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The fate of New Orleans, Louisiana has always been influenced by the city's unlikely geography. Perched on a narrow ridge in a vast swamp, bordered to the north by Lake Pontchartrain and almost encircled by the Mississippi River, the city and its history were shaped by topography.
In 1722, a failing company struggling in a remote wilderness relocated its primitive headquarters for the sixth time in twenty-three years. A little over a century later, that settlement, with its ornate Opera House and flourishing Vieux Carré, was one of the most opulent and important cities on the continent. Today on that site, a vibrant and culturally rich community turns its eyes to the future, while nineteenth-century pumping stations literally keep the city above water.
Time has dealt New Orleans its share of triumph and tragedy, of rises and falls. The long, tumultuous story that has transpired upon this magnificent crescent of the Mississippi has produced one of the world's most interesting cities. New Orleans stands as an urban oasis in the swamps, a nexus of the American interior and the Gulf of Mexico, a unique metropolis embodying a history and a geography like few other places.
By using maps, aerial images, bird's-eye perspectives, photographs, charts, and text derived from a wide range of historical data, Richard Campanella explores the unusual geographical circumstances underlying this fascinating city. Time and Place in New Orleans celebrates the patterns and distributions of the city's human geography and the vestiges of the past alive in its streets today.
Posted July 7, 2014