Germans have played a major role in the development o Louisiana ever since they settled the German Coast or La Cote des Allemands, about 36 miles above New Orleans in 1721. They were contracted by John Law t colonize Louisiana after the Duc d?Orleans, Regent of France, granted law permission to charter the Company of the West. The German farmers endured many hardships. Their produce fed the emerging City of New Orleans. The original Germans were absorbed into the French culture and their names were changed from Heidel to Haydel, Himmel to Hymel, Huber to Oubre, Wishner to Vicknair, Zweig to LaBranche, Troxler to Trosclair, and Zehringer to Zeringue (to name a few). Descendants of the colonists still inhabit St. Charles, St. James and St. John the Baptist parishes. Throughout the 1800s, New Orleans was a major port of entry for German immigrants, many of whom went to Texas or the mid-west. By 1850, however, there were more Germans than French in New Orleans. They were bakers, blacksmiths, brewmasters, carpenters, dairymen, doctors, engineers, farmers, florists, shoemakers and shopkeepers. Their cultural traditions included love of family and religion. Their strong work ethic helped to shape the destiny of Louisiana. Throughout the 20th century, German immigrants have continued to contribute to the Delta region of Louisiana.