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The Louisiana Portal

St. Louis Cathedral, New Orleans

The state of Louisiana is located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge, and its largest city is New Orleans. As of the 2010 Census the New Orleans population was 343,800, an increase of 88,800 people since the Census Bureau's count in July 2006. The population within the city limits of Baton Rouge was 224,000 pre-Katrina and according to the Census Bureau the population increased to about 232,000 in the year following Katrina. Other data suggest that even with its many post-Katrina problems, New Orleans is repopulating faster than Baton Rouge.

Louisiana is the only state that is divided into parishes; most other states are divided into counties. The largest parish by population is Jefferson Parish and largest by area is Terrebonne Parish ). The New Orleans metropolitan area is Louisiana's largest metropolitan area.

Louisiana has a unique multicultural and multilingual heritage. Originally part of New France, Louisiana is home to many speakers of Louisiana French and Louisiana Creole French. African American and Franco-African, and Acadian, French / French Canadian form the two largest groups of ancestry in Louisiana's population. (read more . . . )

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A bowl of shrimp gumbo

Gumbo is a spicy, hearty stew or soup, found typically on the Gulf of Mexico in the United States,in the state of Louisiana, in which it is native to that state. It is also found in other areas such as, Southeast Texas, southern Mississippi and the Lowcountry around Charleston, South Carolina, and down past Brunswick, Georgia due to it being brought from Louisiana to those areas. It is eaten year round, but is usually found in kitchens more during the colder months. This is due to the warmness and heartiness it brings to the body in the winter months, like hot soups and stews in many cold areas.

Gumbo usually consists of shellfish, and sausage along with the Holy Trinity of vegetables for a seafood Gumbo and is usually made in large batches. A chicken and Sausage Gumbo would contain just that with the "Trinity" of vegetables. Tomatoes and/or tomato paste is usually added to Seafood Gumbo in Southeast Louisiana, but never to Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. These Gumbos from Southeast Louisiana are typically known as "Creole" Gumbos, meaning "from the City Of New Orleans." Cajun Gumbos of South Louisiana never contain tomatoes in any variety. Left-over Gumbo can be frozen for later use, but that is not common. Usually it will stay on the back burner of a stove, and eaten on all day. If some is left over, it is usually refrigerated until it is consumed entirely. Rice is made fresh daily. The rice is prepared separately from the stew, and the two are mixed only in the serving bowl.

The gumbo broth/gravy can contain seafood (typically crab and shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico, or fowl (usually duck, quail, chicken), and other meats, used as seasoning; tasso (Cajun smoked pork), Cajun-style andouille (smoked sausage), and other smoked or preserved meats. Crawfish is rarely used, if used at all for this dish. A traditional lenten variety called Gumbo Z'Herbes pronounced like "Gumbo Zab," Zab sounding like the word jab. From the French Gumbo Aux Herbes), it is essentially a gumbo of smothered greens thickened with roux. (read more . . .)

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USS Kidd (DD-661) Baton Rouge.jpg
Credit: Christopherlin.
The USS Kidd docked in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as seen from the east bank of the Mississippi River.

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James Houston Davis, better known as Jimmie Davis, was a noted singer of both sacred and popular songs who served two nonconsecutive terms as a Democratic governor of Louisiana. Davis was considered to have been part of the anti-Long faction though Governor Earl Kemp Long endorsed him in the pivotal 1960 runoff election.

Davis became a commercially successful singer of rural music before he entered politics. His early work was in the style of early country music luminary Jimmie Rodgers, and he was also known for recording raunchy blues tunes like "Red Nightgown Blues." Some of these records included slide guitar accompaniment by black bluesman Oscar Woods.

He is associated with several popular songs, most notably "You Are My Sunshine," which was designated an official state song of Louisiana in 1977. He claimed that he wrote the song while attending graduate school at LSU, but research indicates he bought it from another performer Paul Rice, who had recorded it with his brother Hoke, who recorded together as the Rice Brothers under Paul Rice's name. The practice of buying songs from their composers was a common practice during the 1930s through the 1960s. Some writers in need of cash often sold tunes to others.

Davis was elected as the city's Democratic public safety commissioner. (At the time, Shreveport had a commission form of government. In the 1970s, the city switched to the mayor-council format.) Davis was elected in 1942 to the Louisiana Public Service Commission but left the rate-making body, which meets in Baton Rouge, two years later to become governor. (read more . . . )

Did you know...

  • ...that the mayor of tiny Logansport, Louisiana, worked for 16 years to keep a new bridge over the Sabine River a high priority?
  • ...More than one-half of the species of birds in North America are resident in Louisiana or spend a portion of their migration there?
  • ...Louisiana has the greatest concentration of crude oil refineries, natural gas processing plants and petrochemical production facilities in the Western Hemisphere?
  • ...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 Great Britain?
  • ...The town of Jean Lafitte was once a hideaway for pirates?
  • ...Because of its many bays and sounds, Louisiana has the longest coastline (15,000 miles) of any state and 41 percent of the nation's wetlands?
  • ...Louisiana is the nation's largest handler of grain for export to world markets and that more than 40 percent of the U.S. grain exports move through Louisiana ports?
  • ...The site of the oldest known Louisiana civilization is Poverty Point in West Carroll Parish, where an Indian village existed 2,700 years ago?
  • ...Louisiana has 2,482 islands, covering nearly 1,300,000 acres (5,300 km2)?
  • ...The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, with a length of 23.87 miles (38.42 km), is the world's longest bridge built entirely over water?
  • ...Baton Rouge was the site of the only battle fought outside of the original 13 colonies during the American Revolution?
  • ...Louisiana produces more furs (1.3 million pelts a year) than any other state?


Flag of the State of Louisiana You are invited to participate in WikiProject Louisiana, a WikiProject dedicated to developing and improving articles about Louisiana.

State symbols

Flower Magnolia Magnolia

Brown Pelican

Motto Union, justice, and confidence
Nickname The Pelican State
Tree Bald Cypress
Bird Brown Pelican

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Alexandria is a city in Louisiana and the parish seat of Rapides Parish. It lies on the south bank of the Red River in almost the exact geographic center of the state. It is the principal city of the Alexandria metropolitan area (population 147,000) which encompasses all of Rapides and Grant Parishes. The 2007 population estimate for the city of Alexandria was 49,600.

The area of Alexandria, located along the Red River, was originally home to a community supporting activities of the adjacent Spanish outpost of Post du Rapides. The area developed as a vibrant, yet sometimes debaucherous, assemblage of traders and merchants in the agricultural lands bordering the mostly unsettled areas to the north, and providing a link to from the south to the El Camino Real and then larger settlement of Natchitoches. Alexander Fulton, a Pennsylvania businessman, received a land grant from Spain in 1785, and the first organized settlement was made at that time. In 1805, Fulton and business partner Thomas Harris Maddox laid out the town plan and named the town after Fulton's infant daughter who died around that time. It was first incorporated as a town in 1818 and received a city charter in 1882. (read more . . .)

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