Louisiana Facts



The state of Louisiana is located in the southeast of the United States along the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana's Creole and Cajun cultures reflect its history as a melting pot of French, African, American, and French-Canadian cultures. There are many reasons to visit New Orleans, including the colonial French Quarter, the raucous Mardi Gras festival, jazz music, the Renaissance-style St. Louis Cathedral and the National WWII Museum.

  • Capital City: Baton Rouge
  • Largest City: New Orleans
  • Nickname: The Pelican State
  • Statehood: 1812; 18th state
  • Population (as of 2019): 4.649 million
  • Abbreviation: LA
  • State bird: Brown Pelican
  • State flower: Magnolia
  • Total Size Of The State: 52,069.13 sq mi (135,382 km2)

  • Louisiana

    Historical Background

    Louisiana was first settled around 12,000 years ago. The land was inhabited by Native American tribes during its history, including the Atakapa, Choctaw, Chitimacha, Natchez, and Tunica.

    Spain claimed the territory in 1541, thanks to its explorer Hernando de Soto. The region was seized by France in 1682. As part of the Louisiana Purchase, the United States purchased the area that would become Louisiana from France in 1803. The state of Louisiana was established in 1812.

    African slaves were brought to New Orleans just a few years after the city was founded in 1718. Louisiana, and especially New Orleans, have a unique culture as a result of the blend of African, French, and Spanish influences.

    1861 was the year Louisiana left the Union. Louisiana rejoined the Union in 1868 after reunification. Currently, the state is home to the Chitimacha, Coushatta, and Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, as well as the Tunica-Biloxi tribe.

    Why Does It Have That Name?

  • When the land was claimed by France in 1862, it was named after King Louis XIV.
  • Its state bird, the pelican, gives Louisiana the nickname Pelican State.

  • Geographic Features and Landforms

  • Arkansas borders Louisiana in the north, Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico in the east, the Gulf of Mexico in the south, and Texas in the west. There are three regions within Arkansas.
  • Low land located east of the Mississippi River is known as the East Gulf Coastal Plain. In the north, it becomes hilly. Near the river it is marshy.
  • From Arkansas in the north down to the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi Alluvial Plain extends west of the Mississippi River. Frontlands (with very fertile silt and clay) run along the river, and backlands (with ridges topped with fields) slope away. In the south there are wetlands.
  • Westernmost in the state is the West Gulf Coastal Plain, which extends from Arkansas to the very southern tip. The northern part of this region is home to Louisiana's highest point, Driskill Mountain. To the south, the land slopes down to become prairie, then marshland, and finally the sand islands, or barrier beaches, that line the coastline.

  • The Natural World

    Louisiana's mammals include coyotes, American beavers, muskrats, and swamp rabbits. The American alligator is probably the state's best-known reptile. However, the area is also home to alligator snapping turtles, Louisiana pine snakes, and venomous harlequin coral snakes. Louisiana's many birds include the bright pink roseate spoonbill, yellow-crowned night heron, Louisiana waterthrush, and purple gallinule. Louisiana slimy salamanders, Southern toads, and crawfish frogs are a few of the state's amphibians.

    Some of Louisiana's most common trees include pecans, Louisiana hickory, magnolias, live oaks and bald cypresses (the state tree). Louisiana is home to little brown jug, American hogpeanut, and sensitive partridge pea.

    Natural Resources

    Fertile soil, natural gas, and oil are among Louisiana's top natural resources. Louisiana also produces the most salt in the United States.

    Some Fun Facts About Louisiana

  • Many jazz and blues performers have hailed from the Pelican State, such as Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong, and Jelly Roll Morton.
  • The cuisine of Louisiana is Creole (a mixture of Spanish, French, African, and other influences), including Jambalaya-a mix of spicy rice, meat, and seafood.
  • Among the features at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve are a War of 1812 battlefield with reenactments, a national cemetery, a wetland preserve (where Louisiana's state bird, the brown pelican, can be seen), and several cultural centers that tell the history of Louisiana's people, art, and music.
  • A minimum of 200 yards should be kept from the Mardi Gras parade route for reptiles.