New Orleans


2010: 343,829, #52 in U.S., #1 in Louisiana

1950: 570,445, #16 in U.S.

2010 Metropolitan Area: 1,167,764, #46 in U.S.

1950 Metropolitan Area: 685,405, #21 in U.S.

The population of New Orleans is still about 100,000 less than it was immediately before Hurricane Katrina in 2005.


New Orleans was founded by the French on the Mississippi River in 1718. Today it is a major port for cargo and cruise ships. The Canal Street Ferry takes passengers and vehicles across the river.


Tallest building: One Shell Square (1972), 697 feet

List of tallest buildings


The Shops at Canal Place have a Saks Fifth Avenue department store. The Riverwalk Marketplace, located along the river on the site of the 1984 World’s Fair, has shopping, dining, and entertainment.


Amtrak has service from New Orleans west to Houston and Los Angeles on the Sunset Limited, north to Memphis and Chicago on the City of New Orleans, and northeast to Atlanta and New York City on the Crescent. The service east to Florida has been suspended since Hurricane Katrina. Trains operate from Union Passenger Terminal (1954).

New Orleans has three streetcar lines. The St. Charles Line has been in operation since 1835.

New Orleans and Mississippi River


The Louisiana State Museum has several properties in the French Quarter. The National World War II Museum and the  Aquarium of the Americas are located downtown.


The Theatres at Canal Place show first-run and independent films. The Saenger Theatre, a 1927 movie palace, was closed because of damage from Hurricane Katrina but is reopening in 2013. The Orpheum Theater (1917) has also been closed since Hurricane Katrina.

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra has played at the Mahalia Jackson Theater and other locations since the Orpheum was flooded. The Mahalia Jackson Theater also hosts the New Orleans Opera and touring Broadway shows from Broadway in New Orleans. The Southern Rep has its theater in the Shops at Canal Place.


The New Orleans Zephyrs, Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Florida Marlins, play at Zephyr Field (1997) in the town of Metairie, just west of New Orleans.

The NFL New Orleans Saints play at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (1975). The NBA New Orleans Hornets and the Arena Football League New Orleans Voodoo play at the New Orleans Arena (1999).

Map of Downtown New Orleans

Buildings and Architecture