Making the best of it has been New Madrid's spirit through flood, earthquake and war. The Hart Stepp House was built in the 1830s as the town recovered from the earthquakes 20 years earlier. The old house had a river bank view of the golden age of steamboats and the clash of Civil War gunboats. New Madrid's historical museum tells the story of the great battle for the Mississippi. Union forces fought confederates at New Madrid, capturing the town and a key rebel fortress on island number ten.
Today Noranda Aluminum is part of a new Madrid economy few would have imagined a generation ago. Noranda is the one of the heartland's biggest employers. The town's economy now is a 50-50 mix of agriculture and industry.