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Louisiana

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General background about this state


Louisiana Flag     Louisiana Great Seal


LOUISIANA


Cities
  Alexandria
  Baton Rouge
  Bossier City
  Houma
  Kenner
  Lafayette
  Lake Charles
  Monroe
  New Orleans
  Ruston
  Shreveport





Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States. It is bordered to the west by Texas; to the north by Arkansas; to the east by the state of Mississippi; and to the south by the Gulf of Mexico.

  • ABBREVIATION: LA
  • NICKNAME: The Pelican State
  • POPULATION: 4,601,893 (2012 est.)
  • CAPITAL: Baton Rouge
  • STATE BIRD: Eastern Brown Pelican
  • STATE FLOWER: Magnolia
  • AREA: 51,843 sq. mi.
  • TIME ZONE: Central
  • ENTERED UNION: Apr. 30, 1812
  • ALTITUDE: High, 535 ft. Driskill Mountain
  • CLIMATE: Humid. Long hot summers, short mild winters. Moderately heavy rainfall.

 

Shaped like a swashbuckler's boot, with a toe dipping into the Gulf of Mexico, Louisiana lies on a low coastal plain. Jean Lafitte found its coast a fine place from which to practice piracy in the 19th century. In the inland bayou region, "a maze of sluggish and devious waters" darkened by moss-draped cypress forests, the Acadian settlers of Longfellow's Evangeline lived in an easy-going prosperity based on rich crops and cattle raising. Their descendants, the "Cajuns" are still there.

Thanks to the Bayou country, Louisiana leads the nation in wild muskrat and nutria trapping. The State is also first in shrimp fishing and sugar cane production and among the top three states in rice production. To the north the waterways are less kind, ceaselessly eroding the soil of the rolling "piney woods". But to the east, water has been benign, laying down a ribbon of exceptional fertility along the banks of the Mississippi. Here early planters turned the land into an Eden of cotton and cane.

New Orleans Central Business District
New Orleans Business District, Louisiana

Louisiana is often affected by tropical cyclones and is very vulnerable to strikes by major hurricanes, particularly the lowlands around and in the New Orleans area. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina made land in Louisiana, devastating the city of New Orleans and the surrounding area. It is the costliest natural disaster, as well as one of the five deadliest hurricanes, in the history of the United States.

 

FUN FACTS:

  • Louisiana is the only state in the Union that has parishes instead of counties, and that refers to the Napoleonic Code in its laws.
  • Up until 2010 the 24-mile long Lake Pontchartrain Causeway was the longest bridge completely over water in the world. (In July 2011 the Jiaozhou Bay Bridge in China was named by Guinness as the 'longest bridge over water'.)
  • Mardi Gras colors are Purple (Justice), Gold (Power), and Green (Faith).
  • Because of its low water table, New Orleans has many cemeteries with above-ground tombs. They are known as cities-of-the-dead because the rows of tombs resemble city streets.
  • Louisiana's Creole society is made up of descendants of people of Spanish or French heritage mixed with that of African slaves who gained freedom before the Civil War.
  • Gueydan is known as the "Duck Capital of America" in recognition of its abundance of waterfowl.

 

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