About This Place
Metairie (local pronunciation /mɛtəri/ (MET-uh-ree)) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States and is a major part of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area. Metairie is the largest community in Jefferson Parish. It is an unincorporated area that would be larger than most of the state's cities if it were incorporated. The zip codes that serve the community are 70001-70006.
Métairie is the French language term for a tenant farm which paid the landlord with a share of the produce (sharecropping); this was the main activity of original French denizens of the area in the 1760s, and indeed, was true of the majority of the community's inhabitants until the 1910s.
Metairie was first settled by the French in the 1720s along an area known as Metairie Ridge, a natural levee formed by an ancient branch of the Mississippi River which flowed through modern day River Ridge, Metairie, Gentilly, and New Orleans East. It emptied into Mississippi Sound. The Acolapissa Native Americans used this ridge as a road, and is the oldest road in the New Orleans area. Today, this road, which was paved in the 1920s, is called Metairie Road. An electric streetcar was installed running along Metairie Road in the late 1910s, opening the area to greater development. Upscale housing tracts were constructed off the road in the 1920s; this area is now known as "Old Metairie." It is today the most prestigious area of Metairie. The areas to the north and northwest of Metairie Road were not developed until after World War II. The land between Metairie Ridge and Lake Pontchartrain, which was cypress swamps and marshlands, was drained with the Wood pump. With this new land, Metairie's population grew in the 1940s as a result of cheaper land, lower taxes, and larger lots than in Orleans Parish. In 1990, Metairie made history by electing white supremacist David Duke to the Louisiana state legislature for a single term. Hurricane Katrina caused a new migration from Orleans Parish. This migration resulted from the need of housing. It has been a racially neutral migration, with equal numbers of black and white residents moving to Jefferson Parish.