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Louisiana is a state of the United States, at the Mississippi outlet in
the Gulf of Mexico. The name is abbreviated LA or La., But the state is also
often called The Pelican State. The state has an area of 134,273 km2 and
has 4,684,333 residents (US Census, 2017). The capital is Baton
Rouge. Louisiana was part of the Louisiana Territory, which the United States
purchased from France in 1803. The name is after the French king Louis 14.
Louisiana is a lowland with river plains, marshes and lakes, and along the
coast there are a number of large lagoons with brackish water. Mississippi and
its bees are taller than the surrounding country, and it has therefore been
necessary, in the Netherlands, to build dikes for flood protection. The climate
is humid subtropical with hot summers and relatively cool winters. The annual
average temperature varies between 18 °C in the far north to 21 °C at the mouth
of the Mississippi. In New Orleans the average temperature is 12 °C in the
coldest month (January), 27 °C in the warmest month (July - August). The annual
rainfall varies between approx. 1220 mm in the north and 1625 mm in the
south. The growing season is 320 days in the south and 220 in the
north. Especially from May to November, the coast is exposed to tropical
Ethnic variation is greater than in most other Southern states. Some of the
white population are descendants of French colonists (see cajun), partly by
French expelled by British from Nova Scotia in the latter part of the 18th
century, and partly by royalist refugees of the French Revolution. French is
spoken daily in some areas, and Code Napoléon is still the basis of the state's
law. Mardi gras (Fetish Tuesday) is a popular folk festival, especially in New
Orleans. Black / African Americans make up 32.6 percent of the population (US
Census, 2017), a percentage only surpassed by Mississippi and District of
Columbia. 5.2 percent are Hispanic (Hispanic or Latino), while 58.7 percent are
considered white. The state's largest city, New Orleans, was submerged and
suffered enormous damage in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the fall of 2005.
Agriculture, which was previously dominated by cotton, is based today on the
cultivation of rice, soybeans and sugarcane as well as the production of meat
and dairy products. Almost half of the area is wooded, and the forest provides
the basis for a large timber and paper industry. Catching of shellfish (shrimp,
oysters), musk rats, mink and otters also yields substantial
revenue. After Texas, Louisiana is the largest natural gas producer in the
state, and only Texas, Alaska and California produce more oil. Production
of sulfur and salt is also significant. By the way, the industry is dominated
by petrochemicals and the chemical, textile, clothing and food industries.
Among higher education institutions are five universities, including Baton
Rouge State University, and Tulane, Dillard and Catholic Loyola University, all
in New Orleans. Huey Long and his brother Earl Long strongly influenced
Louisiana's political life in the 1930s and 1940s, both as governors.
Louisiana sends two senators and six representatives to Congress. The State
Senate has 39 members, the House of Representatives 105.
Louisiana originally encompassed the entire Mississippi waterway and got its
name after Louis 14, when French explorer Robert de La Salle sailed down to the
estuary in 1682 and took possession of France. Around 1540 Hernando De Soto and
other Spaniards had traveled in the area.
Emigration and deportations laid the foundations for a French population, and
many slaves were brought out. New Orleans was founded in 1718. In 1763, the land
east of the Mississippi was surrendered to England, the west
to Spain. Napoleon acquired the Spanish part in 1800, but sold it to the United
States in 1803 for $ 27 million.
Louisiana was organized as two territories and in 1812 the present area was
occupied as the 18th state of the United States. Large sugar and cotton
plantations grew, and in 1840 New Orleans became America's most important port
after New York.