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Geographer Pierce Lewis once described New Orleans as an “inevitable city on an impossible site.” Its location at the mouth of the Mississippi River made Nouvelle-Orléans one of the most vital ports in North America—and one of the most vulnerable. Built on a dry patch of swamp between the river and Lake Pontchartrain, the Crescent City survived floods and disasters from its earliest days. The first recorded hurricane struck in 1772...
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Spectator sports


Baseball fans can catch the New Orleans Zephyrs at Zephyr Stadium on Airline Highway in Metairie. Affiliated with the Houston Astros, the AAA minor league team takes to the field April through August; phone (504) 734-5155 for tickets.


TheNew Orleans Hornets, (800) 462-2849, give NBA aficionados something to cheer about at the New Orleans Arena. The arena, across from the Louisiana Superdome, also is home to the Tulane University Green Wave; phone (504) 865-5810 for university tickets. The University of New Orleans Privateers, also an NCAA Division I team, hold court at the campus arena; phone (504) 280-7222 for tickets. CLOSURE INFORMATION: The university arena is temporarily closed due to damage sustained during Hurricane Katrina; phone ahead for updates.


Football ranks as the favorite spectator sport. The New Orleans Saints of the National Football League go marching into the Louisiana Superdome from August to December, with games generally starting at noon; for tickets phone (504) 731-1700 or () 598-4653. Tulane University's Green Wave football team frequents the Superdome, which becomes a collegiate battlefield every November for the Bayou Classic, a gridiron clash between rival universities Grambling State and Southern. The Nokia Sugar Bowl game is played in the Superdome in early January.

Horse Racing

One of the city's most enduring sports, Thoroughbred racing can be enjoyed at Fair Grounds Race Course, 1751 Gentilly Blvd., where the mechanical starting gate was introduced. Racing takes place Thursday through Monday from Thanksgiving Day through March. When the live racing season ends, visitors still can partake in the facility's off-track wagering, offered year-round. Note: The track is closed for renovations due to the effects of the 2005 hurricane season. It is scheduled to reopen in November 2006. For information phone (504) 944-5515. Note: Policies concerning admittance of children to pari-mutuel betting facilities vary. Phone for information.