In the 1980s, the “Irving Bridge” project had the blessing of then-Gov.
The idea was to connect New Orleans to the Gulf Coast by a long, high-speed rail line, which would ultimately be scrapped after the Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005.
That project would have run for decades, and by the time the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River were finally connected in 2012, the idea was dead.
But the Irving Bridge, like the Mississippi and Alabama Rivers, is a natural extension of the nation’s geography, and its history has been used to illustrate that there are some things we can’t control.
And it’s one of those things that’s just hard to ignore.
The city of New Orleans, which was founded in 1705, was the first in the U.S. to establish a permanent port and a water system that served as a major hub for shipping, as well as for farming and the fishing industry.
That water supply was also the source of an estimated $1 billion in annual revenue for the city.
As the nation entered the Great Depression, it was the second-most impoverished city in the nation, and it was also home to one of the most segregated neighborhoods in the country.
As such, it became a haven for people of color.
By the 1930s, it had a black population of roughly 60 percent, and the black population was concentrated in the South, making the city a major center for African-American immigration.
“The city was almost a ghetto,” says Robert M. Cusick, a professor of history at Tulane University and the author of a forthcoming book on the city, Black America: Its History and Politics.
“We had to build this water system, build this sewer system, that sort of thing.”
When the Great Migration arrived in the mid-19th century, the city became one of its most prominent points of entry.
It became the largest and fastest-growing city in America, thanks to its position as the gateway to the New World, as a point of entry into the new world of trade and exploration.
In the 1930’s, many of the African-Americans who had settled in New Orleans in the 1800s left to work on plantations or on farms in the North.
They became known as “black farmers.”
As African- Americans began to settle in the area in the 1930.s, there were more African- American residents in New York City.
By 1940, the total population of New York had increased to more than 20 million.
“There was a great deal of concern that we were going to be overrun by African-descended people,” says Mandy Williams, a researcher at Tulan University who has researched African-origin people in New Jersey and Louisiana.
“And there were a lot of folks who were worried about what would happen to them.”
New Orleans also became the site of an all-white city in 1942, when the U, S. Army Corps of Engineers designated the city for reconstruction.
A wave of black residents flooded the city and took over the city government.
The federal government declared the city “the city of exclusion” and sent in federal troops to quell the uprising.
“People were trying to build a new society,” says Cusic.
“That was what the new black people were trying so hard to do.”
In the mid-’40s, as more and more black residents moved to the city from the South and other parts of the country, many people saw a chance to capitalize on the “new” New Orleans.
They began opening bars and restaurants and buying homes in the newly rebuilt city.
Many of the white people who had been living in New England for generations became refugees and were unable to return.
The area that would eventually become known as the South Side had a large black population, and in the late ’40s and early ’50s, African-born residents began moving into the area.
As a result, by the late 1950s, more than 50 percent of New Yorkers were black.
“I remember one of my high school friends telling me one day, ‘I’m going to live in New Hampshire for a while and see how it goes,’ ” Cusics says.
“He was like, ‘Oh, man.
By the late 1970s, New York became home to a lot more people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.
The white-majority neighborhoods of the city were gentrifying and becoming more diverse.
The neighborhoods around New York’s World Trade Center were starting to get gentrified and changing from mostly white neighborhoods into more diverse areas.
As Cusicks and Williams describe it, “New York became the first U..
S.” city to be gentrified by moving from mostly black neighborhoods to more diverse neighborhoods.
“In New York, the ‘New New’ started happening,” Cusinks says.
New York is a place