New Orleans, to which we have referred as the great home of the Creole carnival, is a city known the world over by reputation. It is situated at the very mouth of the great Mississippi River, and its history dates back to the year 1542, when a gallant band of adventurers floated down the river into the Gulf of Mexico. In 1682, La Salle sailed down the river and took possession of the country on both sides of it in the name of France. In the closing days of the Seventeenth Century a French expedition landed not far from New Orleans, which was founded in 1718, with a population of sixty-eight souls. Three years later, the city, which now contains a population of more than a quarter of a million, was made the capital of the Territory of Louisiana, and it at once became a place of considerable importance.
In 1764, it was ceded to Spain, and this resulted in the people taking possession of New Orleans and resisting the change in government. Five years later, the new Spanish Governor arrived with ample troops, suppressed the rebellion, and executed its leaders from the Place d'Armes. In 1804, the territory of Orleans was established, and in 1814, a British army, 15,000 strong, advanced on the city after which the Territory was named. A great deal of confusion followed, but the city held its own, and the invading army was repulsed.
During the Civil War New Orleans again saw active campaigning. The occupancy of the city by General Butler, and the stern measures he adopted to suppress the loyalty even of the women of the town, has formed the subject of much comment. There are many interesting stories concerning this epoch in the city's history, which are told with many variations to every one who sojourns for a while in the great port at the gate of the greatest river in the world.
To-day, New Orleans is perhaps best known as the second largest cotton mart in the world, some 2,000,000 bales of the product of the Southern plantations being received and shipped out every year. More than 30,000,000 pounds of wool and 12,000,000 pounds of hides also pass through the city every year, to say nothing of immense quantities of bananas and costly transactions in sugar and lumber.
Although New Orleans is really some little distance from the ocean, the river at this point is more than half a mile wide, and the great ships of all nations are seen loading and unloading at its levee.
New Orleans naturally abounds in ancient landmarks and memorials. The old Spanish Fort is one of the most interesting among these. Warfare of the most bitter character was seen again and again at this place. The fortifications were kept up largely to afford protection against raids from Mexican pirates and hostile Indians, though they were often useful against more civilized foes. It was at this port that Andrew Jackson prepared to receive the British invaders. The magnificent use he made of the fortifications should have given to the old place a lasting standing and a permanent preservation. Some forty years ago, however, the fort was purchased and turned into a kind of country resort, and more lately it has become the home of a recreation club.
MY NATIVE LAND
The United States: its Wonders, its Beauties, and its People; with Descriptive Notes, Character Sketches, Folk Lore, Traditions, Legends and History, for the Amusement of the Old and the Instruction of the Young.
BY JAMES COX, Author of "Our Own Country," "Missouri at the World's Fair," "Old and New St. Louis," "An Arkansas Eden," "Oklahoma Revisited," Etc., 1903
"Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to himself has said,
This is my own,my native land."