The largest city in Louisiana and one of the largest in the South, New Orleans is a major U.S. port of entry. It has long been one of the busiest and most efficient international ports in the country. Coffee, sugar, and bananas are among its imports; exports include oil, petrochemicals, rice, cotton, and corn. Coastal traffic is heavy (the city is at the junction of the Intracoastal Waterway with the Mississippi River), and New Orleans is a major rail, highway, air, and river hub. It has an international airport. Its fine port helped make the New Orleans area one of the leading industrial centers in the South, although most of the larger industries were developed relatively recently. Food processing is a major enterprise. The region has shipbuilding and repair yards as well as factories manufacturing a wide variety of goods, including wood, paper, and metal products; foods and beverages; building stone; medical and building equipment; comunication systems; apparel; and aircraft parts. There is also printing and publishing. Many oil and chemical plants are located along the Mississippi River west of New Orleans.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.