Jean LafitteSmuggler, privateer and unlikely patriot, Jean Lafitte left an enduring mark on Louisiana lore. By the early 1800s the native of France had established a lucrative smuggling business, run from a blacksmith shop in New Orleans' French Quarter. He later assumed command of the disorganized bands of privateers based in Barataria Bay south of the city.

In 1814 the British failed to sway Lafitte's allegiance with a bribe of $30,000 in gold and a captaincy in the Royal Navy. Instead, Lafitte revealed the British plans to attack New Orleans to Gov. William Claiborne, who responded by dispatching Federal forces against Lafitte's Baratarian colony. Lafitte refused to fire on the American flag, and the Federals destroyed the smugglers' haven.

Undaunted, Lafitte offered to help Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans in exchange for a full pardon for himself and his men. Jackson accepted, and the battle-seasoned buccaneers fought honorably against the British.

Lafitte became the toast of the town, but the lure of his old life prevailed. In 1817 he established the pirate village of Campeche on Galveston Island, Texas, and resumed plundering Spanish ships. But when one of his captains attacked an American vessel, Lafitte was forced at gunpoint to leave Galveston. After throwing a raucous final party and burning Campeche, Lafitte boarded The Pride and sailed away, leaving behind only his legend and rumors of buried treasure.

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New Orleans, LA

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New Orleans Marriott

555 Canal St. New Orleans, LA 70130

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614 Canal St. New Orleans, LA 70130

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Hilton New Orleans Riverside

2 Poydras St. New Orleans, LA 70130

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Sheraton New Orleans Hotel

500 Canal St. New Orleans, LA 70130

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Travel Information

City Population

343,829

Elevation

11 ft.

Sales Tax

Louisiana's statewide sales tax is 5 percent; an additional 5 percent is levied in the New Orleans metro area, and Orleans Parish has a .5 percent tax on food and beverages. The city has a 14 percent lodging tax, plus an occupancy tax of $1-$3 per night. The state's car rental tax is 3 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(504) 821-2222

Fire (non-emergency)

(504) 658-4700

Time and Temperature

(318) 324-8808

Hospitals

Ochsner Medical Center, (504) 842-3000; Touro Infirmary, (504) 897-7011; Tulane Medical Center, (504) 988-5263; University Medical Center New Orleans, (504) 702-3000.

Visitor Information

1221 Elmwood Park Blvd. Suite 411 New Orleans, LA 70123. Phone:(504)731-7083 or (877)572-7474

Air Travel

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) is about 21 miles west of downtown New Orleans in Kenner and is served by nearly all major domestic and foreign carriers.

Rental Cars

New Orleans is served by several major car rental agencies. Arrangements should be made before you leave on your trip. Your local AAA club can provide this service or additional information. Hertz, (504) 568-1645 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.

Rail Service

Amtrak uses the Union Passenger Terminal at 1001 Loyola Ave. Daily service is offered. Phone (800) 872-7245 for further information.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 1001 Loyola Ave.; phone (504) 525-6075 or (800) 231-2222 for schedule and fares.

Taxis

Cabs are plentiful in the main business and tourist areas. Average fare is $3.50 initially and $2.40 for each additional mile and $1 for each additional person. The largest companies are Carriage/Yellow/Checker, (504) 207-7777; Metry, (504) 835-4242; and United, (504) 522-9771. Information about taxi service also can be obtained from the Taxicab & For Hire Bureau at (504) 658-7176.

Public Transportation

Transportation by bus, streetcar and ferry is available in New Orleans.

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