New Orleans History Quiz



4 Min Quiz

In what decade did European explorers first visit the mouth of the Mississippi River?

The Hernando Cortez expedition first traveled through the area in the 1540s.


Once they discovered the area, how long did it take the French to establish their first colony?

The first French colony wasn't built until 1699, 17 years after they first visited the New Orleans area.


When was the city of New Orleans founded?

Its location at the mouth of the Mississippi meant that New Orleans was destined to become a vital strategic location and economic powerhouse.


What event destroyed much of the city in 1722?

The city's location means that hurricanes make landfall nearby on an average of every 2.5 to 3 years.


Which country attacked New Orleans in 1815?

As part of the War of 1812, a British fleet attacked the city in an effort to take control of America's river system.


During the Battle of New Orleans, how many American soldiers confronted the British force of 15,000?

Even with their overwhelming numbers, the British were soundly defeated, and all for naught -- a treaty ending the war had been signed weeks prior but the combatants didn't know about it.


In the early 1760s, New Orleans was turned over to the control of which country?

For four decades, New Orleans was a Spanish city, a fact that contributes to the area's eclectic culture.


Why did the French cede control of New Orleans to the Spanish?

King Louis XV owed a debt to Spain and paid it by giving away New Orleans; French citizens were outraged and Spain sent troops to calm the unrest.


In 1979, why was the National Guard called into the city during Mardi Gras?

Police workers went on strike, meaning the National Guard had to maintain peace during Mardi Gras.


What was the population of New Orleans in 2000?

In 2013, the population was around 370,000, far lower than the 2000 count of 480,000.


New Orleans was named after what or whom?

The city was named after Philippe II, duc d'Orleans, who served as a regent to King Louis XV.


When was the first Mardi Gras parade celebrated?

The first Mardi Gras was held in 1857, just a few years before the Civil War started.


What crop was important to the very first settlers of New Orleans?

Along with indigo and rice, tobacco was a vital crop to the earliest European settlers.


How many teachers were there when the city's public school system began in 1841?

There were fewer than 100 students in the system when four teachers took the lead in educating the town's children.


In what year did the United States purchase the city, along with much of the land around it?

New Orleans was included as part of the Louisiana Purchase, which was completed in 1803.


Who were the "Kaintucks," a group that became well-known in New Orleans in the late 1700s?

The establishment of the United States sent many Americans westward to the Mississippi River, where Kaintucks shipped products and people south to New Orleans.


Why were French leaders indifferent to giving up New Orleans to Spain in 1763?

The goods coming out of New Orleans weren't valuable enough to ship to Europe, meaning that the port wasn't very profitable.


How much did the U.S. pay France for the Louisiana Purchase?

At an area of nearly 830,000 square miles, the Purchase doubled the size of the United States and gave the blossoming country a valuable southern port.


Beginning in 1992, what did the city council require of the Mardi Gras "krewes," the bands of revelers that participate in festivities?

Some krewes protested the racial requirement by refusing to participate or by holding private balls.


The Cajun ethnic group is made up of which peoples?

Many French-Canadians moved to the New Orleans area from Canada to escape British occupation in Canada.


In which year did Hurricane Betsy devastate parts of New Orleans?

Large parts of the Lower Ninth Ward were flooded when the hurricane ruined levees in 1965.


Who was Ernest N. Morial?

Morial was the first black mayor; he was elected in 1978.


In what year did the local government take control of local dock facilities?

The move gave the government power to spend public money on facilities, which greatly improved as a result of the influx of cash.


How many canal breaches occurred in the city during Hurricane Katrina in 2005?

The engineering failures meant tremendous flooding that resulted in the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.


Which crop was vitally important to New Orleans in the 1800s?

Cotton was the king of crops in New Orleans in the 1800s, fueling a shipping boom and helping to expand the city.


Whites accounted for what percentage of the city's population in 1960?

The city was mostly white in 1960; now, whites account for only a third of the city's people and blacks make up 60 percent of the citizenry.


How many people died in the 1853 yellow fever epidemic?

In a town of only 154,000, 8,000 dropped dead, in part due to poor living conditions and large populations of mosquitoes.


How much of the city was flooded by Hurricane Katrina?

The widespread flooding was a major reason that nearly 1,500 people died during and after the storm.


Why is New Orleans known as the "birthplace of jazz"?

Although Morton claimed he invented jazz, it preceded him — jazz started in New Orleans in the late 1800s, as mix of ragtime and blues. New Orleans native Armstrong took jazz to the world.


What was "Storyville?"

Storyville had a raucous reputation, and it was officially "closed" in 1917 at the insistence of the U.S. Navy.


Explore More Quizzes

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The 'Big Easy' has a reputation for weirdness and wildness. How much do you know about the history of New Orleans?

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!