The city was first built by the French before it became a territory of the United States when President Thomas Jefferson bought the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It was built at the mouth of the Mississippi River. It has been one of the World's greatest seaport cities for many years. The French located the city a short vertical distance above sea level. In the last three hundred years, the city has sunk slowly into the marshy soil. Large portions of New Orleans are now below sea level. A system of many pumps, dikes, seawall, and levees was built.
Over half of the grain that is sent by ship to other countries, comes first by barge through the Port of New Orleans. The grains are grown in the farming states bordering the Mississippi River, the Missouri River, and Ohio Rivers. Much of the crude oil that is made into gasoline and diesel fuel is brought to New Orleans for refining oil refinery and distribution to other parts of the United States by barge or oil pipeline. Also, there are many oil well platforms nearby, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Hurricane Katrina [change]
- See also: Hurricane Katrina
On August 29, 2005, New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina which destroyed over 80% of the city when the cities levees broke. The nation's weather services forecast storms by following changes in this pressure. Their work is often very accurate. In this storm, people knew several days before the storm that it would be very dangerous and very close to New Orleans. The very low pressure gave the storm unusual strength. The special systems built to protect this under water city failed in several ways. Water came over the dikes, seawalls, and levees at six places. The engines on the pumps failed as the water rose above them. It is estimated that more than three quarters (3/4) of New Orleans was under water in early September of 2005. The very deep water caused failure of sewer, phone, electric and fresh water systems. Many people drowned. Many homes were completely covered with water. Many important records, some from the French period of the 1700s were destroyed.
Many people believed that a flood in New Orleans would happen. They spoke openly about this concern for many years. A very serious flood happened several hundred miles upstream, on the Mississippi River, when heavy rains fell in 1927. The severe hardships from this flood led many people to move away. Many moved to Chicago.
Effects of Hurricane Katrina [change]
After Hurricane Katrina, many people who lived in the flooded city moved to other places in the US. Many people were afraid to move back. Their jobs and homes were gone and their possessions were lost. The people who could move back spread to many other states. Texas is the largest state and has received the most flood victims. Many volunteers and charities are helping the flood victims to relocate to new homes and, at the same time, repair homes and services in this city.
Several years after Katrina, New Orleans still had much fewer people than it did before the hurricane.
- Mildenberg, David. "Census shows a far less populous New Orleans". washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/04/AR2011020406198.html. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: New Orleans|
|Wikinews has news related to this article: New Orleans|