About New Orleans
New Orleans welcomes visitors with a genuine hospitality and one of a kind flair. The city's unique mix of cultures creates a chameleon destination; with so many aspects to its character, the city truly can offer something for every type of visitor, appeal to every interest, and fulfill every agenda with equal enthusiasm.
The city is full of complexities and contradictions, but its multifaceted personality somehow blends into an offbeat harmony that defines the city's unmistakable charm. New Orleans is a city of marvelous excesses and gentle subtleties. It fosters peaceful relaxation and unfettered abandon. It can deliver the wildest nightlife entertainment and the most family-oriented vacation. It is bawdy and sophisticated, historic and contemporary, relaxing and energizing, educational and recreational, rustic and refined.
The climate in New Orleans is mild and pleasant most of the year-- a cross between the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Greater Metropolitan New Orleans extends about 360 square miles (200 land, 160 water) through the parishes (local equivalent of counties) of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard and Plaquemines. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the population in the city proper was only about 485,000, with a total of about 1,034,000 in the metro area. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the household population has dropped. According to the U.S. Postal Service, there are about 200,000 people in the city proper, though the metro population numbers remain at roughly 1 million.
The architecture is European and Creole, the colors are Caribbean and the festive lifestyle is a New Orleans trademark. For 300 years, the French Quarter has been the heart of the city, centered around Jackson Square. Home of the French Market, Riverwalk, the Aquarium of the Americas, Spanish Plaza, museums, restaurants and enough activity for a lifetime of sightseeing. While the French Quarter is the most famous, there are lots of other fascinating neighborhoods to explore.