The cosmopolitan city of New Orleans is located on Lake Pontchartrain near the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana. A beguiling combination of old and new, New Orleans has been dubbed "America's Most Interesting City." For most of its history, New Orleans' status as a major port city has made it a bustling center of commerce and industry. Economic opportunity attracted hundreds of thousands of early settlers, resulting in today's ethnically diverse population of Creoles, Cajuns and those of Italian, African and Caribbean descent. While the New Orleans metro area today remains an important commercial and industrial hub, it is arguably most famous as a tourist destination. In the early nineteenth century, the American Sector was located just upriver of the original French colony, founded in 1718. Today, visitors come from around the globe to experience the old-world charm of the carefully preserved French Quarter, also called the Vieux Carre (Old Square). Travelers come to dine in its fine restaurants, listen to incomparable jazz, and browse in Royal Street's fine antique shops. Home to the world-famous annual Mardi Gras celebration, New Orleans lives by its motto: "laissez le bon temps rouler!" ("Let the good times roll!")
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Great New Orleans reading list
"This selection of books on New Orleans originally prepared for the 2008 AADPRT Annual Meeting, and maintained for others wishing to immerse themselves in the culture prior to visiting The Big Easy."
~ Sheldon Benjamin, 2008 AADPRT Annual Meeting Program Chair (New Orleans)