Louisiana is a state in the southern United States of America. Louisiana is located at the mouth of the Mississippi River in the Gulf of Mexico and has an area of 134,264 km², of which 21,440 km² are water bodies. Louisiana has two nicknames: Pelican State because of the heraldic bird and Bayou State because of the swamps.


Other major cities are Lafayette and Shreveport. Louisiana is the only state in the country whose political subdivisions are called parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties in other states. The most populous parish is East Baton Rouge Parish, and the largest by area is Plaquemines Parish.

Some urban environments in Louisiana boast a multicultural and multilingual heritage, showing an intense mix of French culture (especially from the 18th century), Spanish, Indo-American (such as the Caddo nation) and African cultures; This entire ethnic mosaic is considered exceptional in the United States.

The current state of Louisiana was a French colony, then a territory under Spanish rule and finally acquired by the United States with the Louisiana Purchase.

Its pattern of development included the importation of numerous African slaves in the 17th century, many of them captured and brought to Louisiana from the same region of West Africa, thus concentrating its culture. After the Civil War, Anglo-Americans increased pressure for Anglicization, and in 1915 the English language became the de facto language of the state, however, it has no official status. Despite everything, the state of Louisiana has more American Indian tribes than any other southern state, including four that are federally recognized, ten recognized by the state, and four that have not yet received recognition.



1 Baton Rouge - the state capital.
2 Farmerville
3 Lafayette - the center of Cajun Country.
4 Lake Charles
5 Monroe
6 Natchitoches - oldest settlement in Louisiana.
7 New Orleans - largest city and premier tourist destination.
8 Ruston
9 Shreveport - largest city in northern Louisiana.



English has only been the official language in Louisiana since 1916. Before that it was French for 200 years. Today English is spoken almost everywhere, but it is not uncommon to hear conversations in French in the southern and rural parts of the country.


Getting here

Mit dem Flugzeug
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (IATA: MSY)
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (IATA: BTR)

Auf der Straße
I10 Houston TX - Lake Charles LA - Baton Rouge LA - New Orleans LA - Slidell LA - Biloxi MS
I20 Dallas TX - Shreveport LA - Bossier City LA - Jackson MS
I49 Lafayette LA - Shreveport LA - Texarkana AR
I55 Jackson MS - Hammond LA - LaPlace LA
I59 Hattiesburg MS - Slidell LA



Geographical location

Louisiana is part of the southern states and is located on the Gulf of Mexico. The location is characterized by large swamps and rivers with large deltas, which is why much of Louisiana's area is wetland. In the north of the state, Louisiana borders the Ouachita Mountains with the Driskill Mountain, the only higher elevation in the state. Rivers originate there, some of which flow into the Mississippi River.


Expansion of the national territory

The state territory of Louisiana extends from 29° to 33° latitude (about 440 km) and from 88° to 94° longitude (about 470 km). Louisiana has an area of 134,246 km², making it the 32nd largest state in the United States in terms of area, ahead of Mississippi and after Alabama.


Neighbore states

Louisiana borders Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, and the Sabine River to the west with Texas. In the south, the approximately 550 km long coastline runs with the Gulf of Mexico.



Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes (districts, called counties in other states). The largest parish is Vernon Parish in the west with 3441 km². The smallest parish is Orleans Parish in the southeast with 468 km².



250 million years ago, before the Gulf of Mexico existed, there was only one large continent, Pangea. As Pangea slowly drifted apart, the Gulf of Mexico formed and joined the Atlantic Ocean. Louisiana now slowly evolved from water to land over millions of years and grew in extent. The oldest rocks are found in northern Louisiana, in the Kisatchie National Forest. They are from the Tertiary Age and are 60 million years old.

The delta of the Mississippi River has become larger and larger due to sediments and is now one of the largest river deltas in the world.

Between the Tertiary rocks in the north and the newly arrived sediments at the Mississippi River Delta runs a long belt in central Louisiana that was formed in the Pleistocene. The formation of the belt is widely associated with sea level rise and fall during past ice ages. Because the rocks in the Kisatchie National Forest formed much earlier than the Mississippi River Delta, rivers and canyons formed there, which is why there is higher land there than in the flat coastal regions of the Gulf of Mexico.

In the early formation phase of the Gulf of Mexico, when there was no connection to the Atlantic, high evaporation rates led to the formation of numerous salt domes. There are several hundred of these salt domes in Louisiana, the most famous of which is Avery Island. Salt domes are used for salt mining and drilling for oil and gas.


Flora and fauna

The flora in Louisiana is varied. The tree species Pinus echinata, Pinus elliottii and marsh pine are common; hardwoods grow on the alluvial soils of Louisiana. Important tree species, some of which are native, include the red cedar, copper beech and walnut family. In Louisiana, orchids and several species of hyacinths, as well as Isoetes louisianensis and Schwalbea, have been listed under "Vulnerable Status" since 2003. In the south, Tillandsia usneoides, also known as Spanish moss, is particularly widespread; in the north it rarely occurs.

In Louisiana, there is a rich fauna that was created by varied swamps, forests and prairies. Deer, squirrels and rabbits as well as bears are hunted commercially as wild animals. The muskrat, coypu, mink and opossum, as well as the bobcat and skunk are used as natural rangers in the forests. Louisiana is home to many different species of wildfowl, such as quail, turkey, woodcock, and various waterfowl, of which the Florida duck and wood duck are native to Louisiana. The coastal beaches of the Gulf of Mexico are home to sea turtles. Whales and various species of fish are native to the shores. Many freshwater fish are present in the lakes and lagoons.

Five sea turtle species are considered endangered: the hawksbill sea turtle, Atlantic ridley sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle and green turtle. In 2003, a total of 23 other animal species were threatened in Louisiana.



Louisiana has a subtropical climate characterized by hot, humid periods with average rainfall and mostly mild winters. The average annual temperature in Louisiana is about 20.6 degrees Celsius; in summer it is usually over 30 degrees hot. In winter, temperatures very rarely drop below freezing, otherwise the average mild winter temperature is 12.6 degrees Celsius. There is significant rainfall throughout the year with New Orleans and Baton Rouge receiving about 1500mm of rain over a year, with an average number of 8.7 rainy days per month. Despite the high number of rainy days per month, the sun shines an average of 3.9 hours per day even in January. In summer the sun shines for more than eight hours a day; the sunniest month is July. Humidity in Louisiana is usually over 70%.

In the summer months, Louisiana is regularly hit by strong hurricanes with wind speeds of over 120 km/h.

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the mainland at over 200 km/h. In Louisiana alone, 469 people died. St. Bernard Parish in the southeast and the region around New Orleans were hit particularly hard.



Louisiana was named in honor of Louis XIV, king of France (1643-1715). When René Robert Cavelier de La Salle claimed this territory watered by the Mississippi River for France, he called it La Louisiane, which means "The Land of Louis." Louisiana was also part of Spanish Louisiana which was a large part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Already part of the United States, the Louisiana Territory extended from New Orleans to the current border with Canada.



First establishments

Louisiana was inhabited by Native Americans when Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century. Many place names in the state are transliterations of those used in native dialects. Tribes inhabiting Louisiana included the Atakapa, Boocana, Opelousa, Acolapissa, Tangipahoa, and Chitimacha in the southeast of the state; the Washa, the Chawasha, the Yagenechito, the Bayougoula and the Houma (part of the Choctaw Nation), the Quinipissa, the Okelousa, the Avoyel, the Taensa (part of the Natchez Nation), the Tunica and the Koroa. Central and northwestern Louisiana was part of the Caddo Nation and the Natchitoche Federation.


Exploration and conquest

The first European explorers who visited Louisiana in 1528 were Spanish, among the most renowned are: Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and Hernando de Soto. A Spanish expedition, led by Pánfilo de Narváez, located the mouths of the Mississippi River. In 1541, Hernando de Soto's expedition crossed the region.


French louisiana

At the end of the 17th century, French expeditions from the Canadian area and close to the current Western Canada, which were then called New France, with sovereignty, commercial and religious interests, established advanced forts on the Mississippi River and on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. With these first settlements, France claimed this region as its own and established a commercial empire from Canada originally colonized by France, along the entire Mississippi basin to its mouth on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

The first permanent settlement, Fort Maurepas (present-day Ocean Springs, Mississippi, near Biloxi) was founded by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, a French soldier from Canada, in 1699. By this time, the French had already built a fort on the mouth of the Mississippi River, which they called La Balise or La Balize, beacon in French, since in 1721 they built a wooden lighthouse on the coast of the Mississippi delta to guide ships on their journey to access from the Gulf of Mexico the bed of the Mississippi River.

The French originally claimed Spanish lands on both sides of the Mississippi River to link Louisiana with Canada. The following states were part of Louisiana: Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

The Natchitoches settlement (along the Red River in present-day northwest Louisiana) was established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau of St. Denis, considered the oldest European settlement in Louisiana. The French settlements had one purpose: to stop the Spanish advance from Texas. Also the end of the Old San Antonio Trail (also called Camino Real) ended in Natchitoches. It soon became a flourishing port, with cotton lands on the banks of the river. Over time, landowners developed immense estates and built fine houses in small towns, which began to grow. This was repeated in New Orleans and other cities.

The settlements of Louisiana helped the subsequent expansion and exploration of the territory, based especially on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, from New Orleans to the region called Illinois, and in present-day Saint Louis (Missouri).

Initially, Mobile (Alabama) and Biloxi (Mississippi) served as capitals of the colony. Recognizing the importance of the Mississippi River for commercial and military operations, France made New Orleans the center of civil and military power in 1722. From then until the acquisition of the region by the United States on December 20, 1803, France and Spain They took turns in control of the region. In the 1720s, German immigrants settled around the Mississippi, in the region known as the German Coast (after annexation to the USA: German Coast).


Spanish Louisiana

France ceded all territory east of the Mississippi to the United Kingdom or British Empire, after the English victory in the Seven Years' War. The rest of Louisiana passed into Spanish hands after the Treaty of Paris of 1763. From that year until the beginning of the 19th century, the very extensive territory of approximately 2 million square kilometers west of the Mississippi River valley (that is, most of the Mississippi basin) became—under the name of Spanish Louisiana—part of the Spanish Empire.

In 1765, during Spanish domination, several thousand French speakers from the region of Acadia (present-day Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, Canada) took refuge in Louisiana, after being expelled by the English invaders from the eastern coasts. of the territory that is today Canada, these refugees settling in the southwestern region of Spanish Louisiana called Acadiana. The Spanish, who wanted more Catholic population, welcomed the refugees. The Cajuns are their current descendants. In addition, immigrants from the Canary Islands arrived between 1778 and 1783; These Spanish settlers and their descendants are, because they come from the Canary Islands, called islanders even though they have lived on the mainland of North America for centuries.

In 1800, Napoleonic France acquired Louisiana from Spain through the Treaty of San Ildefonso, kept secret for two years.


Expansion of slavery

In 1709, French financier Antoine Crozat gained a monopoly on trade in Louisiana, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to present-day Illinois. "This concession allowed him to bring blacks from Africa every year," says British historian Hugh Thomas.

When France sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803, it was accepted that African slaves could cause problems like those they caused in neighboring Mississippi, which violated American law. Although Louisiana was, at the beginning of the 19th century, a small sugar producer with few slaves, it quickly increased its production after large planters began buying slaves from Africa and selling them in South Carolina, rather than in Louisiana. , where the landowners forced the captives to work without any pay on their plantations. Despite the efforts of members of the government to reinforce anti-slavery laws in the new territories, slavery remained because it was a good source of labor, numerous and cheap. The last Spanish governor of Louisiana wrote: "It is certainly impossible for Lower Louisiana to exist without slaves. And with slavery, the colony has achieved prosperity and well-being.

Slavery was legalized because according to William Claiborne, the first American governor of Louisiana, free white workers "could not work in this climate, which is bad for their health." Hugh Thomas wrote that Claiborne was unable to abolish slavery and the slave trade, as he was pressured by the entire landed elite (“white” or considered “white”) in Louisiana.


Incorporation into the United States (1803-1860)

As a result of his failures in Haiti, Napoleon I gave up his dreams of his "American empire" and sold Louisiana to the United States for 15 million dollars, who consequently divided it into two territories: The enormous district of Louisiana of a few million square kilometers became practically a continuation of the old Indiana to be gradually distributed into new American territories that would become states (federated states) such as Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, most of Wyoming, Dakota of the North, Indian Territory (later transformed into Oklahoma) and other extensive regions of the USA on the one hand; only the relatively very small but strategic Territory of Orleans would end up being converted into the state of Louisiana in 1812, and the district of Louisiana, which were the lands that did not belong to the Territory of Orleans. A small part of Florida, the parishes of Florida, were annexed from the strategic and important Republic of West Florida, proclaimed independent by James Madison in 1810. That is: the current state or federal state of Louisiana is the name given to a territory that corresponds to only 10% (approximately only one tenth) of the original territory of Louisiana.

Another consequence of the revolution in Haiti was increased emigration of refugees to Louisiana, especially New Orleans, and they included free whites and blacks as well as slaves. These helped increase the number of French speakers in the region. Other immigrants were Cubans, in 1809. In 1811, the largest slave revolt in the United States, the German Coast Revolution, took place outside New Orleans. Around 500 slaves rose up on the German coast and marched against the city gates. The revolution took the military forces of the Orleans Territory by surprise and was a major threat to American sovereignty in New Orleans.

Louisiana became a state on April 30, 1812. Louisiana's western boundary with Spanish Texas remained in dispute until the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819, with the Sabina Free State, also called "No Man's Land." , serving as a neutral buffer zone as well as a haven for criminals.

With population growth in the northwest and southern tip of the United States during the first decades of the 19th century, commerce grew in New Orleans. Products from the new territories were transported down the Mississippi River and shipped in New Orleans to the outside world. By 1840 the city had become the largest slave market in the United States, as well as one of the healthiest and third most populous cities in the country. During these decades, more than a million slaves were sold to the new territories.[citation needed]

Agriculture in the country, which was mainly tobacco and sugar, became diversified, so many landowners were left with extra slaves, who were sent to the new territories. With the accession in 1861 of the state of Louisiana to the Confederate States of America, New Orleans became the most populous city in the Confederacy.


Hurricane Katrina

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the state of Louisiana. It was a major hurricane that reached category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane scale. The winds reached more than 280 kilometers per hour and caused great damage in the coastal part of the southern United States, especially around the New Orleans metropolitan area and in Plaquemines Parish. A few days after the disaster, on the night of August 31, Mayor Ray Nagin declared a state of emergency; Subsequently, the federal disaster area was placed under the control of FEMA and the National Guard.

In New Orleans, as a result of the rains, Lake Pontchartrain overflowed, leaving more than 80% of the city flooded and around 200,000 homes underwater. More than a million people had to be evacuated to other states in the country, mainly Florida, Missouri and Texas, while others were transported to more distant states, such as Washington, Ontario and Illinois.

The city needed more than three months to completely pump the accumulated water into the sea, to find the bodies of the missing and to begin inhabiting the homes again, although the forecasts were that the homes could be reoccupied by the summer of 2006. The interruptions to imports and exports, as well as activities in this area of the oil industry, not only affected the local economy, but also had repercussions on the economy of the entire country.



The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Louisiana as of July 1, 2013 was 4,625,470, an increase of 2.0% since the 2010 Census. The state's population density is 40.5 inhabitants per square kilometer.

In July 2005, the estimated population in Louisiana was 4,523,628, which represents an increase of 0.4% compared to the previous year and an increase of 1.2% compared to the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 129,889 people (i.e. 350,818 births minus 220,929 deaths) and a decrease due to net migration of 69,373 people. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net gain of 20,174 people, and migration within the country resulted in a net loss of 89,547 people.10​The population center (closest geographic point to all inhabitants, on average) of Louisiana is located in the parish of Pointe Coupee in the city of New Roads.



Protestantism 59% - 2,831,563
Catholicism 26% - 1,247,807
Other religions 2% - 95,985
No religion 13% - 623,903



Louisiana has a particular culture due to French and, to a lesser extent, Spanish colonization. The most spoken languages today are English and Spanish. As for the French dialect known as Cajun (from the French term Acadien, which designated the settlers from the French-Canadian colony of Acadia) it has been reduced today to 7% of speakers, although there are initiatives by the state government to promote its use by considering it as a hallmark of the state.

A worse fate has befallen the vestigial Spanish, brought in the 18th century by Canarian and Andalusian emigrants, which today has practically disappeared. Spanish, however, is constantly growing in number of speakers, due to Latin American immigration, especially Mexican and Central American, particularly to the city of New Orleans. Even so, French remains the most studied foreign language in the state's schools.

The vast majority of the population is of the Christian religion, of which 58% are from various Protestant groups and 26% are from the Catholic Church, those of other religions are 2% and the non-religious are 14% of the population.

Louisiana is known for its music, particularly jazz, blues and Cajun music. Likewise, the gospel hymn When the Saints Go Marching In is often associated with New Orleans, although it is not native to the city.

Universities in the state include Louisiana State University, Southeastern Louisiana University and Tulane University.


African culture

The French colony of La Louisiane struggled for decades to survive. Conditions were harsh, the climate and soil were unsuitable for certain crops that the colonists were familiar with, and they suffered from regional tropical diseases. Both the colonists and the slaves they imported had high mortality rates. The colonists continued to import slaves, which resulted in a high proportion of Africans native to West Africa, who continued to practice their culture in the new environment. As historian Gwendolyn Midlo Hall describes, they developed a marked Afro-Creole culture in the colonial era.​

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, New Orleans received a large influx of white and mixed-race refugees fleeing the violence of the Haitian Revolution, many of whom brought their slaves with them, adding another infusion of African culture. to the city, since in Saint-Domingue there were more slaves from Africa than in the United States. They greatly influenced the African-American culture of the city in terms of dance, music and religious practices.



Louisiana currently has two major league sports teams: the New Orleans Saints of the National Football League since 1967 and the New Orleans Pelicans of the National Basketball Association since 2002. Previously, the New Orleans Buccaneers played in the ABA in the 1960s. , and the New Orleans Jazz the NBA in the 1970s.

In college sports, the LSU Tigers of college football have won 11 Southeastern Conference championships, six Sugar Bowls and three national championships. Meanwhile, the Sugar Bowl is a postseason game played in New Orleans, hosted by the champion of the Southeastern Conference.

New Orleans has hosted seven editions of the Super Bowl, as well as the BCS National Championship Game, the NBA All-Star Game and the NCAA Men's Basketball Division I Championship.

The New Orleans Classic, a POGA Tour golf tournament, has been played since 1938. NOLA Motorsports Park is a road course that will host the IndyCar Series in 2014.