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New Orleans



New Orleans
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.69

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    staked, rowdy, romance, Archeologists, best, agreement, drilling, port, evidence, economy, profitable, region, version, vast, history, direct
     content words:    New Orleans, United States, Mississippi River, Great Lakes, Rocky Mountains, King Louis XIV, Rene-Robert Cavelier, La Salle, Lake Pontchartrain, Indian War


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New Orleans
By Jane Runyon
  

1     New Orleans, Louisiana, has had a long and colorful history. Archeologists have found evidence that the area now occupied by New Orleans was inhabited as long as 7,000 years ago. The area around New Orleans seems to be blessed and cursed all at the same time and all for the same reasons.
 
2     If you were to look at a map of the river system in the United States, you would see something very interesting. The Mississippi River is the largest river in the U.S. Reaching out to touch the Mississippi is a vast number of other rivers. Each of these rivers drains into the Mississippi. They come from the Appalachians, the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. Together they form one major river system.
 
3     At a time when the fastest and most important means of transportation was the ship, a port that could reach all along this river system became a must. New Orleans, at the mouth of the Mississippi near the Gulf of Mexico, seemed the perfect spot for this important port. The French were so sure of this that they sent explorers from their settlements in Canada to secure the land. King Louis XIV of France sent Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, to explore the region which would become New Orleans. He staked a claim to the Mississippi River and all tributaries feeding into it. If you look back at your map of the rivers of the US, that's a lot of land. The French believed that they could keep the British settlements from spreading west from the east coast by claiming this land.
 
4     By 1720, Louisiana was becoming a thriving French colony. The fertile soil left on the banks by the Mississippi and the tropical weather made the area perfect for growing indigo, rice, and tobacco. The seafood from the Mississippi, Lake Pontchartrain, and the Gulf of Mexico couldn't be beat.

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