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History

In order to understand the culinary culture of New Orleans it is important to know the colorful history behind the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. New Orleans is a port city which has brought many different flavors to the local cuisine. La Nouvelle-Orleans was named after Philippe II, Duc d'Orleans, Regent of France on August 25, 1718 by the French Mississippi Company under the direction of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville. The French food began pouring into town. In 1763 the Treaty of Paris ceded the French colony to the Spanish Empire. She remained under Spanish control until 1801 which was plenty of time to sprinkle the city with a great deal of Spanish flavor. Napoleon sold the territory to the United States in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase. The Haitian Revolution of 1804 brought a lot of refugees to New Orleans which doubled the current French-speaking population. During the antebellum era New Orleans became very involved with the slave trade since it is a booming port city. The Union captured the city early in the American Civil War sparing it the destruction that was inflicted on many other Southern cities at the time. She could not be so beautiful today if Sherman had burned her down. Today New Orleans is a melting pot in very many ways. New Orleans is located on the banks of the Mississippi River approximately 105 twisting miles up the Mississippi from the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River Delta has given New Orleans a taste all her own. To be located in a place where a river as powerful as the Mississippi meets the ocean is something close to amazing. And then there is the water. It's everywhere. Even the highest ground in the swamp will always be highly involved with water. Lake Pontchartrain is clearly visable from space as it is the second largest salt-water lake in the United States following the Great Salt Lake. Sandwiched between two breath-takingly powerful bodies of water New Orleans was destined to have to let them both in from time to time. Even the floodwaters have touched New Orleans' cuisine. It is unclear what makes New Orleans' culinary philosophy so utterly unique because there are so many factors. Somehow the movie crews, beignets, mint leaves, muffalettas, Tennessee Williams, pralines, Saints, liquor, shrimp boaters, taco trucks, kosher delis, Yats, potholes, streetcars, spray painted men, bloody marys, crawfish, afternoon summer rains, cajun fusion foods, classic French brasseries, and yes even the floodwater somehow beautifully mix together in their own melting pot, or melting bowl, to produce some of the most amazing culinary experiences in the world.