New Orleans History

Established by the French explorer Bienville in 1699, New Orleans became a melting pot of Native American, French, African, and Caribbean cultures.  The blending of these cultures created what New Orleans is most known for--its food, music, architecture & language.  Although the French people resided in the French Quarter, the architecture of the Quarter is Spanish.  Spain gained control of the Louisiana colony when France relinquished control as a way to pay a war debt.  The original French architecture of the Vieux Carre' was destroyed by several fires so the Spanish rebuilt the city with their cultural influences, including vibrant colors, ornate ironwork and tiled roofs.  Although the Spanish influence dissipated once Louisiana became American, one can find evidence of the influential Spanish era in the street names honoring historical Spaniards like Miro & Galvez.

Since New Orleans was hot, humid and surrounded by swamp land it was not an easy place to live.  Many people died of Yellow Fever due to the dense mosquito population.  The early settlers had a tough time trying to bury the dead in an area that's below sea level with a high water table.  After several attempts with below ground burials the people began burying the dead in above ground tombs that resemble small houses.  Since New Orleans cemeteries look more like small cities they are appropriately called "Cities of the Dead".

Modern day New Orleanians carefully guard the history of their hometown as well as their jubilant way of life.  We still make frequent trips around town on the oldest continuously operating streetcars in the world.  For natives it's a normal part of our day, but for visitors it is a fascinating step back in time.  Jazz music, Creole food, festivals & Mardi Gras are a few cultural traditions that help identify New Orleans as a uniquely entertaining city.

These are the aspects of the city that most interest me.  I am inspired by the rich culture and traditions of New Orleans and I hope my photographs provide you with an interesting interpretation of this beloved city.