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Episode Info

Episode Info:

Bienville's Dilemma and the Founding of New Orleans

In the Spring of 1718, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville presided over a small ceremony on the banks of the Mississippi River and officially founded what we know today as the City of New Orleans.

How did Bienville come to choose this site for New Orleans? What were the other options and how do those decisions impact New Orleanians today?

In today's episode we explore Bienville's Dilemma with noted author and geographer Richard Campanella. In Richard's book, Bienville's Dilemma, he explains the factors that led to the decision to place New Orleans at its present site, rather than at the mouth of the Mississippi River.

You'll learn the important differences between a good site and a good situation, and why that mattered to the French. We also settle the question of whether New Orleans is predominantly above or below sea level.

As we move forward in time, Richard and I discuss how decisions made at the very beginning of New Orleans continue to impact the city today.  Richard also explains how even today you can use subtle clues to retrace the past, including the former boundaries of the plantations that lined the Riverfront from below the French Quarter all the way Uptown to present-day Riverbend in the Carrollton neighborhood.

Join us for a nearly 300 year journey from Bienville to post Katrina New Orleans. You'll be rewarded with a new understanding and appreciation for the Crescent City.

All this and more on today's show!

Time Stamps 4:45     Bienville’s Dilemma - safest site or best strategic location? 8:15     Site versus situation 15:15   Trace Bienville’s route as you exit Jazz Fest 16:35   Truth or Myth: is New Orleans mostly below sea level? 20:15   Ooze and the development of the land we now call New Orleans 23:30   The earliest days of New Orleans 36:35   New Orleans is founded 29:20   New Orleans first hurricane 31:20   What is an arpent? 33:10   Plantation lot lines and why New Orleans streets don’t always line up 38:20   Grand Avenues and Pocket Parks 43:20   Battures and scours 45:50   Creole and other ethnicities in New Orleans 55:00   The White Teapot 57:50   Ever wonder why New Orleans feels like a small town? Resources

You can find Richard on line at richcampanella.com. You'll find excerpts from all of his books, as well as a wonderful collection of images of New Orleans.

Richard’s books are available at local New Orleans booksellers, including Octavia Books, Garden District Book Shop and Maple Street Book Shop. You can also purchase an autographed copy of Bienville's Dilemma directly from Richard. Send him an email at: rcampane@tulane.edu

For scenes of New Orleans life as well as a steady stream of articles about the city, be sure to follow Richard on Twitter (@nolacampanella).

Want to Make Your Trip to New Orleans the Best Ever?

Of course you do!

If you’re planning a trip to New Orleans and want to cut through all the research we’re here to help. We offer a personalized travel consult. Here’s how it works:

You complete a brief questionnaire to help us get to know you and the experience you want to have in New Orleans. Next, we set up a 20-30 minute phone or video call. During the call, we get to know you a little better. We can clarify any questions and bounce a few ideas off of you to make sure we ‘re on the right track.

Finally, we prepare and deliver a pdf document with our recommendations for your trip. Depending on your needs the report will contain specific places to stay, eat and drink. It will also offer suggestions on things to do and see, all based on your budget and interests.

Sound good? Just go to http://www.beyondbourbonst.com/travel for all the details and a link to order the service.

Thank You

Thanks to Richard Campanella for joining me on the podcast. His lens as a geographer helps me see New Orleans in an entirely different light. I'll never wander the streets of Uptown New Orleans again without appreciating the subtle curves, the slices of green space, and the streets that sometime jog left or right when you least expect them.

Subscribe to the Podcast

If you enjoy the show, please subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music or wherever you get your podcasts. If you do enjoy listening, please share Beyond Bourbon Street with someone who shares our love of New Orleans.

Join Us on Facebook

We now have a Facebook group where you can ask questions, share your New Orleans experiences and engage with others who love all things New Orleans. Join us by going to www.beyondbourbonst.com/facebook

Contact Us

Got an idea for an episode, have some feedback or just want to say hi?

Leave us a message at 504-475-7632 or send an email to mark@beyondbourbonst.com

Thanks for listening!


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