City (pop., 2000: 484,674), southeastern Louisiana, U.S. Situated between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, it is the state's largest city and a major deepwater port. Founded in 1718 by French colonist Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, it was ceded to Spain in 1763. In 1800 it was ceded back to France and three years later sold to the U.S. by Napoleon. Incorporated in 1805, it was the state capital from 1812 to 1849. During the American Civil War the city was captured and occupied by Union forces (1862). A notable tourist centre, its attractions include Mardi Gras and the French Quarter, a popular tourist area noted for its nightclubs and Creole architecture and cuisine. It is also a medical, industrial, and educational centre. It was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when the levees protecting the city were breached and nearly all the city was flooded.
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There were 922 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 30.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the town the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 26.5% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $27,138, and the median income for a family was $35,150. Males had a median income of $26,630 versus $19,375 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,476. About 12.3% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.9% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.