About East Bank
The Mississippi River meanders through New Orleans in the shape of a crescent dividing the city into an East and a West Bank. The East Bank contains the majority of New Orleans, including the French Quarter, Uptown, Downtown, and Mid City. The term "East Bank" can be confusing at times, due to the curves in the river through New Orleans, the East Bank of the river is actually geographically the Western part of the city. The French Quarter was the first settlement on the East Bank, built on natural levees formed by the Mississippi River; it was the highest ground in the area. The population of New Orleans grew as swamp land was drained for new settlement, making much of New Orleans under sea level. The French Quarter and parts of uptown New Orleans are the highest parts of the city due to the natural levee at around 16 feet above sea level, with the outer edges of New Orleans dipping to 10 feet below sea level. Man made levees and floodwalls were constructed to protect the city from flooding, but were breached during Hurricane Katrina causing about 80% of the city to fall underwater. Major attractions on the East Bank include the French Market, Bourbon Street, and Jackson Square in the French Quarter, the Aquarium of the Americas along the river, and the Superdome, home of the New Orleans Saints, located in Downtown New Orleans. Throughout the city you will find cemeteries, referred to as "Cities of the Dead", popular among tourists for the unique and often extravagant above the ground tombs. You can take a streetcar ride from downtown up scenic St. Charles Avenue through the heart of uptown New Orleans, where you can visit the Audubon Park and Zoo, one of the nation's premiere zoos.