubon Zoo covers an area of fifty-eight acres and contains over two thousand animals. Animals housed here include gorillas, white tigers, orangutans, white alligators, a Komodo Dragon, gila monsters, anacondas, vipers, rattlesnakes, reticulated pythons and beaded lizards.
Aquarium of the Americas is another prominent attraction in New Orleans. The aquarium opened in 1990 and features over ten thousand animals taken from over five hundred and thirty species of aquatic life from North and South America. One of the primary exhibits is the Caribbean reef Exhibit which features a thirty foot tunnel that is surrounded by over one hundred and thirty thousand gallons of water. There is also an Amazon exhibit which is basically a greenhouse that contains stingrays, Macaws, Piranhas and snakes. Another exhibit is the Mississippi River Gallery which contains catfish, owls and alligators. The Gulf of Mexico exhibit has a seventeen foot tank that is filled with over four hundred thousand gallons of water and contains seat turtles, fish, sharks and stingrays. Also located on the premises of the Aquarium of the Americas are exhibits for penguins, sea otters, as well as an IMAX Theater.
Other prominent attractions in the city of New Orleans include Preservation Hall, the Garden District, Audubon Insectarium, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, Longue Vue House and Gardens, Old Opera House, Audubon Park, Confederate Memorial Hall, the New Orleans Mint, the New Orleans Museum of Art and the New Orleans Botanical Garden. The city is also home to numerous hotels, many of which have historical value. Hotels in the city include the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Omni Royal Orleans Hotel, Bourbon Orleans Hotel, Windsor Court Hotel and the W Hotel.