New Orleans is located at the mouth of the Mississippi river on the Gulf Coast of the United States. Surrounded by bayous, wetlands, and many other small bodies of water, New Orleans has been a physical and cultural crossroads for millennia. It remains a place that the Isle de Jean Charles Band of the Chitimacha, Choctaw, Biloxi Tribe, the United Houma Nation, and Pointe-au-Chien Indian Tribe call home, as well as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
New Orleans is well-known for its Creole and Cajun cultures, stemming from the artifacts and tastes brought to the region by indigenous peoples, Caribbean immigrants, enslaved peoples from West Africa, and French and Spanish colonizers. One of the many reminders of this history is Mardi Gras – the annual festival celebrating the beginning of the Lenten season for observant Catholics. Another opportunity of this mixing of cultures are the auditory (jazz, blues) and food adventures available within the city.
We would be remiss if we did not also acknowledge New Orleans as a site of deep racial and economic inequities, highlighted and exacerbated by both its colonial history and modern day weather patterns that leave the region prone to hurricane damage. Acknowledging this legacy leaves us with much to consider as we address our Strategic Imperative.
As an educational center, New Orleans is home to a high concentration of historically black colleges and universities. Dillard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Southern University of New Orleans, Delgado Community College, Loyola University, University of New Orleans, Tulane University, Louisiana State University, Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, and William Carey University all have campuses within the city limits.