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New Orleans (pronounced New OR-linz in American English; French La Nouvelle-OrlÃ©ans, pronounced in standard accent /la nuvɛl ɔʀleɑ̃/; Spanish Nueva OrleÃ¡ns) is a major United States port city and historically the largest city in the U.S. state of Louisiana.
New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana along the Mississippi River. The city is bordered by Lake Pontchartrain to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the east and is coextensive with Orleans Parish. It is named after Philippe II, Duke of OrlÃ©ans, Regent of France, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. New Orleans is known for its multicultural heritage as well as its music and cuisine. It is considered the birthplace of jazz.
Its status as a world-famous tourist destination is due in part to its architecture, music, cuisine, its annual Mardi Gras, and other celebrations and festivals. It has been called the "most unique city in America".
The city's several nicknames are illustrative:
Crescent City alludes to the course of the Mississippi River around and through the city
The Big Easy was possibly a reference by musicians in the early 1900s to the relative ease of finding work there and also due to the less tolerant alcohol restrictions.  The name also comes as New Orleans is a major city and was at one time "one of the cheapest places in America to live" 
The City that Care Forgot refers to the outwardly easy-going, carefree nature of many of the residents.
America's Most Interesting City
The Greater New Orleans population was approximately 1.4 million people prior to Hurricane Katrina (the metro area has rebounded to almost 1.2 million residents since Katrina).. Within the city limits of New Orleans itself, the population was 484,674 people (according to the 2000 U.S. census). Since Hurricane Katrina, the population within the city limits of New Orleans itself has been estimated to be between 200,665 to 275,000 and that's not counting the waves of Hispanic workers currently residing in the city. Today, New Orleans is a popular destination for tourists and film production companies alike.