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New Orleans is one of the oldest cities of the United States and it was established as a French Colony on May 7, 1718, on the delta of the Mississippi River. Metairie is the first known suburb of New Orleans.
By the virtue of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, the French had to hand over the colony to the Spanish and it remained with them until 1801. Then the French regained possession of the place and later Napoleon sold the territory to the United States under Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Unlike other European countries where Counts and similar noblemen had ruling power over the territorial units called counties, the Roman Catholics divided the territories in dioceses governed by bishops. However, the dioceses were further divided into individual entities called “parishes” and controlled by priests. Thus, Jefferson Parish was declared officially as a government unit in the year 1825.
Even though the other states are subdivided into counties, the state of Louisiana follows the division into 64 parishes. Metairie is not a city and is part of Jefferson Parish. It does not have a local government or mayor but comes under the governance of the Jefferson Parish Council.
Metairie is one of the biggest unincorporated communities in the US. It was incorporated as a city for a period of 17 years only, in order to provide the residents with a gas facility. In 1927, the sole Mayor at the time, C.P. Aicklen arranged for gas service in 1927. Later on, after 18months the place was again unincorporated and Metairie has continued to be in this manner ever since.
The area of Metairie falls under 5 zip codes – 70001, 70002, 70003, 70005, and 70006. Metairie, which is the center point of Jefferson Parish, is in the suburbs of the Greater New Orleans metropolitan zone and yet an unincorporated section of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.
Origin of the name “Metairie”
Metairie word is derived from the French word “Moitie” (one-half) or the “Monitor”. This implied farmlands, where the French used to lease land for farming and instead of rent, would take half share of the produce grown. Since the Metairie River delta is rich in alluvial soil, farming was the main occupation.
Metairie has the city of Kenner as its western boundary and the city of New Orleans as its eastern boundary. Nonetheless, Metairie associates itself for business purposes to New Orleans. Visitors to New Orleans pass through Metairie on Interstate 10 or Veteran’s Boulevard that stretches from New Orleans right into the city of Kenner.
Currently, the area surrounding Metairie Road is termed “Old Metairie”. Many shops, shopping malls, and professional places are located on Metairie Road and these is the most striking areas of Metairie. In heart of Metairie, located on Causeway Boulevard in Lakeside Shopping Center, which is Louisiana’s oldest and biggest shopping mall.
The historical residential base of Metairie is slowly converting into a commercial zone, with many businesses like shopping malls, retail stores, nightclubs, entertainment hubs, and office buildings. Most of Metairie’s nightclubs are in the “Fat City”, which was primarily developed as a commercial district.
Metairie has office buildings, shopping malls, hotels, Fat City (night clubs), Mardi Gras.
It also houses the stadium for the Zephyr Baseball team, New Orleans.
The First Bank Center (former Galleria) has offices, few retail outlets, multiplex, and the First Bank. This is located close to Causeway Boulevard and Interstate 10, right in the middle of Metairie.
Lake Pontchartrain, the largest inland estuary in the US has the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway that stretches good 23.9 miles, from Metairie on the South to St. Tammany Parish on the North.
Lafreniere Park in central Metairie sprawls over 155-acres of land and has beautiful lagoons, children’s play parks, carousel, baseball fields, food stalls, a golf course, and many other recreational centers.
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