1. It’s pronounced New Or-luns, not New Or-leans.
Unless you want a giant neon sign hanging from your forehead that reads “I am not from here.”
2. It is known as the “Crescent City”.
Because of its moon-like shape hugging the Mississippi River.
3. Two words: The food.
Okay here’s some more words: In New Orleans beignets have been a staple of Creole cuisine, and is the basis for one of the city’s most popular dives: Cafe du Monde. The delicacies were even named the Louisiana state doughnut back in 1986. Unfortunately not every state has named their own doughnut. Call your local congressman today to rectify this egregious matter.
4. Speaking of which, in New Orleans it’s not a “sub,” it’s a “poboy.”
5. The term “Dixieland” originates in the city.
Dixieland referenes the Old South and the style of jazz performed by early New Orleans performers. It’s since been used as a name for pretty much every middle-of-nowhere rinky-dink theme park ever.
6. Most of the buildings and architecture around today actually have more of a Spanish history.
Due to a city-wide fire that spread in the 1700s under Spanish rule, most of the earlier French buildings were lost.
7. Guinness officially named the nearby Lake Pontchartrain Causeway the longest continuous bridge in the world.
See, even Louisiana can have nice things.
8. The New Orleans Superdome is one of the largest enclosed arenas in the world.
It’s so big that condensation inside it can allegedly make rainstorms within the dome. You can stop reading here and just pack your bags now, really. It doesn’t get much cooler than that.
9. Mardi Gras may not have originated here (it actually got its start in Mobile, AL) but it sure as hell stayed.
10. In fact, the Endymion Krewe has more than 2,500 members and sees about 15,000 guests to its parades every year.
Of it’s circa 80 parades per year, their parades are the largest the city sees.
11. The motto of the Endymion Krewe is “Throw Until It Hurts”.
Meaning you are guaranteed to get cool stuff hurled precariously close to your face at any moment.
12. Endymion has also been grand marshaled by many a famous face, such as Marisa Tomei, Dan Aykroyd, Kevin Costner, Kelly Clarkson, and Maroon 5.
13. Speaking of famous people, a ton of them were born in the city.
They are known to return every now and then for a visit, including Reese Witherspoon, Harry Connick, Jr., and Ellen DeGeneres (who was actually born right outside the city in Metairie).
14. Lee Harvey Oswald, president JFK’s assassin, was born in New Orleans in 1939.
This factoid is meant to counterbalance all the positives on this list; otherwise, the world may step into chaos.
15. History question: During the Civil War, what was the largest city in the Confederate States of America? You guessed it: New Orleans.
Like most Southern cities, it has a storied and bloody history that shows how it’s grown over the years, but also one that can’t be ignored. Just avoid asking everyone which side their great grandparents fought for.
16. It was New Orleans where voodoo was first introduced into the United States.
In fact, in the 1800s Voodoo queens became central figures in the culture. In New Orleans, Marie Laveau gained prominence amongst these figures. She was an oracle, performed exorcisms, and overthrew the other queens in the city. Because of this influence she is remembered to this day. Fun fact: her tomb in the New Orleans cemetery even warrants more visitors than Elvis Presley’s in Tennessee. That’s a legacy.
17. Vampires and werewolves and fae-folk… oh, you get it.
HBO’s uber-popular southern paranormal drama “True Blood” takes place in the fictional town of Bon-Temps, LA and throws a gallon of supernatural paint at the wall to see what sticks. What does this have to do with New Orleans? Not much, but it’s probably the most recognizable popular culture representation of a Louisianian town and is hard to ignore because of it. Just don’t let the were-panthers scare you off.
18. Louisiana is 1 of 2 states in the U.S. that does not have counties.
19. The city was originally founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville for the sole purpose of being safe from hurricanes.
An act that would today earn him his own facepalm gif.
20. The French Quarter, known as the heart of New Orleans.
A popular tourist stop for shopping and street vendors. It’s actually the small square area that Bienville first founded when he discovered the area. Thirteen city blocks long by six deep – the original boundaries of New Orleans.
21. Alcohol is practically given away in the city and can be found at any time of day.
Bars stay open day and night, and because of the city’s festivals happening throughout the year, most bars give patrons little to-go cups for their favorite poisons. Inebriation, ahoy!
22. Like gambling? Thank New Orleans.
The city was the place where both craps and poker were invented.
23. The first opera in the U.S. was performed in New Orleans way back in 1796.
They may not be popular nowadays but this early form of performance art is easily traceable to having influenced the influx of the theater arts in the US, including the myriad interpretations of Shakespeare’s plays stateside and the eruption of Broadway throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
24. The New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl in 2010.
I’m not a big sports guy, but I got out of pretty much all my classes the day after, so I’m with everyone who consider this to be a generally cool thing.
25. Treme (pronounced tre-may).
Once known as the “Back of Town,” is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans and is widely known as a racially mixed area. It’s an integral center of the city’s African-American and Creole culture. HBO made the polarizing TV show “Treme,” chronicling life of a cast of characters living in this lesser off section of the city. Sorry, no joke here. Have you seen “Treme?” They mean business on that show.