Louisiana has an interesting history. Thomas Jefferson bought the area that makes up the state from France in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase. See the influence of early French and Spanish settlers and taste spicy Cajun and Creole food throughout the state. Creole is what descendants of early French or Spanish settlers in Louisiana are called. The influence of early French settlers can also be seen in the state's name. Louisiana was named after French King Louis XIV.
Louisiana is nicknamed the "Pelican State" because of the many pelicans that used to inhabit the state's Gulf coast. The state has also been called the "Bayou State" because of its many slow-moving, marshy waterways. The abbreviation for Louisiana is LA.
Louisiana is a West South Central state bordered by Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Texas to the west. The state is shaped like the capital letter "L" or a boot.
Most of Louisiana has a hot, humid, subtropical climate; it is one of the wettest states. The state's location at the mouth of the Mississippi River on the Gulf of Mexico is very favorable and has played an important role in the state's development.
Because of its location, Louisiana has the world's busiest port system and is one of the most important trading states. The state is linked with the center of the country as well as places across the sea by its water route. The Mississippi River has made Baton Rouge, the state's capital, an important inland port. Most of the country's petroleum and grain is shipped from New Orleans, the state's largest city. In fact, New Orleans handles more tonnage than any other United States port.
The Mississippi River has played an important role in Louisiana's economic success for other reasons. The water along the state's coast produces a quarter of all the fish caught in the United States; only Alaska has larger fisheries. Louisiana leads the nation in the production of crayfish and shrimp.
Louisiana produces many things. It's a leading producer of forest products, furs, and minerals including oil, natural gas, sulfur, and salt. In fact, the state is the leading producer of natural gas in the country and a large part of its economy is dependent upon its mineral resources. Louisiana has more than 90 chemical plants that manufacture one-fourth of the country's petrochemicals and 12 major refineries that have produced 10 billion gallons of gas.
Louisiana's farms produce a good amount of the country's rice, cotton, soybeans, sweet potatoes, and pecans. The state is also a very important part of the United States space program. The C-5 boosters used in the Apollo moon-landing program were made in Louisiana. In New Orleans, there is an enormous facility for making the gigantic external fuel tanks for space shuttles.
Many tourists visit Louisiana ever year. Wear a fantastic costume and dance in the streets at the Mardi Gras celebration that occurs in the state just before Lent. If you like jazz music, Louisiana's the state for you. Great jazz musicians provide hours of entertainment for tourists. Sports fans from all over the country flock to the Sugar Bowl college football game. If you want to hunt or enjoy nature, go to Louisiana, where wildlife is plentiful.