Metairie, Louisiana is a census-designated place located in Jefferson Parish and part of the New Orleans metropolitan area. It has a rich history that dates back to the late 18th century when it was first colonized by the French. The area was known as Metairie Ridge, a natural dam formed by a swamp, and later became Metairie Road, one of the main highways connecting Metairie to the city of New Orleans. In the 1920s, exclusive off-road housing developments were built in the area now known as Old Metairie.
In 1990, Metairie made history when one of its districts elected white supremacist David Duke to the Louisiana state legislature for a single term. The Lakeside Shopping Center, one of the largest and oldest malls in Louisiana, is located on Causeway Boulevard in the heart of Metairie. The term 'Metairie' is derived from the French word 'Moitie' (half) and the French term 'moitoire' (used in feudal Europe in the 12th century to describe a particular type of French agricultural relationship). This relationship involved a landlord leasing part of their property to a farmer for 50% of the crops or products grown by the tenant and not paying money as rent.
With the development of new residential land, the population of Metairie grew in the 1940s as a result of cheaper land, lower taxes and larger lots than in Orleans Parish. The May 8, 1995 flood in Louisiana dumped more than twenty inches of rain in Metairie over a twelve-hour period, flooding some parts of the region. Despite this, Metairie's death toll and damage were lower than neighboring Orleans Parish due to most residents having already been evacuated. Metairie is home to two synagogues: Gates of Prayer Congregation, a reformist synagogue, and Congregation Beth Israel, the oldest Orthodox congregation in the New Orleans metropolitan area.
Its history and proximity to New Orleans have made it a popular tourist destination for people visiting New Orleans.