160 Cool Facts About Louisiana


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A-Z Louisiana Facts

  • Rayne is known as the “The Frog Capital of the World”.
  • Notations on the original plats of survey for the area that is now Ville Platte stated that surveyors had to use pirogues and flat boats to properly do their work.
  • Because Covington is in a region referred to as the Ozone Belt, it has long been known for its clean air and water.
  • Gueydan is known as the “Duck Capital of America” in recognition of its abundance of waterfowl.
  • Le Musee de la Ville de Kaplan {The Kaplan Museum} is located in the center of downtown Kaplan. Le Musee at appropriate times has exhibits centered on the seasonal festivals. Mardi Gras, Easter, July 4, Bastille Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
  • The world’s longest bridge over a body of water is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. The bridge, which stretches nearly 24 miles, has two parallel spans, the first of which opened in 1956 and the other in 1969. It also has its own website, where drivers can check for traffic and weather updates, view live feeds, and learn what to do in case their car sinks into the lake.
  • The state bird of Louisiana is the Brown Pelican, which was considered endangered from 1970 to 1990. The species had to be reintroduced to the so-called Pelican State from 1968 to 1980 because the pesticide DDT had caused reproductive failure. Recovery efforts have resulted in an estimated 40,000 brown pelicans currently living in Louisiana. The bird has been adopted as the mascot of both a minor league baseball team and a professional basketball team.
  • Lafayette, Louisiana, has the most number of restaurants per capita than any city in the region. The residents are partial to spicy and flavorful dishes. In fact, the city attracts lots of tourists thanks to its Cajun food traditions, musical influences, and wild Mardi Gras celebrations.
  • Did you know that in Louisiana “Fat Tuesday” is a big festival that takes place before Ash Wednesday? New Orleans has the most famous “Fat Tuesday” celebration. The festival is also known as the Mardi Gras festival. It has been held there since 1838.
  • Kenner, Louisiana, was first inhabited by the Tchoupitoulas Indians. Incidentally, a group named The Wild Tchoupitoulas was formed in the early 1970s by mixed heritage individuals primarily to perform in the Mardi Gras and honor the tribe. They wore Indian costumes and even recorded their own album.
  • The town of Rayne, which one Depression-era report described as "the center of the Louisiana frog industry," celebrates with an annual Frog Festival. There's a pageant (for high schoolers), races and jumping competitions (for frogs), and lots and lots of frog legs on offer. The frogs, for their part, show up dressed to impress, in frog-sized tuxes and top hats. 
  • We have a Louisiana-bred chef to thank for the meat monstrosity (or masterpiece, depending on your perspective) known as the Turducken. Paul Prudhomme of Opelousas claims to have invented the three-bird rollup—although meat-stuffed meat dishes have had a place at holiday feasts dating back to at least the 16th century. 
  • The highest point in the state is located east of Shreveport at Driskill Mountain. It is only 535 feet above sea level. Louisiana’s lowest point (and the second-lowest point in the country) is the city of New Orleans, which is eight feet below sea level.
  • The geographic center of Louisiana is located in Avoyelles Parish, 3 miles SE of Marksville. The state is about 380 miles long and 130 miles wide.
  • Monroe: the city’s name came from the steam-powered ship called James Monroe which settlers consider is the turning point in the site’s evolution from outpost into an actual town. The ship was itself named after the 5th US president, James Monroe of Virginia.
  • Interestingly, the shape of the state resembles the shape of the capital letter “L” or a boot.
  • Native American tribes such as the Natchez, Bayougoula, and Chitamacha were the first inhabitants of what is now Louisiana.
  • The state is also a major producer of soybeans and corn.
  • Driskill Mountain – 535 feet (163 m) above sea level is the highest point in the state. And New Orleans – 8 feet (2.5 m) below sea level is the lowest point in Louisiana.
  • According to The Tax Foundation, a conservative, nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., since 2016, Louisiana has carried the title of the state with the highest average sales tax in the U.S. However, this year in July the tax rate was lowered to bring the average down.
  • Louisiana has the sixth highest adult obesity rate in the U.S. and the eighth highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17. For in-depth information about the state of obesity in Louisiana, refer to this page.

Scary facts about Louisiana

  • The Conrad Rice Mill located in New Iberia, Louisiana, is the oldest independently owned rice mill in the United States still in operation. It was established in 1912. Two of its buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places on November 10, 1982.
  • The first documented opera performed was staged at the Théâtre de la Rue St. Pierre in New Orleans, Louisiana on May 22, 1796.
  • Louisiana was named by René-Robert Cavelier in mid-1600’s to honor King Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 to 1715.
  • President Thomas Jefferson purchased Louisiana from Napoleon Bonaparte in 1803. The purchase encompassed 530,000,000 acres of territory in North America that the U.S. purchased for $15 million. The purchase doubled the size of the United States.
  • Louisiana State Capitol Building is the tallest state capital in the United States. The building was inaugurated on May 16, 1931. It is 450 feet tall and has 34 stories. In September of 1935, Long was assassinated in the State Capitol, which was built under his direction.
  • The nickname of the state “the Pelican State” comes from the many pelicans that used to inhabit the state’s gulf coast. (check the table at the end of the article for state symbols and nicknames)
  • Louisiana is among the country’s leading oil and gas producing states.
  • Hurricane Katrina (as a Category 3 storm) devastated some parts of Louisiana in August 2005. The hurricane eroded 73 square miles of the Louisiana coastland. The hurricane caused the death of an estimated 1500 Louisianans. Moreover, the state endured more than $100 billion in damages. Louisiana witnesses hurricane season between June and November each year.
  • The official flag of Louisiana was adopted in 1912, one hundred years after Louisiana became a state.
  • The Mississippi River borders and runs through the state.
  • The state of Louisiana has been governed under 10 different flags since 1541.
  • Did you know that the original Louisiana territory is now divided into 13 states?
  • Louisiana does not have an official language. English, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese are the languages that are spoken in Louisiana.
  • Louisiana is one of the wettest states in the U.S. Hawaii overall is the rainiest state in the US.
  • Because of the presence of the Mississippi River in Louisiana, Baton Rouge has become an important inland port.
  • Baton Rouge is the site of an important battle during the American Revolution — the only one that happened outside of the original 13 colonies. US forces forged an alliance with the Spanish forces to take down the British colony here. The decisive victory ended British hold of the Mississippi River.
  • Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the United States; the building is 450 feet tall with 34 floors.
  • Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.
  • Louisiana is the only state with a large population of Cajuns, descendants of the Acadians who were driven out of Canada in the 1700s because they wouldn’t pledge allegiance to the King of England.
  • The Superdome in New Orleans is the worlds largest steel-constructed room unobstructed by posts.
  • Height: 273 feet (82.3 meters), Diameter of Dome: 680 feet (210 meters), Area of Roof: 9.7 acres, Interior Space: 125,000,000 cubic feet, Total floor footage: 269,000 sq. ft. (82,342 sq. meters), Electrical Wiring: 400 miles (640 kilometers)
  • Metairie is home to the longest bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain causeway. The causeway connects Metairie with St. Tammany Parish on the North Shore. The causeway is 24 miles long.
  • Louisiana is the only state that still refers to the Napoleonic Code in its state law.
  • Voodoo is widely practiced in New Orleans. Early proponents included migrants from the Haiti slave revolt of 1791 and freed people of color from West Africa. They merged their religious rituals with local Catholic practices. Voodoo kings and queens were powerful political figures in the city during the 1800s.
  • The unemployment rate in Louisiana in August 2018 was 5% as compared to that of 4.1% of Alabama. In 2017, the GDP per capita for Louisiana was $52,602 as compared to that of Alabama, which was $43,377.
  • The legal system in Louisiana derives from the Civil Code established by the French emperor Napoleon in 1804. Thus the legal system of the state differs from the rest of the 49 states that follow English common law.
  • In 1959, Breaux Bridge, a city in the St. Martin Parish, was designated as the “Crawfish Capital of the World.” This was done to honor the region which was known for its crawfish farming and cooking.
  • The Union Cottonseed Oil Mill of West Monroe was in the planning stages as early as 1883. By 1887, it provided the area with many jobs for the laborers of the area. The Union Oil Mill is the oldest industry in Ouachita Parish.
  • French speaking Acadians in the mid-1700s settled the Lafayette Parish region of south Louisiana. The Acadians were joined by another group of settlers called Creoles, descendants of African, West Indian, and European pioneers. At the time of the migration, Louisiana was under Spanish rule and authorities welcomed the new settlers.
  • The city of Kaplan is referred to as “The Most Cajun place on earth”.
  • The town of Jean Lafitte was once a hideaway for pirates.
  • Winnsboro, the “Stars and Stripes Capital of Louisiana”, is one of the most patriotic cities in America. On Memorial Day, July 4th, Veteran’s Day, Labor Day, and other special occasions, approximately 350 American flags fly proudly along highway 15.
  • The name “Bogalusa” is derived from the Indian named creek “Bogue Lusa”, which flows through the city.

Weird facts about Louisiana

  • The Louisiana Territory was claimed by Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1682 and named for King Louis XIV. In French, “La Louisiane” means “Land of Louis.”
  • Tasked with negotiating the purchase of French land on behalf of the U.S. government, James Monroe and Robert Livingston initially offered $5 million and then $10 million for New Orleans and what was then called West Florida. Napoleon countered by offering all of the Louisiana Territory for $15 million—$233 million when adjusted for inflation. Once the government had paid back the loans required to make the purchase, the 828,000-square-mile land mass had cost a total of $23 million—and doubled the size of the U.S. 
  • At one time, the state of Louisiana was divided into counties. These units of local government were replaced in 1807 with 19 parishes, the borders of which generally corresponded to areas that had previously been administered by local churches. Today there are a total of 64 parishes in Louisiana.
  • The Saint Charles streetcar line in New Orleans and the San Francisco, California cable cars are the nation’s only mobile national monuments
  • Jennings is called the “Garden Spot of Louisiana” for it’s rich and productive farmland. Jennings sobriquet {nickname} became a “Northern Town on Southern Soil”.
  • Baton Rouge’s flag is a field of crimson representing the great Indian nations that once inhabited the area.
  • Money Magazine has rated Terrebonne Parish, in the heart of Cajun Country the best place to live in Louisiana for 3 years in a row.
  • In 1718 The French found New Orleans and marked “Cannes Brulee” on maps upriver in the area known today as the City of Kenner. French for “Burnt Canes”, Cannes Brulee was a name given by explorers who observed natives burning cane to drive out wild game.
  • The Harvey Canal Locks near Westwego connect the Mississippi River to the Harvey Canal. Back in the 1800s the locks served as ferries to transport railroad cars from one side of the canal to the other. Workers would then reunite the railroad cars on land. This service may have sparked the name of the town. According to one local folk tale, trainmen would shout “West We Go” as the railroad cars were reconnected and pulled out of the station.
  • Church Point boasts the designation “The Buggy Capital of the World”. A festival celebrates this designation annually on the first weekend in June.
  • The Creole House in French Settlement was built of cypress wood. It is typical of the dwellings built in the late 1800’s because cypress was so plentiful in the surrounding swamps.
  • Fort Polk was established in 1941 and named in honor of the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana. On March 12, 1993, Fort Polk officially became the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center.
  • Louisiana has plenty to boast about: Breaux Bridge, a city in the St. Martin Parish, is known as the “Crawfish Capital of the World,” Dubach is called the “Dog Trot Capital of the World” for its many breezeway style houses, Rayne is the “Frog Capital of the World,” Mamou is the “Cajun Music Capital of the World,” Gueydan is the “Duck Capital of America,” and Crowley is the “Rice Capital of the World” (though Stuttgart, Arkansas would dispute those last two titles).
  • Because of the state’s low elevation, the dead are often laid to rest above ground instead of being buried. Mausoleums replace crypts and markers in cemeteries in New Orleans and other cities. Actor Nicolas Cage has already purchased his mausoleum in New Orleans. It's shaped like a pyramid.
  • The popular phrase “Laissez les bons temps rouler” is a word-for-word translation of “let the good times roll,” and thus not a grammatically correct French saying. (To get the party started in France, they'd tell you to Prenons du bons temps!)
  • The first opera performance in the United States was held at the Théâtre de la Rue St. Pierre in New Orleans on May 22, 1796. The production was André Ernest Modeste Grétry’s Sylvain. The theater where the play was staged burned down in 1816, along with the Orléans Theater and other nearby buildings.
  • 13. Louisiana has one of the highest alligator populations in the country, with an estimated two million in the wild and another 300,000 on alligator farms. The hide and raw meat industries collectively bring in around $57 million a year.
  • There are two historical references for the New Orleans nickname “The Big Easy.” The first is written into a
  • 1987 Times-Picayune article
  • , which reported that “The Big Easy” was the name of a music venue (or several venues) where musicians played. Going to play “The Big Easy” became synonymous with going to the city, and the name stuck. The other reference comes from a 1970s columnist named Betty Guillard, who used the phrase to describe the relaxed NOLA lifestyle.
  • Roughly 1.4 million people attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans every year. The population of New Orleans for the rest of the year is only slightly more than a quarter of that, at just over 384,000, according to the United States Census Bureau.
  • 16. There are approximately half a million king cakes sold in New Orleans every year around Mardi Gras, with another 50,000 shipped out to customers in other states. The treats are a part of an Epiphany tradition that has been around since at least the 1300s. The official Mardi Gras colors on the cakes served today (purple, green, and gold) signify justice, faith, and power; the person who finds the plastic baby inside is said to have secured good luck for the coming year (but is also tasked with buying next year’s cake).
  • Canal Street, the iconic road where Mardi Gras revelers throw beads and enjoy the lack of open container laws, was named after a project that never happened. An actual canal was supposed to be dug, connecting the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartrain.
  • The town of Gibsland is home to a Bonnie and Clyde museum, managed by the son of one of the men who killed the infamous duo during a shootout. (Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were killed about eight miles south of Gibsland.)
  • The official state bear of Louisiana, the Louisiana black bear, is endangered. There are about 600 of the bears left, and while some experts say that there is no danger that the bears will be extinct in the next century, most would like to see the population grow substantially.
  • The capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge, supposedly got its name (which translates to "red stick") in 1699. French explorer Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville wrote that he saw a pole covered in animal blood along a Mississippi River bluff. The pole served as a marker signifying the division of land between the Bayougoula and Houmas Indian tribes.
  • The world records for “the most people twerking simultaneously” (406) and the “most volunteer hours worked” (77,019, by one Viola Cocran) were set in Louisiana. These honors were in no way related.

Historical facts about Louisiana

  • Several popular cocktails were invented in New Orleans, including the Sazerac and the Hurricane. The Sazerac’s claim to fame as the first cocktail ever made has been disputed in recent years, but that did not stop the Louisiana House of Representatives from making it the official cocktail of the city.
  • Despite its boozy history, the official state drink of Louisiana is … milk. 
  • A Six Flags amusement park in Louisiana that was abandoned after Hurricane Katrina was used as one of the shooting locations for the blockbuster film Jurassic World (2015). The park was also used to shoot scenes for Killer Joe (2011), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014), Stolen (2012), and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013).
  • Jazz was born in Louisiana, though the exact year is unknown. Some say it originated in the late 19th century, while others argue that the first jazz song recorded was “Livery Stable Blues” by Nick LaRocca and his Original Dixieland Jazz Band.
  • In 1823, the first natural gas field was discovered in Louisiana. It was found at a depth of 400 feet.
  • Louisiana, because of the fertility of its land, was once one of the richest regions in America. Indigo, sugar, and cotton helped make the statesmen some of the richest Americans.
  • Several popular movies were filmed in Houma, Louisiana, including Fight Club, The Butler, The Apostle, Skeleton Key, and Crazy in Alabama. Houma is also the setting for the comic book series Swamp Thing and Suicide Squad.
  • Between 1682 and 1763 Louisiana was a colony of the kingdom of France.
  • In November 1762, France handed over Louisiana and the Isle of Orleans to Spain.
  • Louisiana leads other U.S. states in the production of crayfish and shrimp.
  • Louisiana also made important contributions in the United States space exploration program. The state facilitated the production of the C-5 boosters used in the Apollo moon-landing program.
  • Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties. The state has 64 parishes. Note that Jefferson Parish is the largest parish-based on population while Cameron Parish is the largest by land area.
  • Alexandria: contrary to popular belief, the city was not named after the famous ancient Egyptian center of scholarship. Rather it takes its name from the daughter of the Pennsylvania businessman Alexander Fulton who organized the first settlement here back in 1785.
  • The Louisiana state license plates had the following nickname and phrases appear on them, beginning with: the “Bayou State”, “World’s Fair Plate” and the “Sportsman’s Paradise Plate.”
  • List of the capitals of Louisiana: New Orleans from 1812-1830; Donaldsville from 1830-1831; New Orleans from 1831-1849; Baton Rouge from 1849-1862; New Orleans from 1862-1882; Baton Rouge since 1882.
  • The territory of Louisiana can be divided into three types of regions: lowlands, terrace, and hills.
  • Elvis Presley often went to the Sherveport store of Southern Maid to get some donuts before going to the Louisiana Hayride Show. In fact, he sang the jingle for the brand in 1954. This is the only commercial endorsement he ever did throughout his whole career.
  • At age 13, Dolly Parton recorded her first ever single “Puppy Love” at the Goldband Records studio in Lake Charles. She wrote it two years prior and shows how well she could create relatable songs even at a young age. Parton went on to reach the Billboard #1 in the country charts 26 times.
  • Louisiana is the birthplace of American Jazz.
  • After Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee; Louisiana is the fourth most religious state in the U.S.
  • After New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the capital of Louisiana, is the second largest city in the state.
  • The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, sometimes only the Causeway, is a fixed link composed of two parallel bridges crossing Lake Pontchartrain in southern Louisiana, United States. The longer of the two bridges is 23.83 miles (38.35 km) long. It is the longest continuous bridge over water.
  • Louisiana has the highest alligator population in the U.S. (approximately 2 million.) The highest populations of the alligator occur in coastal marshes. The state harvests less than 2% of the wild population annually.
  • The Louisiana black bear was designated the official state mammal of Louisiana in 1992.
  • In 1861, during the Civil War, Louisiana left the Union. It rejoined the United States in 1868.
  • The world famous “Mardi Gras” is celebrated in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is an ancient custom that originated in southern Europe. It celebrates food and fun just before the 40 days of Lent: a Catholic time of prayer and sacrifice.
  • The Battle of New Orleans, which made Andrew Jackson a national hero, was fought two weeks after the War of 1812 had ended and more than a month before the news of the war’s end had reached Louisiana.
  • Louisiana was named in honor of King Louis XIV.
  • Baton Rouge hosted the 1983 Special Olympics International Summer Games at LSU.
  • Since 1835 the New Orleans & Carrolliton Line is the oldest street railway line still in operation.
  • Saint Martin Parish is home to the world’s largest freshwater river basin, the Atchafalaya Basin; the basin provides nearly every type of outdoor recreational activity imaginable.
  • Breaux Bridge is known as the “Crawfish Capital of the World”.
  • The first American army to have African American officers was the confederate Louisiana Native Guards. The Corps d’Afrique at Port Hudson was sworn into service on September 27, 1862.
  • In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered a simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth is considered an aggravated assault.
  • Between April 17,1862 and May 18, 1864 20 major Civil War battles and engagements were fought on Louisiana soil.
  • In 1803 the United States paid France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory. 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. The lands acquired stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. Thirteen states were carved from the Louisiana Territory. The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States.
  • bayou: BUY-you n. a French name for slow-moving “river”
  • Louisiana’s first territorial governor, William C.C. Claiborne had great admiration for the awkward bird that inhabited the Gulf Coast region. The pelican, rather than let its young starve, would tear at its own flesh to feed them. The Governor’s great respect for the Pelican led him to first use the Pelican symbol on official documents.
  • The Catahoula Leopard Dog, often called the Catahoula Hound, is the official state dog.
  • The City of Sulphur is the 13th largest city in Louisiana and is named for the chemical and mining industry that helped to establish Calcasieu Parish in the late 1800’s.
  • The Town of Walker became a municipality under the State’s Lawrason Act (136 of 1898) on July 9, 1909 as a village.
  • Saint Joseph’s Cemetery, the only known United States cemetery facing north-south is in Rayne.
  • Incorporated in 1813 under the Lawrason Act, Saint Francisville is the second oldest town in Louisiana.
  • Frances Parkinson Keyes, one of America’s best selling authors, lived in Crowley for more than ten years.
  • The golden spike, commemorating the completion of the east-west Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad, was driven at Bossier City on July 12, 1884, by Julia “Pansy” Rule. It was the first such spike driven by a woman.
  • Jim Bowie, the legendary adventurer and hero of the Battle of the Alamo, lived in Opelousas after moving there from Kentucky. Opelousas is the third oldest city in Louisiana.
  • The City of Ponchatoula is the oldest incorporated city in Tangipahoa Parish. Ponchatoula derives its name from the Choctaw Indian language meaning “hair to hang” because of the abundance of Spanish moss on the trees surrounding the area.
  • Mamou bills itself as “The Cajun Music Capital of the World.” Mamou musicians, in particular the musicians who have perform at Fred’s Lounge have been a major force in expanding the audience for Cajun music far beyond Southwest Louisiana.
  • Pineville is home to a one of a kind museum called the Old Town Hall Museum. It is the only museum in the entire state of Louisiana dedicated to municipal government.
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