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
NICKNAME: The Pelican State
4,601,893 (2012 est.)
CAPITAL: Baton Rouge
STATE BIRD: Eastern Brown Pelican
STATE FLOWER: Magnolia
AREA: 51,843 sq. mi.
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
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 Business District,
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.
- 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