The greater New Orleans region includes Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, and St. Tammany Parishes. The largest city is New Orleans, established by the French in 1718. As one of the nation’s largest and oldest ports, New Orleans has attracted a diverse blend of inhabitants from various parts of the world. As a result, the culture of the city and the surrounding parishes is more cosmopolitan than many other parts of the state. The area’s proximity to water leads its residents to subdivide it in relation to either the Mississippi River or Lake Ponchatrain. The “West Bank” lies along the western bank of the Mississippi River; the “North Shore” lies to the north of Lake Ponchatrain.