Ghosts of Treme
A Brief History of New Orleans
The Crescent City
New Orleans. City of Jazz. City of Sin. The Big Easy. It goes by many names, but it’s all one place. A metropolis off the bends of the Mississippi, and, in some ways, the very heart and soul of America.
Founded by French colonists in the mid-1750’s, New Orleans was acquired by the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. Because of it’s strategic importance as a shipping and transportation hub, it served as a major battleground during both the Revolutionary and Civil War. However, it was captured early on in the war by the Union, sparing it much of the destruction incurred by other Southern cities.
Over the years, New Orleans has fallen into a slow, steady economic decline, relying heavily on tourism and a ‘t-shirt economy,’ compounded by a decrease in water trade and widespread corruption. The city is currently home to approximately half a million people, 70% of which are African Americans. Likewise, 35% of the city is Roman Catholic, an influence that can be seen in Voudoun culture, and city architecture.
Hurricane Katrina is too broad a subject to cover in too much detail, but a few general facts should point you in the right direction.
First off, it is important to understand that while Hurricane Katrina was a natural distaster, the flooding of the city was not. The city’s levees were designed to withstand a much more powerful storm, but due to corruption and mismanagement (as well as, according to some, sheer criminal negligence) they failed, drowning large portions of the city.
Likewise, during the evacuation, many who wished to leave the city were unable to due to a grossly incompetent and un-disciplined civil government. There was no concerted evacuation plan, and it cost lives. Looting, while widespread, was mainly focused on acquiring food and other survival-supplies.
Since the Storm, New Orleans has fallen back into old patterns. Large portions of the city remain abandoned, and the spray-paint of the National Guard still hangs on walls.
The World of Darkness and New Orleans
Vampires can’t live under water. Pure and simple. If you were a vampire during Katrina, you got out or drowned. Many kindred have moved onto greener pastures. Meanwhile, the Krewes have retaken the city. Many Sin-Eaters never even evacuated, waiting out the storm in the underworld or dodging the National Guard in order to take advantage of the opporunity to locate valuable mementos un-impeded. Also, There is literally a huge population of ghosts in the city, most likely because of the storm. Many krewes are desperately seeking answers to the reasons behind the flooding, if only to get the great legions of specters that now haunt the city to shut up.