natural levee

Metairie, Louisiana

Metairie (local pronunciations /ˈmɛtəɹi/, /ˈmɛtɹi/) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 146,136 at the 2000 census. A suburb of New Orleans, Metairie is the largest community in Jefferson Parish. It is an unincorporated area that would be larger than most of the state's cities if it were incorporated. The zip codes that serve the community are 70001-70006.

The original spelling, Métairie, is the French language term for a tenant farm which paid the landlord with a share of the produce (sharecropping), as this was the main activity of the area in the early 19th century.


Metairie was first settled by the French in the late 18th century, along an area known as Metairie Ridge, a natural levee formed by a bayou. This became "Metairie Road". An electric streetcar was installed running along Metairie Road in the late 1910s, opening the area to greater development. Upscale housing tracts were constructed off the Road in the 1920s; this area is now known as "Old Metairie." It is today the most prestigious area of Metairie. Most of the rest of Metairie was not developed until after World War II. Much of this growth was a result of national suburbanization trends and white flight. Some white New Orleans residents left New Orleans during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and after integration of New Orleans schools. Many locals consider Metairie as more of a neighborhood of New Orleans;as most people from Metairie describe themselves as being from New Orleans.

"Veterans Boulevard" was laid out alongside a drainage canal, and became a commercial center of the region. The Central Business District of Metairie is located on Causeway Blvd near Lake Ponchartrain. Metairie also has one of the handful of major malls located in the New Orleans metro area. Lakeside Shopping Center is the highest grossing mall in the New Orleans metropolitan area. In the 1970s and early 1980s, an area of bars and nightclubs opened in a section of Metairie known as "Fat City." Metairie has a large Mardi Gras season that touts itself as a more family-friendly version of the New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Fort Lauderdale Hurricane

The 1947 Fort Lauderdale Hurricane with winds of 125 mph (195 km/h) directly hit Metairie. Much of the community was under six feet of water.

Hurricane Betsy

Hurricane Betsy, a category three storm, hit the area in 1965, causing extensive wind damage and moderate flooding.

Flood of 1995

The May 8th 1995 Louisiana Flood, which dumped upwards of twenty inches of rain into Metairie in a twelve-hour period, flooded some parts of the region, especially areas south and west of Metairie, including Kenner, Harahan, and River Ridge.

Hurricane Katrina

On August 29, 2005, Metairie was hit hard by the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, including widespread wind damage and flooding. There were 29 reported deaths related to Katrina in Metairie. According to satellite images and flood maps, upwards of 75% of Metairie flooded. Initial insured damages in Metairie are between 3 and 5 billion US dollars. The death toll and damage were less in Metairie than in bordering Orleans Parish, largely because the Metairie side of the 17th Street Canal did not breach.

Residents were given a mandatory evacuation on August 28, 2005, the first time one has ever been ordered. Residents were not allowed to return until September 4. However, residents were only allowed to quickly visit their homes or business between 7AM and 6PM. Residents were not allowed to return after that until September 15, 2005. This period of over two weeks in exile angered many residents, especially those whose homes flooded. As they were unable to empty the houses of water, they suffered more damage.

Metairie was used as a staging area to evacuate people from New Orleans. The most organized effort took place where Causeway intersects I-10. There evacuees gathered or were brought to wait for buses.

The flooding in Metairie had three causes:

  • Lake Ponchartrain backflow into canals: Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard evacuated all pumping station operators from their posts to spots over one hundred miles away in Washington Parish in anticipation of the hurricane. Normally, the machines would be on, not only preventing the Lake from flowing into the drainage canals, but also pumping the rain waters out. Lack of pumping led to severe flooding of Metairie in most areas north of Interstate 10.
  • Rain waters: Because almost all of Metairie is between two and seven feet below sea level, all rain water was captured in the Metairie "bowl." Unable to return for nearly two days, the pump operators could not turn the pumps on to pump out any of the rain water or backflow.
  • 17th Street Canal breach: There was no breach on the Metairie side of the canal; however, water crept into Metairie through Airline Highway. The narrow high ground of Metairie Road and some elevated railroad tracks partially contained the area of flooding. This water chiefly caused the flooding in the southern part of Old Metairie.

Many Metairie residents are joining a class action lawsuit against Aaron Broussard because of his removal of pump operators. Other residents have attempted to recall and remove Broussard as Parish President for what they see as negligence, but they failed to get the support and signatures needed.

Sports and Recreation

Metairie is home to the New Orleans Zephyrs baseball team. The minor league club has played its home games at Zephyr Field since 1997 and is a member of the Pacific Coast League.

Jefferson Parish has created many parks in Metairie. Many of these playgrounds have organized sports leagues such as soccer, baseball, and basketball. Some of them also have other programs, such as low cost piano lessons. For more information, please see the recreation page


Metairie's public schools are operated by the Jefferson Parish Public School System. There are two public high schools in Metairie:

Public Middle Schools Include:

  • John Q. Adams Middle
  • Bunche Accelerated Academy for High School Preparation (formerly Ralph J. Bunche Middle)
  • T.H. Harris Middle
  • Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies (formerly Vernon and Gilda Haynes Middle School)
  • J.D. Meisler Middle

Public Elementary Schools Include:

  • Airline Park Elementary
  • Alice Birney Elementary
  • Bissonet Plaza Elementary
  • Bridgedale Elementary
  • Ella Dolhonde Elementary
  • J.C. Ellis Elementary
  • Green Park Elementary
  • Phoebe Hearst Elementary
  • Harold Keller Elementary
  • Joseph S. Maggiore, Sr. Elementary
  • Rudolph Matas Elementary
  • Metairie Academy for Advanced Studies (formerly Metairie Grammar School)
  • Marie Riviere Elementary

Catholic, Private, & ISAS Member elementary, middle, and preparatory schools include:


In Metairie, 56.87% of its citizens identify themsleves with some religion. There are 41.47% Roman Catholics, 12.77% Protestants, 0.39% Latter Day Saints, 0.97% are another Christian Faith, 0.61% are Jewish, 0.02% are and Eastern faith, 0.64% are Islam.

Metairie is home to Congregation Gates of Prayer, a Reform synagogue, which is currently sharing its building with Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest Orthodox congregation in the New Orleans region. Beth Israel's building in Lakeview, New Orleans was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Metairie's Catholic churches are also part of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Metairie is home to 13 Catholic parishes and schools.


Metairie is located in eastern Jefferson Parish and its boundaries include New Orleans to the east, Kenner to the west, Lake Pontchartrain to the north, and Airline Highway to the south. South of Airline Highway from Metairie are River Ridge, Harahan, Elmwood, and Jefferson.

The 17th Street Canal forms the border between Metairie and New Orleans to the east.

Metairie is located at (29.997797, -90.177473) and has an elevation of . According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 23.3 square miles (60.2 km²), of which, 23.2 square miles (60.1 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.22%) is water.



The most common method of transportation within Metairie is the automobile. Mass transit is provided by "JeT" (Jefferson Transit), but it does not run on Sundays, holidays, or late at night, unlike many lines of New Orleans' RTA.

Interstate 10 runs east-west through Metairie.

Major east-west roads (starting from north to south) include West Esplanade Avenue, Veterans Memorial Boulevard, West Napoleon Avenue, West Metairie Avenue, Metairie Road, Airline Drive (which is part of U.S. Highway 61) and Jefferson Highway (which is part of U.S. Highway 90). The Earhart Expressway, running east-west immediately south of Airline Drive, is the only other freeway entering New Orleans from the west, but it ends as an expressway soon after crossing the parish line and well before downtown (in Central City.)

Multi-line, continuous north-south roads (starting from west to east) include Power Boulevard/David Drive/Hickory Avenue, Transcontinental Drive, Clearview Parkway, Causeway Boulevard, and Bonnabel Boulevard.

The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway's southern end lies in this city.


As of the 2000 census, there were 146,136 people living in Metairie. The racial makeup of Metairie is:

86.53% White
7.25% Hispanic or Latino of any race
6.83% African American
2.77% Asian
1.91% from other races
1.68% from two or more races.
0.27% Native American
0.02% Pacific Islander

Other statistics

There were 39,073 families residing in Metairie. The population density was 6,296.7 people per square mile (2,431.0/km²). There were 67,225 housing units, at an average density of 1,118.3/km² (2,896.6/sq mi). There were 63,741 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.93. In Metairie the population is spread out with 20.6% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males. The median income for a household in Metairie is $41,265, and the median income for a family was $52,555. Males had a median income of $37,371 versus $27,057 for females. The per capita income for Metairie is $24,771. About 6.2% of families and 8.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.2% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.

Notable natives and residents

See also


External links

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