The city of New Orleans has a long and varied history. The urban development of the city has been affected by many factors - environmental, economic, and social.
Created by Group01 on Jan 14, 2010
Last updated: 01/20/10 at 08:42 PM
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ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: HURRICANE KATRINA In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina President Bush declared that it would cost $105 billion to repair the city, making it the most expensive natural disaster in US history. Furthermore the $105 billion does not include the costs of interruption of oil supply and exports of commodity (like grain). Of the 1 million non-farm jobs, 600,000 were lost in New Orleans causing an economic loss of over $150 billion. As a result of no one getting a paycheck or spending cash the local government was unable to collect taxes which eventually led to a limitation of resources for the city. One-tenth of all crude oil and almost half of gasoline produced in the US come from the refineries in the states along the Gulf Shore; additionally 24% of natural gas extracted or imported are found in the Gulf Shore region. Thus the temporary closure of the refinery equaled a loss of half a billion dollars a day in unavailable oil and gas. Once the facilities were reopened many believed that Louisiana authorities were price gouging gas prices. The major utility company in New Orleans, Entergy New Orleans, filed for bankruptcy on September 23, 2005 because of lower revenue and storm restoration cost. Entergy New Orleans eventually received financing from their parent company. SOURCES: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/8611/1/MPRA_paper_8611.pdf
ECONOMIC IMPACT: TOURISM New Orleans annually hosts one of the biggest bowl games in college football, the Sugar Bowl, which has been played annually since 1935. It has only been played outside of New Orleans once — on Jan. 2, 2006, when it was played in Atlanta due to Hurricane Katrina damage. Hotel occupancy hit 89 percent this past New Year's Eve, the night before the game between the University of Florida and the University of Cincinnati, which resulted in almost $5 million in revenue. SOURCES: www.sports.espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=260020061 www.neworleanscitybusiness.com/blog/2010/01/12/sugar-bowl-new-years-eve-help-hotels-end-year-on-high-note
ECONOMIC IMPACT: TOURISM The biggest holiday of the year in New Orleans, Mardi Gras, is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is also known as Fat Tuesday and wraps up a period known as Carnival, which begins on January 6. There are more than 70 parades throughout the city. Last year, there were 700,000- 800,000 visitors to the city during Mardi Gras. Tourism continues to be key to the rejuvenation of post-Katrina New Orleans. The industry contributed up to $6 billion to the city's economy. The ability to count on high influxes of tourists around annual events given city organizers a chance to prepare the city for these events with the timing of construction and ensuring enough hotel rooms — putting the city’s best foot forward in a way. It also gives businesses a chance to count on increased traffic at certain points in the year, encouraging renovations at other points. SOURCES: www.nola.com/mardigras/index.ssf/2007/12/carnival_basics.html www.nola.com/mardigras/index.ssf/2009/01/the_history_of_carnival.html www.cnn.com/2009/TRAVEL/02/20/mardi.gras.tourism/index.html www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1334012,00.html
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: HURRICANE KATRINA SOCIAL IMPACT: RACE AND DISPARITY After Hurricane Katrina made landfall the citizens of New Orleans lives changed forever. Many lives were lost and those that survived were mentally tainted. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes and jobs; not to mention the countless people that were separated from their loved ones, without any means to communicate. Many young children were separated from their parents and relatives during the aftermath of the storm; however, the American Red Cross, Microsoft, and San Diego Supercomputer Center created a database that allowed family members to locate missing loved ones. The association of Community Organization for Reform Now Katrina Survivor Association is helping victims to slowly restore the city they love. Citizens of New Orleans was left without income, severely damaged or destroyed homes, lack of food, water, shelter, and sanitation facilities. Health officials feared that out breaks of diarrhea may occur because of detected “unsafe” levels of E. Coli present in the flooded waters. Some victims even developed “Katrina Cough”, which is diagnosed to people who have allergies and lung disorders and develop complications due to toxic mold and airborne irritants. The social disparity in the city related to race and income level was most acutely seen in the aftermath of Katrina. The poorest families, the vast majority of which were African-American, were located in the lowest-lying areas of the city that endured the worst damage from the storm and the breeched levees. Entire sections of the city, like the Lower Ninth Ward, were completely devastated, with many of their residents still unable to return due to lack of resources to rebuild. SOURCES: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/8611/1/MPRA_paper_8611.pdf
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: HURRICANE KATRINA On August 29, 2005, Katrina made landfall in Louisiana as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of more than 125 mph. Hurricane Katrina affected an area as large as England. The storm surge that accompanied the hurricane extended over six miles inland and 57 miles along the coastline. The hurricane caused more than 50 breeches in drainage canal levees and navigational levees. 80% of New Orleans was flooded and some parts were under 15 feet of water. There was massive damage to homes, hotels, and government buildings. Most major roadways were damaged, including roadways that led out of the city. The physical effect of Hurricane Katrina is not one that will be easily overcome, and even now years later it is still very much a work in progress to restore the city to its former glory. SOURCES: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_of_Hurricane_Katrina_in_New_Orleans www.mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/8611/1/MPRA_paper_8611.pdf
SOCIAL IMPACT: RACE AND POWER In 1977, Ernest Morial was elected as the first African-American mayor of New Orleans, which has not had a white mayor since. The balance of power between blacks and whites has been an issue for a long time, but since Hurricane Katrina, the future of the city has come to the forefront. This year, the African American candidate for mayor dropped out of the race, and the only remaining candidates are white. This could be beneficial or a tough change for the residents of New Orleans. Only time will tell if a new political leader will help or hurt the city of New Orleans. Making plans for political leaders to lead the city back to pre-Katrina days is a major issue for residents of the city. The city cannot grow past its social issues until it becomes more appealing as a place to live again. It is unlikely that people will want to live in a city that has high crime and poverty rates and is marked by social injustice and instability. If the city is unappealing, it is less likely to attract new companies and possibilities for further development. SOURCES: www.nytimes.com/2010/01/13/us/13orleans.html
ECONOMIC IMPACT: TOURISM The city of New Orleans is well known for its ties to jazz. Many jazz legends played in New Orleans during the early years of the genre. The very first Jazz & Heritage Festival occurred in April 1970. More than half a million people visit the festival each year, which runs from late April through Late May. SOURCES: www.nojazzfest.com/
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: GEOGRAPHY ECONOMIC IMPACT: TRADE More than half of New Orleans is at or above sea level, contrary to what many believe. This land above sea level is also not in any specific region of the city but spread throughout. At first, the city was closer to the Gulf of Mexico and built exclusively on higher pieces of land. With the ever present threat of the Mississippi River flooding the city and the great difficulty that the low water table presented to construction, the city’s urban development moved more north towards the lake. Development in the lower areas of the city became possible through the uncovering of land by the pumping of swamp water and the levee system built by the Corps of Engineers in 1965. Modern day New Orleans has pretty-much reached its limits as far as available land is concerned, due to the impenetrable borders of a river to the south and a lake to the north. However, it is the city’s ideal location on the Mississippi River that allowed for its economic growth, in turn resulting in urban development for the entire history of the city. SOURCES: Lewis, Peirce F. New Orleans: The Making of an Urban Landscape. Cambridge: Ballinger, 1976
SOCIAL IMPACT: INEQUALITY The landmark supreme court case of Plessy v. Ferguson originated in Louisiana when African-American Homer Plessy boarded a railroad car designated for whites in 1892. When Plessy refused to move to the colored car, he was arrested. In its ruling the Supreme Court declared the idea of 'separate but equal' constitutional and in doing so strengthened the Jim Crow movement of the time. Since its earliest days, New Orleans has had a high population of African Americans; today New Orleans is 67% African American. There are many effects of social disparity in New Orleans because of the large ratio of blacks to whites. Racially speaking, only a third of New Orleans’ population is of non-African American descent. This creates difficulties involving segregation and racism. Almost 30% of New Orleans’ residents currently live at the poverty level. The median income for residents of New Orleans is around $38,000. These residents do not have the same opportunities as people living at a higher income level. Neighborhoods in New Orleans that are predominantly African-American today tend to have the lowest income levels and the highest crime rates. SOURCES: www.city-data.com/city/New-Orleans-Louisiana.html#ixzz0cu1966cD www.understandingkatrina.ssrc.org/Fussell/ www.city-data.com/city/New-Orleans-Louisiana.html#ixzz0cu0zQ3Yz
SOCIAL IMPACT: RACE ISSUES The influx of slaves into New Orleans resulted in a demographic shift in the city, with more African-Americans living and working within the city instead of the outskirts. Despite its significance to the slave trade, New Orleans had the largest population of free persons of color in the country at the time. Small African-American districts began to pop up within the city, like Congo Square in the Treme neighborhood. In colonial times slaves were usually allowed Sundays off and were allowed to gather at the 'Place de Negres,' or 'Place Congo' to have markets, dance, and play music. These small districts of slaves played an important part of the urban development of New Orleans and many of the neighborhoods exist to this day with predominantly African-American populations. SOURCES: Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade, 1440-1870
SOCIAL IMPACT: RACE ISSUES The New Orleans slave auction reached a peak in the early to mid 1800’s. Up until the 1800’s New Orleans was under French and Spanish control. Slaves were used, but only in the outskirts of the city to grow cotton, and they didn’t play an integral part in the development of the city. It wasn't until after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the Haitian Revolution in 1804 that New Orleans became an integral port of the Atlantic slave trade, thanks to its location on the Mississippi River. The slave trade caused the population of the city to double in the 1830s and the resulting economy contributed to New Orleans' status as one of the wealthiest cities in the antebellum south. SOURCES: www.sonofthesouth.net/slavery/history-slavery.htm
ECONOMIC IMPACT: COLONIAL MERCANTILISM AND TRADE In the early 1800’s, European control came to an end with the Louisiana Purchase and the sale of New Orleans to the United States. At that point, New Orleans began to boom, economically and physically. A census in 1810 concluded New Orleans was the largest city west of the Appalachians, ranking fifth in large cities behind only New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore. Europe and New England were also booming, which resulted in the need for goods from the Midwest region. Consequently, these goods were bulky and in large quantities, and until another mode of transportation was invented, they had to be shipped out by the river. That meant they would travel through the port of New Orleans and quench the economic thirst of this growing city. As it grew, the city continued its gridiron pattern and began spreading upriver (west), along the natural levees of the river, since they were the only high ground available for development. SOURCES: Lewis, Peirce F. New Orleans: The Making of an Urban Landscape. Cambridge: Ballinger, 1976
ECONOMIC IMPACT: TOURISM The French Quarter is the sector of the city that was the core of New Orleans from the very beginning and is one of the few areas in the city located above sea level. Many of the buildings date back hundreds of years to the early days of the city. The area was first made as a 70-square grid by French Canadian naval officer Jean Baptiste Bienville. The Vieux Carré (aka the French Quarter) Commission was founded in 1936 in order to keep some of the history and antique traits of the French Quarter intact. Ten million people visit the French Quarter each year. Now well-known as a hot spot for visiting partygoers, Bourbon Street has been around since the founding of New Orleans in 1718. The 13-block stretch in the French Quarter is famous for bars that never close, and the fact that it is one of the rare places where no open container law exists. If visited during the day, however, the area is much more tame but contains interesting antique shops and small restaurants. The fact that New Orleans has a “party district” of sorts allows the entire city to use this information in determining where to build certain things. Businesses and organizations that mesh with the nonstop nightlife congregate near these areas, allowing more family-friendly events to be held in other areas without risk of coming across more adult content. SOURCES: www.inetours.com/New_Orleans/French_Quarter_History.html www.frenchquarter.com/history/shortquarterhistory.php www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/fq/bourbonstreet.html
ECONOMIC IMPACT: COLONIAL MERCANTILISM AND TRADE In 1718 Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, established New Orleans as the capital of Louisiana and a fortress to control the wealth of the North American interior. Due to its French influence, the urban fabric of the city began as a gridiron pattern. New Orleans grew slowly as it was not a desirable place for conservative Frenchman, although the city maintained its economic wealth, because of American settlers in the Ohio valley seeking trade outlets through the city. SOURCES: Lewis, Peirce F. New Orleans: The Making of an Urban Landscape. Cambridge: Ballinger, 1976
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: GEOGRAPHY European settlers first came to Louisiana in 1528. During the exploration and colonization of the 16th century, the greatest cities in the future United States were found by large bodies of water such as the Atlantic coast, the Great Lakes, and rivers. As a result of its location near the mouth of one of the longest rivers in the country, it is only reasonable that urban development would begin where this port city was founded. New Orleans is the largest city in the state of Louisiana. The city can be found along the banks of the Mississippi River about 120 miles upriver of the Gulf of Mexico. More specifically, New Orleans is in the Mississippi River Delta on the east and west banks of the river with Lake Pontchartrain just to the north of it. SOURCES: www.census.gov/prod/cen2000/phc3-us-pt1.pdf www.nola.com/news/t-p/frontpage/index.ssf?/base/news-8/1177135924117150.xml&coll=1 Brunn, et al. Cities of the World: World Regional Urban Development. 2008.