New Orleans, located in a subtropical climate and with one of the busiest international ports in the world, was vulnerable to virulent infectious diseases in 1834. Yellow fever, malaria, smallpox and cholera were rampant. When the Medical College of Louisiana published its prospectus that year, key among its objectives was "to lead the advancement of science and the rational treatment of disease." By 1845, the state legislature recognized the value of the institution and authorized a university in New Orleans. The medical complex was quickly recognized as one of the largest medical schools in the country. By 1860, enrollment had increased to more than 400 students, positioning it as the fourth largest program for medical education in the nation. In 1883 the Legislature of Louisiana passed a bill creating the Tulane University of Louisiana, a private, nonsectarian university. As part of Tulane University, the medical school continued to thrive and expand, moving into the 20th century as the top ranking medical school in the South and one of the best in the nation.
In August 2005, with the School of Medicine on the cusp of major programmatic expansion, the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States caused unbelievable destruction to the city of New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina devastated the lives of thousands of people and businesses in the city, leaving behind a multitude of challenges that will forever affect the city and its residents. Tulane doctors stayed with their patients at Tulane Hospital, Charity Hospital, and the New Orleans VA hospital until forced to evacuate. Those doctors, students and residents soon returned to the city, establishing clinics in new locations and reestablishing access to both medical care and medical education.
In the years since Hurricane Katrina, the School of Medicine has established itself as a vital component in the renewal of one of America's greatest cities. We train the most qualified students to be capable, compassionate physicians who will provide high quality primary or specialty care locally, nationally and globally.
In New Orleans, we have unique terms to reflect our ethnic heritage and traditions…and listen carefully: we've got our own way of pronouncing them, too!
- Bayou (by-you): Slow stream or body of water running through a marsh or swamp
- Beignet (ben-yay): A square piece of fried dough topped with powdered sugar
- Cajun (kay-jun): French Acadians that settled here from Canada
- Carnival: The party season before Mardi Gras, starts on January 6 (Twelfth Night)
- Crescent City: A nickname for New Orleans, originating from the shape of the Mississippi River as it bends around the city.
- Creole (cree-ole): Descendant of French, Spanish and Caribbean slaves and natives; also refers to any person whose ancestry derives from the mixed nationalities in the Caribbean
- Crescent City Connection: Twin bridges connecting the East Bank with the West Bank of the Mississippi River
- "Dressed": The addition of lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise to any sandwich.
- Fais do-do (Fay-dough-dough): A Cajun dance party
- Gris gris (gree gree): Voodoo good luck charm
- King Cake: Extra-large oval doughnut pastry dusted with colored sugar in purple, green and gold. A plastic baby doll is hidden inside the cake – the lucky person who gets the piece of cake with the doll inside (and doesn't break a tooth or swallow it in the process!) buys the next king cake.
- Krewe (crew): A Carnival organization's members
- Lagniappe (lan-yap): Something extra that you didn't pay for – like a baker's dozen.
- "Laissez le bon temp rouler" (Lazay-lay-bon-ton-roulay): Let the good times roll!
- Lundi Gras: The day before Mardi Gras when King Rex and King Zulu arrive on the riverfront.
- "Makin' groceries": The process of going to buy groceries
- Mardi Gras: Also known as Fat Tuesday, it's the last day to celebrate before the Catholic tradition of sacrificing and fasting during the 40 days of Lent.
- Muffuletta (muh-fuh-lotta): and a lotta it is! Super-large, round, fat sandwich filled with salami-type meats, mozzarella cheese, pickles, and olive salad.
- Neutral Ground: Median or grassy area between the paved areas on a boulevard.
- Shotgun: A single or double row house in which all rooms on one side are connected by a long hallway.
- Snoball: Shaved ice (nearly powder) served with flavored syrups in a CUP, not a cone.
- Vieux Carre' (Vooo-caray): French for "Old Quarter," this is a term used for the French Quarter including world-famous Bourbon Street
- West Bank: You have to look east to see the "other" side of New Orleans, on the west bank of the Mississippi River. So, the East Bank is really on the west, and the West Bank is really on the east!
- Y'at: A standard greeting: "Where y'at?" means "Hello, how are you doing?"