- Tom Lansford
Ever since its establishment, New Orleans, Louisiana, has provided a foundation for the development of African American culture. By the late 1700s the city had developed a prosperous mixed Creole population, descended from the original French, Spanish, and African slave inhabitants of the region. Much of the prosperity came from the port of New Orleans, one of the busiest in the United States. The political, economic, and social power of the Creoles declined significantly in the aftermath of the Civil War. Nonetheless, through the Jim Crow period blacks continued to contribute to social and cultural life in New Orleans. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina's devastation highlighted the lingering disparities in class and economic status between blacks and whites in the Crescent City and led to a renewed focus on race relations in the United States.
A version of this article originally appeared in The Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present.