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New Orleans | Timeline

Timeline: New Orleans


April 9: French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, and a small party arrive at the mouth of the Mississippi River. La Salle claims the region and names it Louisiana in honor of King Louis XIV of France.

Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, establishes the French colony of Louisiana.

Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, founds the city of New Orleans, then known as La Nouvelle-Orléans.

New Orleans becomes the capital of the Louisiana colony.

February 10: The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Seven Years' War and resulting in Spain taking possession of New Orleans from France.

March 21: A large fire sweeps through New Orleans, destroying more than 850 buildings.

October 1: After the signing of the secret Treaty of San Ildefonso, France reacquires Louisiana from Spain.

April 30: The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France for about $15 million. The acquisition doubled the size of the United States.

April 30: Louisiana is admitted to the Union.

December: The Battle of New Orleans begins. By January 1815 General Andrew Jackson and his forces defeat the British.

March 3: An act of Congress authorizes a U.S. Mint in New Orleans.

The country's oldest family-run restaurant, Antoine's, opens its doors in New Orleans. Patrons have included Franklin Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, and Pope John Paul II.

New Orleans suffers its worst epidemic of yellow fever, which kills approximately 9,000 people.

Mardi Gras in its modern form debuts in New Orleans with the establishment of the parading organization called the "Mistick Krewe of Comus."

January 26: Louisiana secedes from the Union.

April 12: Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Civil War breaks out.

April 28: Under the command of Rear Admiral David G. Farragut, a Union naval fleet captures New Orleans. Union forces control the city until the end of the Civil War.

April: Louisiana's Reconstruction government approves a Constitution that extends voting rights to black males and integrates public schools and public accommodations.

June 25: Louisiana is readmitted to the Union.

The Krewe of Rex, establishing a king of the Carnival, is founded.

Famed French impressionist artist Edgar Degas stays in New Orleans, where he creates at least 22 works of art.

New Orleans hosts the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition.

July 10: The general assembly of Louisiana passes a law requiring segregation of railway cars in the state.

October 20: Considered the first great jazz composer and pianist, Ferdinand "Jelly Roll" Morton is born in New Orleans.

June 7: Homer Plessy, who is categorized as seven-eighths Caucasian and one-eighth African, boards a train in New Orleans reserved for white passengers. He is arrested and will fight the charge all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

May 18: The U.S. Supreme Court delivers the Plessy v. Ferguson decision, affirming the Louisiana state law that mandated segregation.

August 4: Louis Armstrong, who would become known as the father of jazz, is born in New Orleans.

Yellow fever strikes New Orleans for the final time, killing more than 400 people.

The U.S. Mint in New Orleans coins its last currency.

The Louisiana state legislature grants a charter to Loyola University in New Orleans.

Albert Baldwin Wood invents the Wood screw pump, which would be used to reduce flooding in New Orleans.

An amendment to the Louisiana Constitution on the preservation of New Orleans' Vieux Carré, also called the French Quarter, leads to the creation of the Vieux Carré Commission to safeguard the area.

April 15: Fifteen inches of rain falls on New Orleans in 18 hours, causing disastrous flooding.

April 29: New Orleans dynamites the Poydras levee in an attempt to direct the flood waters away from the city.

December 26: Fleeing his home in St. Louis, Tennessee Williams arrives in New Orleans. He would become one of the nation's preeminent playwrights and set several of his works in his adopted hometown.

February 13: "The Little Foxes," a play written by New Orleans-native Lillian Hellman about the struggles of a Southern family, opens on Broadway.

The film New Orleans, with Louis Armstrong and Billie Holliday, is released.

December 3: Set in New Orleans, "A Streetcar Named Desire" opens on Broadway. The play would win the Pulitzer Prize. A film version starring Marlon Brando would be released in 1951.

March 1: Louis Armstrong is celebrated in his hometown as king of the Mardi Gras by the Zulu Social and Pleasure Club.

May 17: The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Educationstrikes down the precedent of Plessy v. Ferguson.

November 14: Six-year-old Ruby Bridges enters the William Frantz Public Elementary School in New Orleans, the first black student to enroll in the formerly all-white school. Her presence triggers protests and an exodus of white students from the school.

Preservation Hall, designed as a venue to showcase the jazz tradition of New Orleans, opens.

December 12: After a lawsuit was filed to desegregate the institution, the board of Tulane University votes to admit black students.

September 9-10: Hurricane Betsy strikes New Orleans, bringing winds of 125 miles per hour, causing widespread flooding, and killing dozens of residents.

September 17: The New Orleans Saints football teams plays its inaugural game at Tulane Stadium.

January 11: New Orleans hosts its first Super Bowl. The city has hosted the National Football League championship game a total of nine times.

April: The annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is held for the first time, with gospel singer and New Orleans-native Mahalia Jackson appearing.

July 6: Renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist Louis Armstrong dies at his home in Queens, New York.

September 28: The New Orleans Superdome, which hosts the New Orleans Saints and would house survivors of Hurricane Katrina, opens.

May 1: The first black mayor of New Orleans, Ernest Morial is sworn into office.

May 12: The Louisiana World Exposition opens in New Orleans. It becomes the only exposition to declare bankruptcy during its run.

September: Pope John Paul II visits New Orleans during a tour of the United States.

August: The Republican National Convention, which names George H.W. Bush as party nominee for president, is held in New Orleans.

August 28: The National Weather Service issues an advisory, warning that Katrina is a "potentially catastrophic category 5 hurricane."

August 29: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall on the Louisiana coast. Levees are breached in New Orleans, flooding portions of the city.

August 30: Large parts of New Orleans are flooded as residents crowd the Superdome.

August 31: Louisiana Governor Katherine Blanco and New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin order a complete evacuation of the city. The first buses transport residents from the Superdome to Houston.

September 1: President George W. Bush asks Congress for $10.5 billion in relief funds while National Guard troops help evacuate the Superdome.

September 2: President Bush flies to New Orleans to survey the damage after praising Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael Brown for his handling of the crisis.

September 4: The Superdome is fully evacuated.

September 12: Under heavy criticism, Michael Brown resigns as director of FEMA as water levels drop in New Orleans.

August 29: President Bush returns to New Orleans on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, pledging to spend $110 billion to rebuild the area. The hurricane killed more than 1,600 people and many thousands remain displaced.

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