Facts about Louisiana
This is an article including facts about Louisiana from a local. I have included a few random interesting facts, but others that are more obvious as well.
- Louisiana does not have counties. There are no counties in Louisiana. As a sign of our cultural history in Louisiana, the connections to the Cajun French heritage has yielded Parishes. Therefore, when you are entering into New Orleans, you enter into Orleans Parish, not Orleans County.
- People still speak French. There are not nearly as many Cajun French speakers left in Louisiana as there were 50 years ago. Starting with the baby boomer generation, children were punished in schools for speaking any language outside of English. Now that so few people have retained the French language, there are programs such Codefil, which are attempting to revive it. There are schools in Lafayette Parish which have “French immersion” programs. There are radio stations which speak predominately Cajun French along with many bands who sing in that language also. You can still find areas of Louisiana where people speak French as a native language.
- There are almost 1/4 as many alligators as people in Louisiana. How many alligators are in Louisiana? Well, by the latest numbers that I heard, there are roughly 1.5 million alligators in Louisiana. Louisiana’s population hovers around 4.5 million.
- Our Coastlines are vanishing rapidly. Due to innovations in our levee systems that inhibit the Mississippi River from running its original course, the River is no longer able to spread sediment into the marshes to build up new lands. Now, that same sediment that used to build the coastline is instead siphoned into the Gulf of Mexico.
- New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in the country. New Orleans, Louisiana is a historic city. It is very European in its atmosphere and mindset. Visitors will find that the streets of the French Quarter are similar to those in Spain.
- The largest ethnicity groups found in Louisiana are French, Spanish, Italian, Indian (Native American), Vietnamese, Honduran, German, Lebanese, and Irish. All have become influential in there own way, and they have all left their marks on society. Obviously, the ties to French and Spanish are vividly evident in everyday life, but someone who digs a little bit deeper can see where the others have impacted our culture.
- Fact: Louisiana has the best food in the United States. Just saying. Well, at least as far as local cuisine goes, Louisiana is where the money is. There are definitely other places in America where you can get a good meal. The difference is that Louisiana has food that you cannot find anywhere else. It is truly unique to the State.
- Fact: We have the most unhealthy food in the United States. We love our boudin, cracklin, Étouffée, and the like, but it goes without saying that good food is not always the healthiest. By some accounts, Louisiana is one of the most unhealthy states. By other accounts, it is one of the happiest. I guess you can’t have both worlds. Regardless, the importance of food is huge in Louisiana culture.
- LSU’s campus becomes the third or fourth largest “city” in Louisiana on a home football gameday(Depending on who you ask and which game it is). The largest cities in Louisiana are New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Lafayette, and Lake Charles.
- The largest industries in Louisiana are sugar production, oil extraction, fishing, logging, and other food products such as rice, corn, pecans, etc.
- Louisiana Hot Sauce is world-famous! This never really hit me until I was eating a Kebab in Spain. I found myself pouring hot sauce from this bottle onto my Kebab. As I ate the wrap, I read the label of the hot sauce bottle. The sauce was made only a few minutes from my house. I have also seen Tabasco Sauce in nearly every country that I have been to.
- Laissez les bon temps rouler makes no sense to a francophone, but it is a popular phrase in Louisiana. People commonly say this phrase as a means of expressing the laid back life-style and easygoing nature of Louisiana’s residents. It means, “Let the good times roll”. Its true meaning can change according to the person who experiences it, but that is the literal translation.
- Louisiana has ties to the Caribbean. I am not sure if many people realize how pivotal Louisiana was in the colonial times. There was a time when swashbuckling pirates roamed the streets of New Orleans and sailed the marshes of Louisiana’s coast. The Spanish and French used Louisiana much like they used other places in the Caribbean. They share a collective history. Voodoo, which can still be found in isolated cases in Louisiana, was brought over from Haitian slaves who were used as servants to wealthy families.
- People are still deeply affected by the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina changed lives across the Gulf Coast. Louisiana was not the only state to be impacted by Katrina, but it certainly felt some of the worst effects. There are people who lost everything who lived in Louisiana, and it has been a tough road to build back the pieces. However, Louisianans are determined to rebuild and our communities are strongly in support of one another.
- The architecture of the New Orleans French Quarter is actually Spanish, not French. In the 18th Century, part of New Orleans burnt. The Spanish rebuilt the city. After some time, the French reclaimed the land.
- Louisiana has a very large continental shelf. Random, I know, but it does.
- Mardi Gras originated in Louisiana. Mardi Gras has its roots in Catholic traditions. Many of the original settlers in southern Louisiana were Catholic, which eventually gave rise to the annual festival’s birth. Its popularity has grown quite substantially over the years and people have tried to copy it worldwide. There is even a Mardi Gras festival in Sydney Australia.
- Louisiana has its own music. Louisiana music is not to be confused with country music. Country music exists in Louisiana, but not that much is actually from the state. The majority of country music that is from Louisiana has come from the north and central parts of the state. Southern Louisiana is the originator of Cajun music, which includes a variety of styles within itself. Zydeco is one of the more popular ones.
- As of 9/18/2012, there are 6 reality TV shows involving Louisianans. Swamp People, Cajun Pawn Stars, Bayou Millionaire, Duck Dynasty, Cajun Shrimpers, Swamp Loggers. Swamp People probably started everything. The alligator hunters on Swamp People quickly climbed the popularity ladder and rose to international fame. They drew crowds from their famous one-liners like choot ’em, and their unique bayou charm.
- Louisiana has a diverse wildlife. Aside from all the swamps and lakes that cover Louisiana’s terrain, there are many animals the roam them. Louisiana is home to alligators, snakes, black bear, turtles, frogs, many species of fish, ducks, geese, deer, pigs, ibises, herons, egrets, MOSQUITOS, and others.
- Crawfish season is only in the spring. It usually starts around February and lasts until April, give or take. The season coincides with the Catholic tradition of lent. Thus, seafood restaurants will be packed on Fridays because Catholics aren’t supposed to eat meat. Yet, even the priests make jokes about the “penance” during Lent of eating shrimp, crawfish, and other seafood.
- Louisiana has some interesting historic buildings. There is a range of historic buildings in Louisiana. Louisiana has European buildings in New Orleans, plantations, old Churches, old barns, and Acadian homes. These in their own way teach us lessons about the history of Louisiana.
- The State Bird is the Brown Pelican. The bird frequents the Gulf Coast, and it has been adopted as one of our icons.
- Abita Beer is Louisiana’s most famous Brewery. Located in Abita Springs, Abita brewing company has become a small town hero. They have taken a local beer and spread out to markets around the United States. They serve several types of beer like Andy Gator and Purple Haze consistently as well as seasonal beers such as Strawberry brew.
- Cypress Wood from the Bald Cypress trees in the Atchafalaya Swamp has been used historically for things like the Higgins boats in WWII and the construction of canoes. Cypress is a choice wood even to this day for the construction of many goods in Louisiana. It is a popular wood because it has been called a rot resistant wood. Additionally, many find the allure of its smell pleasant.
- Many of the cemeteries in the southern part of the State have to be above ground because parts are actually below sea level. If you have ever been to New Orleans, you will notice that the cemeteries are filled with large and elaborate graves. It is said that many of the wealthy people used their graves to display their wealth.
- Multiple swamps make up the southern part of Louisiana. How much of Louisiana is swamp? I don’t know exactly, but it is difficult to visit parts of the state without seeing swamp lands. The Atchafalaya, Lake Martin, Honey Island, and others.
I hope that you enjoyed my facts about Louisiana! Stay tuned for future articles about traveling and exploring the very best that Louisiana has to offer.
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