15 Intriguing Details About Louisiana

Were you aware that Louisiana has more alligators than any other US state, with Florida being a close second?

Though officially nicknamed “The Pelican State,” Louisiana is also known as “The Bayou State” and “The Creole State.” It became the 18th state to join the United States of America on April 30, 1812.

The state has a population of 4,648,794 individuals (as of 2019), placing it as the 25th most populous state. Louisiana is bordered by Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas.

With a total area of 52,069 square miles (135,382 square kilometers) of land and water, it is the 31st largest state.

Baton Rouge is the capital of Louisiana, located in the southeast of the state.

However, we aren’t here for quick facts about the Pelican State; we’re here to learn about some authentic facts!

Louisiana has been inhabited for over 9000 years!

For thousands of years, people have lived and thrived in the region now known as Louisiana, with the earliest known archaeological evidence dating back to approximately 8000 BC.

The first individuals to have resided in this area were Paleo-Indians, who traveled across the Bering Strait from modern-day Russia into Alaska and then through the Americas.

By approximately 3400 BC, more complex societies were emerging, and they created a series of artificial mounds at the Watson Brake site in Louisiana, which are the oldest of their kind in North America.

Many different cultures rose and fell by approximately 1200 AD, with a new form of culture emerging – a highly agricultural culture that relied heavily on maize.

These individuals were of the Caddoan Mississippian culture, and they controlled vast areas of land ranging from northeast Texas, western Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma to northwest Louisiana.

The various tribes encountered by Europeans upon their arrival in the area are direct cultural descendants of the Caddoans.

The first Europeans to reach Louisiana were the Spanish.

Several early Spanish expeditions reached different locations in Louisiana.

The first expedition was led by the conquistador Panfilo de Narváez in 1528 to establish colonies and fortresses throughout Florida.

The mission was a disaster from start to finish, with the expedition accidentally passing by the mouth of the Mississippi River after giving up on the mission.

Instead, they tried to sail along the Gulf of Mexico to modern-day Texas.

The second expedition was led by the famed explorer and conquistador Hernando de Soto in 1542, who traveled deep inland to the northern reaches of modern-day Louisiana.

While there, the expedition made contact with many different tribes belonging to the Caddo culture before making their way down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico.

Both expeditions encountered hostility from the beginning or inevitably made the locals hostile due to various despicable actions.

As a result, Spain made no claims to the land.

France was the first European nation to lay claim to Louisiana.

France’s interest in the area didn’t really emerge until around the 17th Century, a long time after de Soto’s expedition.

France had high hopes for its colonial efforts, intending to establish control from the Gulf of Mexico, following the Mississippi River, all the way up to Canada.

France claimed the region surrounding the Mississippi River in 1682 and named it La Louisiane, with settlements such as Fort Maurepas established in Mississippi. In 1714, the first permanent European settlement in Louisiana was founded by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, named Natchitoches after a local tribe. This settlement was created to prevent Spain from settling further inland and to develop a trading network with Spain. Louisiana was named after King Louis XIV of France by Robert Cavelier de La Salle. The region changed hands multiple times before becoming a US territory, with France, Spain, and Britain each having control at different times. By 1860, almost half of Louisiana’s population were slaves, and the state suffered a quick defeat during the American Civil War due to its reliance on slavery.

Louisiana was one of the initial states to join the Confederate States of America after Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States in 1861. However, the Union forces captured New Orleans in 1862, and Louisiana became a state within the Union. Violence increased significantly in the region after the emancipation of slaves. It wasn’t until 1866, with the Reconstruction act, that the violence began to decrease, and newly freed slaves gained some sense of equality under the laws of the US government.

While some parts of Louisiana’s land have been around for millions of years, other regions were originally sand and earth that was swept down the Mississippi River. This sand and earth built up over time, extending the landmass of Louisiana. Louisiana has more than 60 thunderstorms per year on average, with the majority occurring over the summer. Louisiana is also very prone to tornadoes, with two on average reaching its shores every three years. A hurricane makes landfall in Louisiana every 2.8 years on average, with Hurricane Katrina being one of the worst hurricanes to hit the state.

The Turducken, a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck inside a deboned turkey, was invented in the kitchens of Louisiana by Paul Prudhomme, who popularized the dish. Louisiana had long been known as the pelican state due to the abundance of brown pelicans that flocked to the region and became synonymous with the idea of Louisiana.

In 1966, Louisiana was officially nicknamed the Pelican State, but shortly after, the bird was listed as endangered due to the pesticide DDT affecting their reproduction. However, thanks to recovery efforts, the pelican population has increased to around 40,000.

Louisiana has the highest number of alligators in the US, with an estimated two million in the wild and 300,000 in alligator farms. The alligator industry in Louisiana is worth $57 million annually, mostly from the sale of hide and meat.

Actor Nicolas Cage has a pyramid-shaped tomb in one of New Orleans’s most famous cemeteries. Many of Louisiana’s dead are placed in above-ground mausoleums or tombs due to the state’s low elevation. The reason for Cage’s tomb is unknown, with some speculating it’s connected to the Illuminati or his immortality.

Louisiana’s vast swamps and jungle-like landscape make for a unique experience. The state has come a long way from its days as a French colony and has a bright future ahead.

FAQ

1. What is Louisiana known for?

Louisiana is known for its unique culture, delicious cuisine, jazz music, Mardi Gras celebrations, and beautiful swamps and bayous.

2. What is the state bird of Louisiana?

The state bird of Louisiana is the brown pelican, which is also the official bird of Louisiana.

3. What is the Louisiana Purchase?

The Louisiana Purchase was a land deal between the United States and France, in which the U.S. acquired approximately 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River for $15 million in 1803.

4. What is the capital of Louisiana?

The capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge.

5. What is the Louisiana Superdome?

The Louisiana Superdome is a sports and entertainment stadium located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is home to the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and has hosted numerous Super Bowls and other major events.

6. What is the Louisiana State University?

The Louisiana State University, commonly referred to as LSU, is a public research university located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It is the flagship institution of the Louisiana State University System.

7. What is the significance of the Louisiana State Capitol?

The Louisiana State Capitol is the tallest capitol building in the United States and is located in Baton Rouge. It is also the site of the assassination of Louisiana Governor Huey Long in 1935.

8. What is the Atchafalaya Basin?

The Atchafalaya Basin is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States and is located in southern Louisiana. It is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including alligators, black bears, and bald eagles.

9. What is the Louisiana State Museum?

The Louisiana State Museum is a network of museums located throughout the state that showcase Louisiana’s rich history and culture. The museums cover a wide range of topics, from Mardi Gras to the Civil War to Cajun and Creole culture.

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