New Orleans is a melting pot of cultures, where French and Spanish, enslaved Africans and their descendants, Native Americans, Haitians, and Italians have come together to form an unique identity along the Mississippi River. You can feel its magic here; come experience why New Orleans remains such an amazing destination to visit!
Established in 1719, New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz and Mardi Gras. As a major tourist destination, it draws millions of visitors each year to its restaurants, clubs, and attractions. Furthermore, New Orleans serves as an important center for political and economic development as one of America’s most significant cities.
The city’s founding residents hail from France and Spain, who traded heavily with Cuba and Mexico and adopted racial rules that permitted a class of free people of color to live there. When the French settled in Louisiana, they constructed series of simple wooden houses and buildings on the swampy inland side of the Mississippi River which often experienced flooding due to inadequate drainage.
In the 18th century, France brought a number of enslaved Africans from Senegambia, Benin and Congo to New Orleans. These individuals had previously been held as property in West African coastal regions.
Enslaved people and the descendants of their ancestors have been an integral part of New Orleans since its founding. They provided labor, sold products in markets, and built many of the city’s houses and structures that still stand today.
They were among the earliest immigrants to New Orleans and remain an integral part of its culture today. Thanks to their ability to adapt to the region’s climate, they helped shape its distinctive cuisine as well.
Their food traditions, skills and knowledge shaped New Orleans’ culture in an indelible way that endures to this day. New Orleans cuisine boasts both timeless classic dishes as well as more modern inventions that have made it the culinary powerhouse it is today.
Many dishes in New Orleans have become iconic. Beignets, jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish etouffee, po’boy sandwiches and oysters Rockefeller have become iconic symbols of the city that define it for visitors as much as those who reside here.
Some dishes are defined by a particular restaurant; others by ingredients or styles. For instance, bananas Foster and oysters Rockefeller have become iconic New Orleans dishes, while turtle soup pays homage to the area’s early French settlers.
No matter if you’re a true food connoisseur or just searching for an interesting restaurant to grab some lunch at, New Orleans has something to please everyone. From traditional Creole dishes to more contemporary Vietnamese-inspired cuisine, the food scene here is as diverse as its city itself.