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With a history of Spanish and French dominance, European influence is still seen along most of the architecture in the French Quarter, from the courtyards to the multi-storied buildings. Historically, thousands of Americans, Germans, Sicilians, Irish and Haitians have made New Orleans their home, and this melting pot of cultural differences often reached boiling points. The Americans therefore settled in what is now known as the Central Business District, seeking reprieve from the tense proximity to the Creoles of the French Quarter. Interestingly, city medians are still referred to as "neutral grounds," referencing the Canal Street median that was used as a neutral business point for Americans and Creoles. It seems natural that "New Orleans" and "culture" are uttered in the same breath, as the city is awash with passion, verve, and history.
Nicknamed "The Big Easy" possibly to contrast life in New Orleans against that of the hustle and bustle of "The Big Apple," New Orleans has not strayed from its tranquil persona. The multitudes of parks, preserves, bayous, and waterways make New Orleans a natural, relaxing escape for both locals and visitors. Cozy cafés and restaurants are always ready to serve a friendly beignet and café au lait, and live jazz is always the theme of the night.