From Ohio History Central
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New Orleans remained a major port for American exports during the twentieth century. The city also experienced a boom in tourism, primarily due to Mardi Gras celebrations, the city's rich French heritage and historic buildings, and War of 1812 and Civil War sites. During the early twenty-first century, New Orleans and its residents have experienced more difficult times. In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the city. Much of New Orleans actually lies below sea-level. An intricate system of dams and levees protect the city, but many of these structures failed during the hurricane. Nearly eighty percent of New Orleans experienced serious flooding. Large numbers of homes and other buildings were condemned, and thousands of people have chosen to not return to the city. At the time of this writing, New Orleans has slowly recuperated from this disaster, but its population remains significantly smaller. Residents have struggled to reopen businesses and find new living quarters. A significantly higher crime rate has also afflicted the city since the hurricane. Still, New Orleans is slowly returning to its former grandeur and, once again, is becoming a major tourist destination.