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Geography of New Orleans

Geography of New Orleans - One of the Most Unique Cities of the USA

The largest city in Louisiana, New Orleans is also a major US port. The Greater New Orleans metropolitan area is also the largest metro in the state. Common and coextensive city and parish boundaries give the region a multicultural heritage.
Gaynor Borade
Last Updated: Dec 10, 2017
New Orleans gets its name from the Regent of France, Philippe II, Duc d'Orléans. It is not only one of the oldest cities in the United States, but is also popular for a unique multilingual culture and heritage. Its strategic location and timeless appeal has given to the world a tourist destination that is replete with anomalous cuisine, music, and architecture. The birthplace of jazz and Mardi Gras, New Orleans has rightly earned the epithet 'The Most Unique' city in the United States of America.
New Orleans is flanked by:
  • The parish of St. Tammany and Lake Pontchartrain on the north.
  • Parish of St. Bernard and Lake Borgne on the east.
  • Plaquemines on the south.
  • Jefferson on the west.
Brief History
La Nouvelle-Orléans or New Orleans was founded in 1718. The city grew rapidly under the influence of the American and French invasions. It has always functioned as a principal port and the prosperous home of educated property owners. Today, it is a progressive city, vitally important to the nation's commitment to automation and containerization in port trade. 
The unique architectural styles, low and mid-rise structures, and location makes New Orleans one of the most visited cities in the United States of America. It is located on the banks of the Mississippi River. The city has a total area of 350.2 square meters and a metropolitan population of just above a million. It is a peninsular city, with its mainland heart in the shape of a curve. This feature gives the city the much-publicized epithet 'Crescent City'.
Geography and Climate
The inhabited region comprises marshland, lakes, and bayous that spike outward, in all directions. The city has a semi-tropical climate due to its proximity to water-bodies. It receives a negligible amount of precipitation in the form of snow, but receives showers throughout the year. The city is a tourist hot spot for the frequent sighting of tornado-induced waterspouts on the surrounding lakes.
The landmass of New Orleans is set at a mean elevation of 5 feet above sea level. The annual average temperature records at 68.1 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average annual precipitation recorded is at 61.8 inches. Its location along the Mississippi River Delta and its proximity to Lake Pontchartrain characterizes the coastal and bay areas with ridges and hollows. It enjoys natural levees along the Mississippi River, making the region less vulnerable to hurricanes. However, the region is now showing signs of subsidence due to human interference. The effects of erosion and the loss of wetland have resulted in the unstable basement delta now observed.
The natural course flooding and sediment deposition from the Mississippi River previously counterbalanced natural subsidence. Today, with the construction of flood control structures upstream, the ground lost is impossible to regain even via dredging. 51 percent of the region is above sea level even today, and densely populated too. New Orleans has always had to deal with the risk of storm surge and an eroding coastline. The climatic conditions are characterized by:
  • Mild winters
  • Hot, humid summers
  • Annual precipitation during the summer months
The densely inhabited areas comprise three distinct urban and suburban areas. The Central Business District is an area located north and west of the Mississippi River. The major streets that fan out from the central city point include Canal Street, Tulane Avenue, Poydras Street, Loyola Avenue, Rampart Street, St. Charles Avenue, and Royal Street. The Downtown neighborhood relates to areas downriver from Canal Street.
The area includes the French Quarter, Tremé, Faubourg Marigny, Bywater, and the Lower Ninth Ward. The third area is suburban and is referred to as the Uptown neighborhood. The area comprises the region upriver from Canal Street. It includes Warehouse District, Garden District, the Irish Channel, Gert Town, University District, Fontainebleau, and Broadmoor.