Map of Louisiana
Not all states in the United States are recognizable at first glance, based only on the look of it on a map alone. Louisiana is an exception to this rule. Louisiana’s distinctive boot shape adds to the loads of personality of this southern state.
The coast of the Gulf of Mexico on its southern border, Texas to its west, Mississippi to its east, and Arkansas to its north, Louisiana is one of the quintessential “southern” states. Famous for its bayous that are as much a part of its culture as its geography, Louisiana is comprised of predominantly low-lying lands.
Being part of the southeastern region of the United States gives Louisiana the humid climate that dominates the area. As Louisiana is mostly flat, with a subtropical climate, it’s a prime location for marshes, swamps, and bayous.
The History of the Bayou State
Due to its topography, Louisiana seems like a difficult land to have colonized. However, Robert Cavalier de La Salle, and others who came before and after, recognized its treasures.
Arriving in 1682 after other explorers had already expressed interest in its unique landscape, de La Salle claimed a foothold in the region adjacent to the mighty Mississippi River in the name of his King, Louis XIV.
After many years of French occupation and battles with the Spanish over that occupation, the famous Louisiana Purchase was made. Becoming the 18th state in April of 1812 by the purchase of land, it increased the land owned by the United States twice the amount – without a drop of bloodshed in war.
The Louisianian Culture
Louisiana’s unique history of occupation gave the state status as a true melting pot of ethnicities. French, Spanish, and French-Canadians making Louisiana their home throughout its history has created subcultures unique to the state.
Creole and Cajun folk are part of Louisiana’s rich culture. Both subsets are descendants of the French; the difference being Creoles came from French Canada during colonization, and Cajuns were native to Louisiana when still occupied by the French.
Louisiana stands out in many other ways. Where most other states have been divided into counties, Louisiana has parishes instead. Due to the rule being under both the French and Spanish, who shared the Roman Catholic religion, the church parishes scattered throughout Louisiana helped define boundaries within the state.
The birthplace of Jazz is a distinction that Louisiana is proud to bear. The bluesy tunes created with rhythm and horn instruments are recognizable the world over.
Louisiana Flag Facts
- Louisiana has been host to many flags throughout its history including the French Louisiana flag, the Spanish Louisiana flag, and the Cross of Burgandy.
- Louisiana has gone through some major evolutions since becoming a state, with two of its current flag’s predecessors containing stars and stripes in resemblance to the United States Flag.
- The pelican and her nest resemble the French fleur-de-lis, harkening to the state’s French roots and influence.
- The pelican feeding her young her own blood is an ancient Christian symbol, some believe it’s used to signify acting as Jesus would.
- The words in the banner “Union Justice Confidence” correlate to the state’s motto that ends with “united in purpose and ideals, confident that justice shall prevail for all of those abiding here.”
Places to Visit in Louisiana
Colorful in its history, heritage, and culture, there are many places in the Bayou State worth visiting.
The End of the World
Venice, at the very tip of the boot’s toe, is a breathtaking fishing community in Louisiana. Its location has afforded it the nickname “the end of the world.”
Venice’s resilience is legendary, as it has bounced back from not one, but two disastrous hurricanes only 36 years apart. The residents of Venice have rebuilt and stayed the course, working to preserve its natural beauty and its exciting offshore fishing expeditions.
Immerse yourself in rich history in Louisiana’s state capital, Baton Rouge. The unique flavor of Baton Rouge begins with the opportunity to visit the State Capital Buildings – both the Old and current ones.
The Old State Capital, now a museum, stands grand in downtown Baton Rouge, its castle-like parapets waiting to welcome you. The current capital building stands tall in a very different way, with its art deco facade and more stately feel.
No list of places to visit in the great state of Louisiana would be complete without N’awlins – jazzy New Orleans.
The distinctive Garden District that neighbors the renowned French Quarter cannot be missed during a visit to New Orleans. The two areas of the Big Easy stand in sharp contrast and perfect harmony with one another, neither to be ignored.
Let the spirits move you – literally. Ghost tours take you on a journey of the spiritual nature through New Orleans’s many cemeteries. Celebrating the life of the dead in New Orleans has become an art form – with the encouragement of those respectful enough to join in as the jazz band plays.
Shrove (or Fat) Tuesday, the french translation for Mardi Gras, is the Carnival to end all Carnivals. You would never know that Mardi Gras roots are buried deep in Christianity as it is a loud, brash, and naughty celebration of indulgence.
Lasting from Three Kings Day to Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, this tribute to “fatty” foods and decadence before the fast period is a time of raucous fun and long and crazy nights.
Make it a point to indulge yourself with a slice of the sweet, doughy King Cake. But be careful! Should you be the lucky one to find the baby in the King Cake, you get to throw the next big Mardi Gras bash!
Floats painstakingly built by their own Krewes, travel a path of music, lights, and beads on the days leading up to and culminating on Fat Tuesday. Make sure to shout “throw me something mister” as each Krewe passes by – you never know the treasured trinket that may be bestowed upon you.