It may have been battered by storms, but the New Orleans metro area is far from being down for the count. This densely populated site consists of New Orleans as well eight surrounding parishes--St. Tammany, St. John, St. James, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Charles, Jefferson and Plaqumeines--that was populated by over 1.3 million people before Hurricane Katrina. While some of those residents have yet to return to Louisiana, there's been a steady influx of both old and new residents to New Orleans, lured by the prospects of rebuilding a vibrant metropolitan center.
In 2003, this part of the country boasted an average income of $36,639, with unemployment in 2006 actually improving from pre-Katrina levels to 4.2%.
- The energy industry is one the largest employers in the New Orleans area, accounting for over 20% of jobs. Fittingly, Fortune 500 power utility Entergy is headquartered in New Orleans, as is the mining company Freeport-McMoRan.
- Tourism is another significant source of jobs, employing over 80,000 people (not surprising as the New Orleans region regularly sees over 10 million visitors annually).
- The ports and shipping also contribute greatly to employment, with the Port of New Orleans ranking fourth in the country in terms of total trade, with the nearby Port of South Louisiana ranking third.
New Orleans has long been famed as one of the most charming, historic, and architecturally significant cities in the United States. While the recent hurricanes may have left it a bit worse for wear, it was recently named by the New York Times as "Comeback City of the Year," attesting to the success of its recovery efforts. The most popular spots in New Orleans are thriving with residents and visitors alike, especially:
- The French Quarter
- The Garden District
- Audubon Park
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