Situation Wanted: Using Workforce Characteristics to Understand the Cultural Landscape of New Orleans

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Most assume New Orleans is defined by the tourist industry's French Creole cultural icons, but underneath this veneer, the city's landscape history is far more complex. Using research methodologies of cultural geographers, this paper looks at seemingly unremarkable information about eighteenth- and nineteenth-century life in order to gain a better understanding of the evolution of this city's cultural landscape. Investigating immigrant and local garden workers reveals strata about the community's landscape heritage heretofore ignored: French settlers encountered an unfamiliar landscape but envisioned ornate gardens; Native Americans, Germans and Africans provided horticultural expertise the French lacked; Irish immigrants built urban infrastructure; Italians supplied fruits and vegetables, and Germans provided horticultural expertise through commercial nurseries. Horticultural commerce provided vehicles through which local residents participated in cross-cultural associations, thereby creating distinctive landscapes. Beneath today's tourist-oriented icons are remnants of these engagements; examining them gives a more nuanced understanding of this city's landscape. © 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

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Landscape Research

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