The people, culture, and history of New Orleans are as rich as the food that is so famous. Like a good pot of gumbo, the many distinctive ingredients of New Orleans culture have simmered over its 300-year history to make the Crescent City unlike any other city in the United States.
Established in 1718 as a French settlement, La Nouvelle-Orléans (later anglicized to New Orleans) was less than 50 years old when France turned it over to Spain. The treaties of Fontainebleau (1762) and Paris (1763) following the French and Indian War placed Louisiana and New Orleans under Spanish control. In 1801, the French again took control of the area. But just two years later, faced with increased military action in Europe and short on funds, Napoleon Bonaparte sold the city and 828,000 square miles of land to the United States in 1803.
The total cost of the Louisiana Purchase was about $15 million – just 42 cents per acre in present-day currency. The land area included in the purchase shaped the expansion of the United States. The Louisiana Purchase almost tripled the size of the United States at the time and added portions of 15 current states to the country.
With its diverse population – French, Spanish, free Blacks, Caribbean islanders, Americans, and others – New Orleans stood out from the rest of the new nation. Later, an influx of European immigrants from Italy and Germany arrived, adding to the already rich and diverse culture. All these ingredients came together to shape the culture and cuisine of the region and led to a new style of music – Jazz – and the laissez-faire attitude encompassed in the popular New Orleans slogan “laissez les bon temps roulette (let the good times roll).” The city emerged as a cultural center at the turn of the 20th century, drawing an influx of artists, musicians, and writers.
New Orleans is still diverse. Still unique. Still laid back. Enjoy your time in this unique city.
LEARN MORE: Baptist Beginnings in New Orleans to the Founding of the Baptist Bible Institute
Created by New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary & Leavell College