[FOUNTAIN]A city significant in U.S. history suffersThe city that decided the fate of America at several crucial historical points was New Orleans. The War of 1812 ended at the Battle of New Orleans.
The British army was armed with a new type of musket that fired bullets placed in the muzzle of the gun. With the new weapon, the British looked down on the untrained militia led by Andrew Jackson, who later became the seventh president of the United States.
However, Jackson’s militia attacked the enemy without fearing death and shouting, “Victory or Death.” Even though the guns of Jackson’s militia weren’t able to shoot as far as those of the British troops, their shotguns fired several rounds at once and riddled the British troops. The long offensive and defensive battles of the War of 1812 met a turning point at the Battle of New Orleans.
In 1864, during the Civil War, the North’s battleships appeared in the waters off New Orleans ― a naval blockade had started. Cotton exports to Europe were no longer possible. Therefore, importing guns and ammunition with the earnings from exporting cotton was impossible and the war turned in favor of the North. Confederate General Robert E. Lee, who had been driving on without a stop for two years, had no choice but to surrender one year after New Orleans was blockaded.
New Orleans was an entry point for slaves, and the sad melodies of black Americans became jazz. Much of the music is improvised, and passed down only through performance, rather than a written score. The peak for jazz music came after the port of New Orleans was designated a military port in 1917, during World War I.
Since the entertainment places in the city suffered a blow, many of the black American jazz musicians moved along the Mississippi River and spread out to Chicago and New York in hopes of finding work.
In these cities, jazz attracted a white audience, and the golden age of jazz came with “Chicago jazz” and “swing.”
New Orleans, which was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina and submerged, has become an issue again in America.
The city, which faced robbery, rape and hunger after the storm, revealed the shames of America, such as discrimination among the races and the gap between rich and poor.
Some even ask, “Do we really need to reconstruct New Orleans?” New Orleans, the beautiful city where Vivien Leigh wandered in the film “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
The melody of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” by Louis Armstrong seems to be more pathetic today. Will we ever be able to see the city again?
by Lee Chul-ho
The writer is a JoongAng Ilbo editorial writer.