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Louisiana (La): State Guide and Fun Facts


When did Louisiana become a state?
April 30, 1812

Who was the first explorer in Louisiana?
Panfilo de Narvaez; 1528

Native American settlers in Louisiana?
Acolapissa, Adai, Alabama, Apalachee, Avoyel, Bayogoula, Biloxi, Caddo, Chatot, Chitimacha, Choctaw, Doustioni, Houma, Koasati, Koroa, Mugulasha, Muskohee, Natchez, Ofo, Okelousa, Opelousa, Ouachita, Pascagoula, Quapaw, Quinipissa, Souchitioni, Tanesa

Square Miles:
51,843

US Rank:
31st

State Flower:
Magnolia

State Bird:
Eastern Brown Pelican

State Motto:
“Union, Justice and Confidence”

Capital City

Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge was founded in 1699 by Sieur d’Iberville, a French explorer. The area was named by d’Iberville, who saw the dividing line between two Native American hunting grounds, designated by a large stick that had impaled several bloody, dead animals. Thus, the name “Baton Rouge” in French translates to “red stick.” A host of different countries occupied the area after it was initially founded. It was officially incorporated as a city in 1817, and it was named the state’s capital city in 1849.

Today, Baton Rouge is the second-largest city in Louisiana, located on the Mississippi River. The city’s economy revolves around industrial petrochemical, medical and research companies.

What is Louisiana famous for?

1. Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras originally came about as a carnival celebration with Ash Wednesday and the Feast of the Epiphany. Fat Tuesday, the English translation of Mardi Gras, was the traditional day religious followers feasted rich, fatty foods before Lent began (on Ash Wednesday). The traditions continued to be established, dressing up in masks and costumes, dancing, and hosting parades. Mardi Gras is hosted in cities around the world. In the United States, it is most famously celebrated annually in New Orleans in the French Quarter of the city.

2. Louis Armstrong/Jazz Music
Louis Armstrong is known throughout the world as a preeminent jazz musician and trumpeter. He was originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of poor parents. He dropped out of school when he was only 11, believing that life on the street singing with a quartet of boys was preferable to his education. He belonged in many bands, playing the cornet (similar to a trumpet).

When he was only 20, he moved to Chicago and joined one of the city’s most popular Creole Jazz Bands. He quickly rose to fame and became one of the kings of the Chicago jazz music scene. He spent his life in New York, Chicago, and New Orleans, advancing his talents and playing his music, which is now cemented in history as some of the best jazz ever to be played.

3. Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina struck the coast of Louisiana during the hurricane season of 2005. It was a marked tragedy, during which over 1800 residents were killed. The property damage, measured in the tens of billions of dollars, is still being repaired as of 2010. Among other areas that the hurricane-damaged (less notably than New Orleans) were the Bahamas, South Florida, Cuba, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle.

What is Louisiana’s economy?

1. Agriculture
Louisiana’s agricultural economy is based on a few key livestock and crop outputs. The most important livestock raised in the state is cattle, dairy products, farm-raised fish, chicken eggs, and pigs. The most important crops grown in Louisiana are sugar cane, rice, soybeans, cotton, corn, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, peaches, strawberries, and melons.

2. Manufacturing
Louisiana’s most important manufacturing industries are pharmaceutical chemicals, paint, pesticides, petrochemicals, plastics, soap, coal, paper, and auto and truck parts.

3. Services
The services industry in Louisiana is a leader in contributions to the state’s GDP. The largest income-generating service industries are private health care companies, hotels, wholesale trade, trail stores, financial advisors, insurance companies, and real estate agencies.

Louisiana Historical Landmarks

1. Melrose Plantation
Melrose Plantation was built in the early 1830s by former black slaves. It is located in Melrose, Louisiana, and was significant because of its design and construction by freed slaves who built and occupied the land. It was owned for a long time by the Metoyer family, who were especially well known throughout the Creole community in Louisiana at the time.

2. Pontalba Buildings
The Pontalba Buildings were designed and built in New Orleans in 1849 by architects James Gallier and Henry Howard for Baroness Micaela Almonester Pontalba. Since construction was completed, the buildings have hosted commercial and retail space on the street levels, with apartments on the upper levels. These apartments are the oldest continuously rented apartments in the United States. Both buildings are wrapped with prominent wrought metal balconies on the second and third floors, characteristic of architecture from the French Quarter in New Orleans.

3. Port Hudson National Cemetery
Located in Port Hudson, Louisiana, the Port Hudson National Cemetery is also the Siege of Port Hudson, an important battle during the American Civil War. The Union troops measured their casualties in the thousands, which the Confederate troops fared a bit better. Today, the cemetery has not been developed, and the gun pits and trenches remain during the war. The location was designated as a National Historic Landmark on May 30, 1974.