Louisiana: Did you know?
Louisiana’s highest elevation is Driskill Mountain in Bienville Parish, which peaks at 535 feet above sea level. Louisiana’s lowest elevation is in New Orleans, at 8 feet below sea level.
Louisiana’s barrier islands combine to form approximately 20,000 square miles.
Louisiana has over 4,000 miles of navigable waterways, and 3,260 square miles of river surfaces, land-locked bays and inland lakes.
In Louisiana, local governmental units, known elsewhere as counties, are called parishes. Originally they were church units set up by the Spanish provisional governor of Louisiana in 1669. Louisiana has 64 parishes.
Louisiana has had 11 constitutions since entering the Union.
Louisiana’s government has operated from five different capital cities throughout its history: New Orleans, Donaldsonville, Opelousas, Shreveport and Baton Rouge.
The Louisiana State Capitol building is 450 feet in height – the tallest state capitol building in the U.S.
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, with a length of 23.87 miles, is America’s longest bridge built entirely over water.
The Mississippi River exits the U.S. below New Orleans into the Gulf of Mexico. It is 2,350 miles long and it drains 41 percent of the United States and three Canadian provinces – 1,245 million square miles. That drainage basin is the fourth largest in the world, exceeded only by the watersheds of the Amazon, Congo and Nile rivers.
The exit point of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya River into the Gulf of Mexico is one of the world’s only actively-growing river delta ecosystems.
The site of one of the oldest known North American civilizations is Poverty
Point in West Carroll Parish, near Monroe, where an Indian village existed 3,500 years ago.
Baton Rouge was the site of the only battle fought outside of the original 13 colonies during the American Revolution. On September 21, 1779, forces friendly to the American side captured Baton Rouge from the British.
P.B.S. Pinchback, the nation’s first black governor, was Louisiana’s governor during the Reconstruction Period following the American Civil War.
New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz music. Southwest Louisiana’s “Cajun Prairie” is the indigenous home to Cajun and zydeco music.
The first opera performed in America was in New Orleans in 1796.
The ascension of Elvis Presley’s musical career began at the “Louisiana Hayride,” a recurring radio-broadcast concert series at Shreveport’s downtown Municipal Auditorium from the 1940s to the 1960s. Presley’s first Hayride performance was in 1954.
Other musical notables who began their careers at the Louisiana Hayride include Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, George Jones, Faron Young, Webb Pierce and Kitty Wells.
Cuisine that is indigenous to Louisiana includes crawfish (a tiny, freshwater shellfish resembling a miniature lobster); gumbo (a hearty soup thickened with skillet-browned oil and flour, or a “roux”); and jambalaya (a rice and meat dish similar to a Spanish paella).
Louisiana is one of the largest fur producers in the U.S. Species harvested annually include beaver, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, mink, muskrat, nutria, opossum, raccoon, red fox and river otter.
Avery Island’s salt mine was discovered in 1862, making it the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
Louisiana is the largest producer of oysters in the U.S. Approximately 13 million pounds of oysters are harvested annually, generating an economic impact of $318 million.
Louisiana leads the nation in the production of crawfish with over 110 million pounds of crawfish per year. While a significant portion of the harvest is from the wild, the majority comes from an extensive aquaculture farming system which involves some 135,000 acres of ponds throughout the state.
Including offshore production on the Outer Continental Shelf, Louisiana is number one in crude oil production and number two in natural gas production among U.S. states. 88 percent of U.S. offshore rigs are off Louisiana’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico, and the state’s 19 active refineries account for 17 percent of total U.S. refining capacity.
“Give Me Louisiana”
Lyrics and music by Doralice Fontane, arranged by Dr. John Croom
Give me Louisiana,
The State where I was born
The State of snowy cotton,
The best I’ve ever known;
A State of sweet magnolias,
And Creole melodies.
Oh give me Louisiana,
The State where I was born
Oh what sweet old mem’ries
The mossy old oaks bring.
It brings us the story
of our Evangeline.
A State of old tradition,
of old plantation days
Makes good ole Louisiana
The sweetest of all States
“You Are My Sunshine”
Lyrics and music by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell
The other night, dear
As I lay sleeping
I dreamed I held you in my arms
When I awoke, dear
I was mistaken
And I hung my head and cried;
You are my sunshine
My only sunshine
You make me happy
When skies are grey
You’ll never know dear
How much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away.