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“East Bank” and “West Bank” in New Orleans, LA

River The Mississippi River, running from north to south, divides the United States into eastern and western halves. In southeast Louisiana, though, newcomers are frequently confused by the terms “East Bank” and “West Bank” since, due to the curves of the Mississippi River, what is called the “East Bank” is sometimes located geographically to the west of what is called the “West Bank” and vice versa. The banks also lie to the north and south of the river throughout most of the region. In southeast Louisiana, the term “East Bank” is often used to refer to any area that lies on the eastern half of the United States, as established by its location on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, while the term “West Bank” is often used to refer to areas along the opposite side of the river. These terms are used in urban, suburban and rural parishes that are bisected by the Mississippi River, which include St. John the BaptistSt. CharlesJeffersonOrleans and Plaquemines.

In the New Orleans metropolitan area, the term “East Bank” is a blanket term used to refer to all portions of metropolitan New Orleans south of Lake Pontchartrain and situated on the “eastern” bank of the river, while the term “West Bank” is used to refer to all portions of metropolitan New Orleans south of Lake Pontchartrain and situated on the “western” bank of the river. Somewhat peversely, while New Orleanians would never describe a neighborhood as being located north or south of the river, the Westbank is, in actual fact, as a whole located to the south of the Mississippi River, while the East Bank as a whole is located to the north — and is itself wedged between the Mississippi River and the southern shore of Lake Pontchartrain (the East Bank’s northern boundary). The majority of the population of metropolitan New Orleans resides on the Eastbank.

The Eastbank of Greater New Orleans includes all of Jefferson Parish (including the suburbs of MetairieKennerRiver RidgeHarahanElmwood, and Jefferson) that lies on the eastern bank of the river and most of Orleans Parish (including the majority of the city of New Orleans). Also, further down the Mississippi River are those suburbs of New Orleans that are located in St. Bernard Parish, which include ArabiChalmette, and Meraux (and, also, Violet and Poydras). All of St. Bernard Parish is located east of the river, extending from the eastern bank of the river back into the marshlands.

The Westbank of suburban New Orleans includes the all of Jefferson Parish (including the suburbs of WaggamanAvondaleBridge CityNine Mile PointWestwegoMarreroHarvey,GretnaTerrytownJean LafitteLafitteCrown PointBaratariaEstelleTimberlane, and Woodmere) that lies on the western bank of the river and a portion of Orleans Parish (including the New Orleans communities of Algiers and English Turn). Further down the Mississippi River is the suburb of Belle Chasse, which is located on the West Bank of Plaquemines Parish. Plaquemines Parish both encompasses and is bisected by the final leg of the Mississippi River before it enters the Gulf of Mexico (downriver from Belle Chasse, Plaquemines Parish has numerous rural communities scattered along both banks of the river, but none of these communities have a population greater than 5,000). It should be noted that the terms “Eastbank” and “Westbank” are spelled as one word in local/official terminology when being applied to the Greater New Orleans area.

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