City (pop., 2000: 484,674), southeastern Louisiana, U.S. Situated between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, it is the state's largest city and a major deepwater port. Founded in 1718 by French colonist Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, it was ceded to Spain in 1763. In 1800 it was ceded back to France and three years later sold to the U.S. by Napoleon. Incorporated in 1805, it was the state capital from 1812 to 1849. During the American Civil War the city was captured and occupied by Union forces (1862). A notable tourist centre, its attractions include Mardi Gras and the French Quarter, a popular tourist area noted for its nightclubs and Creole architecture and cuisine. It is also a medical, industrial, and educational centre. It was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, when the levees protecting the city were breached and nearly all the city was flooded.