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New Orleans - Referat

New Orleans:
1. general information about New Orleans:
New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana. The city is located in the southeast section of the state between two other states: Texas and Mississippi.It is in the center of a major sea and river port, on the Mississippi River and near the Gulf of Mexico.Its position near the mouth of the Mississippi River makes it a natural outlet for the mid-continent area and a major gateway to central and South America. The city is surrounded by water and lies under the sea level.Meaning that even outside the hurrican season there are many dangers for the city.

1.2. New Orleans today:
In New Orleans you can find French and Spanish settlers, West and African Slaves, Carribean planters and italien immigrants. All of them influence the culture and atmosphere of the city and make it spcial. Everybody however different they are, seems to enjoy life there, because of that the city is also called the “Big Easy”.
New Orleans is famous for food and drink. You can find a lot of specialities as gumbo
and sea food in general. A funny tradition is eating black beans with rice every Monday, because in the past Monday was the washing day and therefore women didn´t have time for cooking.

2. Foundation and early settlement:
The city was founded in the year 1682 by the French discoverer “Robert Cavalier” who travelled along the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico and occupied the entire area for the French crown. 16 years later an expedition under Ludwig XIV founded near the mouth of Mississippi River a new colony; so Lousiana became the only state, that was once a French royal colony.

In 1717 three men (Jean Babtiste, Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville and John Law) founded the city of NEW ORLEANS. The city was named in honor of Philippe II, Duc d´Orleans, the regent of France under French King Loius XV.France was the first country to occupy the

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area of New Orleans. In the 1500´s Hernan Cortez of Spain invaded Mexico, and thus the territory known as New Orleans came under the jurisdiction of the Spaniards. It is the only U.S. city where French was the predominant language for more than one century.
In the beginning above all goldseekers settled in New Orleans, but the French authorities hoped that also a lot of farmers,craftsmen ans tradesmen settling down in the town. New Orleans is very efficiently located for trading and for ship arrivals and departures because it was situated at the Mississippi and near the Gulf of Mexico.
Good weather conditions have also proved invaluable to this environment of industrialization. New Orleans has a moderate climate. The temperature varies between 16° C in the winter time and 24°C in the summer time.Freezing weather is rare, and the temperature goes above 35°C only about 6 days a year.

In 1761 more than 3,000 people lived in the colony, especially black slaves and free black people.

3. The French Quarter – a historical site:

Today you can still visit the French Quarter, which is the original section of New Orleans, and some of the buildings date back to the end of the 18th century.
The French Quarter is also named the “Vieux Carré” and in the center of this quarter the Jackson Square is located just in front of the St.Louis cathedral. At this place in years of yore important statements were made and slaves and criminals were executed. The first thing to remember about the French Quarter is that this area is authentic, not a reproduction of history and most of the architecture is Spanish, not French. The entire area consists of 120 blocks, nestled on the bend of the Mississippi River.

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3.1. Typical houses of New Orleans:

Tourist are able to have a look on the typical “creole cottages” , “ the double gallery houses” and the “shotgun-houses”. The creole cottages were built between 1790 and 1850. This kind of houses are one- storied and comprised 4 rooms that all got the same size. The double galery houses were built on stakes in the first half of the 19th century, because if there was a flooding the houses were save. The shotgun houses were originated between the 1850s and 1940s. The long and narrow buildings named Shotgun houses because of their ground plan were special : One room follows in alignment with the other, so that in theory it is possible to shoot a bullet through the front door and follow its way straight through the rooms to the backdoor of the house, where it resigns again.

4. The change from the economical center to the center of music and arts:
With the beginning of the age of industry New Orleans lost its economic importance.
During the First World War the maritime-trade boomed again, but New Orleans couldn´t profit from it. The result was that the French Quarter became a slum area.
In the 1920´s New Orleans was a very popular town for artists, musicians,writers and painters, because they could live there without needing a lot of money. Through the years New Orleans has become an art center, with many artists and art galleries offering original works to collecters. There are also a lot of live theaters and music events during the week.


5.The age of Jazz:

5.1. New Orleans- the birthplace of Jazz:
New Orleans is also called the “birthplace of Jazz”, because around the turn of the century slaves of the Westindian Islands were allowed to come together every Sunday at the Congo Square. This square is named today “Louis Armstrong Park”.
There the slaves practiced African rhythms and dances, which became what is now Jazz. Jazz was born around 1895 in New Orleans , this music is the product of the decendents of the Africans who were taken from Africa by those living in the southern United States to work as slaves. It was a new style of music inspired on the one hand by Blues, Gospel and Spirituals and on the other hand by American military marches and dance music.

5.2. Louis Armstrong- the greatest Jazz musician:
One of the most famous and greatest Jazz musicians was Louis Armstrong. He lived from 1901- 1971 and was born in New Orleans. He grew up in a poor family in a rough section of New Orleans. He started working at a very young age to support his family, singing on street corners for pennies, working on a junk waggon and selling coal.Armstrong´s travels around the city introduced him to all kinds of music. The music that surrounded him was a great source of inspiration. He received his first former music instruction in the Colored Waif´s Home for Boys, where he was confined for a year and a half as punishment for firing blanks into the air on New Year´s Eve.
Armstrong is also known as “Satchmo”, which is short for “Satchelmouth” referring
to the size of his mouth, (in German: Schöpflöffelmund). With his wide grin and instantly recognizable gravelly voice, he won the hearts of people everywhere.

In remembrance of Louis Armstrong New Orleans founded the Louis Armstrong Park
which included the Congo Square, where the slaves and free black met at the turn of the century for practizing African rhythms and dances. In the park you can also find a statue of Louis Armstrong, which is located in the center.

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5.3. Ragtime:
Music in general and jazz especially both have strong links to dancing. One of the most influential elements of African culture was its polyrhythmic nature, which found expression in dance. Long before the early 20th century, when jazz evolved, the various dance steps that had originated in and around the plantation set the modes of expression for whites who imitated the slave's moves, mostly unaware of the extent of parody in those dances.
Ragtime, with its dotted new rhythms made it possible for dancers to begin to evade the stress that had until then been placed on the downbeat. This eventually led to the even 4/4 swing of later dance styles, where dancers were free to stress whichever part of the musical phrase they desired. Dancing was the only social medium through which the men and women were allowed to touch, and the early 20th century saw a gradual breakdown of the various traditions that had kept them, up to that point, physically apart while dancing together. There was a direct link between the musical styles and dance styles, and what they represented in moral terms.

5.4. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival:
How significant and important the Jazz music still is for this town shows the popular and famous New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. In the beginning this festival was envisioned as an important event that would have great cultural significance and popular appeal. The Festival was the result of years of discussions and efforts by city leaders who wanted to create an event worthy of the city’s legacy as the birthplace of jazz. After the Mardi Gras it is one of the most important events.It takes place from April 22nd to May 1st.

6. Mardi Gras (“fat tuesday”) - one of the biggest events of the year:
Since the end of the 18th century the carnival belonged to the fix municipal traditions and was a big problem for the town counsel because black people and white people celebrated together. And in this mixture of culture they were afraid of losing the moral principles of the public. The New Orleans carnival season begins after Christmas with local
carnival organizations holding balls almost every night until Mardi Gras the “fat Tuesday” before “Ash Wednesday”. Normally the two weeks before Mardi Gras are filled with parades, all day and night. In the New Orleans carnival it is important to wear costumes. You can also take part in masked-balls and fancy-dress parties.

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