NEW ORLEANS -- Bastille Day is celebrated every year on July 14th in honor of the of the French Revolution.
The French founded our city nearly 300 years ago, so it got us thinking: how well do we know our mother country? WGNO's Meghan Kluth took it to the streets to find out.
On July 14, 1789, more than 8,000 men and women stormed a prison fortress in Paris known as the Bastille, demanding the release of the political prisoners being held there, plus the prison's store of weapons. The storming of the Bastille was the spark that set off the French Revolution, an event that had a significant impact not only on France itself but its colonies and former colonies as well, including New Orleans.
Arising from the tumult and chaos of the French Revolution was a young, ambitious general named Napoleon Bonaparte. In order to help finance his wars in Europe Napoleon sold off his country's largest North American colony in what became known as the Louisiana Purchase. With that 1803 transaction, New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana – plus a vast swath of land between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains – became part of the United States.
Louisiana was sold for the incredibly cheap price at the time for $15 million.
We still see much of the French's influence in our city today in the bread, beignets, street names and the Vieux Carre.
The city will have multiple celebrations over the weekend to honor our mother country. Click here for more info.