The 300th Anniversary of New Orleans not only marks where we have been, but also sets the course for where we are going. Our city is becoming safer, schools are improving, and our economy is getting stronger—but we still have work to do in building a bridge to the next 300 years. We are building a new airport, redeveloping our storied riverfront, and creating a 21st century medical corridor. These efforts, among many others, are creating a pathway to prosperity for all the citizens of New Orleans and securing for the future a NEW New Orleans—where everyone individually does well and, as a result, we as a community do well. Our work toward 2018 has been 300 years in the making. We welcome you to join us in commemorating the past and creating the future.
To celebrate 300 years of rich history, diversity, cultural traditions and resilience, the City of New Orleans will celebrate 2018 like no other. To accomplish this, Mayor Mitchell Landrieu formed the 2018 NOLA Commission to allow input for events and programs that will honor the anniversary of the founding of New Orleans. A variety of special events, concerts, fireworks and completion of major infrastructure projects will take place in 2018. We invite you to join us in celebrating this special anniversary as only New Orleans can do.
For the past 300 years this port city has received people from around the world seeking new lives and prospects. The French influence is prominent from the founding of the City in 1718 until the present day. There is also a strong Spanish cultural inheritance due to Spanish rule of the city in the 18th century. Throughout the entire history of the city African Americans, formerly enslaved Africans, and free people of color have influenced the culture and economy of New Orleans. Additionally, immigrants have come from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Greece, Vietnam and many more nations. Within New Orleans, Native American, Cajun and Creole peoples have had a profound impact on our culture. Today we owe many of our celebrations to this diverse heritage including Mardi Gras, the 135 yearly festivals including more than 35 Second Line parades.
Although New Orleans has maintained many of its cultural traditions much has changed. Our citizens are resilient having endured both manmade and natural disasters the most recent of which was Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It was a tragedy the City of New Orleans will never forget. But because of the support from around the world and the resilience of our people the city has been rebuilt better than it was before the storm and we are now creating the city we always dreamed we could be.