Facts about Louisiana

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Louisiana, known as the Pelican State, was organised as a territory in 1804 and entered the Union as the 18th State in 1812. Here are some interesting facts about this beautiful part of the United States.

Fact 1:
The State Capital is Baton Rouge and there are 64 counties (parishes), one State forest and 35 State parks. The largest concentration of the State population is in New Orleans. Other cities include Biloxi, which was once the State Capital, and Lafayette.

Fact 2:
Its residents are known as Louisianan or Louisianans and the origin of the State’s name was in honour of King Louis XIV of France. The population is just over 4.5 million.

Fact 3:
New Orleans is the largest city in Louisiana, famous for its jazz, creole cuisine and Mardi Gras parades. Its NFL team is the New Orleans Saints and NBA team is the New Orleans Hornets. St Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the United States. The Mississippi River runs at its deepest between Governor Nicholls Wharf and Algiers Point in New Orleans where it is 200 feet deep before it flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

Fact 4:
The State motto is ‘œUnion, Justice, and Confidence’.

Fact 5:
The State flower is the Magnolia; tree is the Bald Cypress; bird is the Eastern Brown Pelican and ‘œGive me Louisiana’ and ‘œYou are my Sunshine’ are the two State songs. The climate is sub-tropical.

Fact 6:
The major industries include natural gas, petroleum, salt and sulphur production both inland and offshore. Farming produces sweet potatoes, rice, sugar, pecans, corn and cotton which form the main crops. From these chemicals, processed food, petroleum, lumber transportation equipment and apparel are manufactured.

Fact 7:
The first settlers in Louisiana, apart from the native Indian inhabitants, were French colonists who were joined by the Spanish and Acadians. Many of the French were aristocrats who were fleeing slave revolts in the West Indies or the French Revolution. It is part of this legacy that the counties are known as ‘œparishes’.

Fact 8:
The current population is made up of people with heritages from all parts of Europe and the rest of the world. The famous Cajun French speaking population migrated when they travelled from what is now Nova Scotia, Canada. They are mainly found in the coastal parts of the State where they work on the land, in fishing or in the petroleum industries.

Fact 9:
The coastal regions are within the recognized hurricane zone and in 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast region.

Fact 10:
Louisiana’s most famous son is Louis Armstrong (Sachmo) (1900-71). Born into poverty and after a spell in a boy’s home, where he was introduced to the cornet, he began his love of music. He broke down many social and colour barriers and over the decades grew in fame by appearing in many movies and concerts and made thousands of recordings ‘“ Hello Dolly went to No. 1 when he was 63.

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