Louisiana Mississippi Boat

29 Luscious Facts About Louisiana

Louisiana is one of the most culturally fascinating US states. This southern region is famous for being the birthplace of jazz music and is well known for it Mardi Gras and carnival scene, spicy Creole food, and for playing host to the Mississippi River.

No wonder so many people travel to New Orleans! Even if you’ve already visited this state before, here are a few fun facts about Louisiana which may still surprise you.

1. Who named the state?

Louisiana was named after King Louis XIV of France.

2. Louisiana has a few different neighbors.

Louisiana is bordered by Arkansas to the north, Mexico to the south, Texas to the west and Missisippi to the east.

3. What’s the capital of Louisiana?

The capital of the state is Baton Rouge.

The Louisiana State Flag

The Louisiana State Flag

4. Millions of people call the state home.

In 2019 the population of Louisiana was 4.649 million.

5. Pick a tune!

Louisiana has adopted two state songs. They are ’Give Me Louisiana’ and ‘You Are My Sunshine’.

6. It’s snapper country.

Alligators roam throughout the wild in Louisiana, though they are also ‘farmed’.

7. The bears here look a bit strange.

Black Bears of a unique type live throughout Louisiana. They have broader snouts, bigger skulls, and longer molar teeth than most.

These unique bears were on the endangered species list as far back as 1992,after it was calculated 80% of the bears’ habitats had been changed or destroyed in the 1980s. They were removed from the endangered list by 2016.

8. There’s a record-setting bridge.

At 24 miles long, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the longest ‘bridge’ over a stretch of water on Earth.

9. D’you like jazz?

New Orleans has worldwide fame as the ‘Home of Jazz’. Many famous Jazz musicians have called the area home, including legendary trumpet player and singer Louis Armstrong.

Louis Armstrong's New Orleans band, Fate Marable

Louis Armstrong’s New Orleans band, Fate Marable

10. In fact, Satchmo was born there.

Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans on August 4th, 1901.

11. The US paid good money for the state.

America ‘bought’ Louisiana from France in 1803. It cost them $15 million!

12. Take a big gulp!

Louisiana is also known to many as the ‘Pelican’ state.

Pelican fishing next to a no fishing notice in Sydney

13. It went for nine years before getting statehood.

Louisiana became a state in 1812. Prior to that, it was simply known as ‘Orleans Territory’.

14. They named a transport hub after Satchmo.

To honor what would have been Louis Armstrong’s 100th birthday, the Moisant Field Airport was renamed the ‘Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport’.

15. Its river is very famous.

The Mississippi River runs 2,350 miles from Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico. Famous for its paddle boats, the River is a common sight in many films, and is featured in plenty of songs.

traditional Mississippi River boat

16. The state has many different airports.

Louisiana has four international airports, 70 public airports, 221 heliports, 174 private airports, 17 ultralight bases and ten seaplane bases!

17. Not all Louisiana denizens were good people.

Lee Harvey Oswald, most famous as the assassin of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, was born in New Orleans in 1939.

An ex US Marine, Oswald was imprisoned after shooting the President and later shot to death by Jack Ruby in a Dallas County Jail.

18. Visitors flock for carnival.

The population of New Orleans is approximately 384,000, but this swells to just under 1.5 million people when Mardi Gras celebrations take place each year!

Louisiana Mardi Gras

19. The state has played a part in the space race.

Louisiana has a long history of pioneering work for space exploration. The Michoud Assembly Facility is on an 832 acre site, and it’s where the Saturn V rocket was built.

20. Mardi Gras has religious beginnings.

The words ‘Mardi Gras’ are French. Directly translated they mean ‘Tuesday Fat’. In France, this is a significant day, falling just before Ash Wednesday and therefore kicking off Lent in the Christian calendar.

21. It’s been celebrated for centuries.

The first celebration of Mardi Gras in the US was held on a piece of land south of New Orleans at the insistence of an explorer, Jean Baptiste, in 1699.

an alligator

an alligator

22. Not a job we fancy!

Approximately 300,000 are farmed in Louisiana annually. They are then sold as meat or for their skins.

23. Some Louisiana alligators are seriously old.

In the wild, alligators usually live for between 30 and 40 years, but have been known to reach 70! There are some pensioner alligators out there somewhere in the swamplands!

24. And yes, some are massive.

A record breaking alligator in Louisiana reached 19 feet 2 inches in length!

Cajun Gumbo

Cajun Gumbo

25. The state is known for its creative menus.

Louisiana is famous for a wide range of culinary delights, having been influenced by several sources. A ‘muffuletta’ is a large round sandwich containing Italian salami and ham, garlic, cheese, and salad. They were invented in New Orleans’ French quarter.

Gumbo is the official dish of Louisiana. Cajun-style Gumbo, made with fish or meat mixed with spices, is usually not so highly spiced as the more exotic Creole-style gumbo. This variation really ups the ante when it comes to tomatoes and peppers!

26. Pralines are a big deal here.

In the 1700s, French nuns brought a recipe for pralines to Louisiana. These are sweet treats with a high sugar content and based around the sweet crunch of pecan nuts. This treat is still widely enjoyed to this day, even all over the world!

27. Wine and jazz go hand in hand.

There are several vineyards in Louisiana. For example, John Seaborn founded the Pontchartrain vineyard in 1991.

Annual ‘Jazz ‘n’ vines’ concerts are held at the Pontchartrain vineyard. The popular events here bring together local wine as well as the fantastic music of New Orleans!

Drone shot of New Orleans city, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

28. However, they enjoy more than just wine as a tipple.

In the 1930s, Antoine Peychaud had an apothecary in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Experimenting with the bitters he made, he is now accredited with inventing the ‘Sazerac’.

This world-famous cocktail is made from Cognac, Absinthe, bitters, and lemon peel. It’s thought to be the first alcoholic cocktail ever created – another brilliant first for Louisiana!

29. The state has been immortalized in animation.

Disney animation brought Louisiana to the big screen in 2009 via ‘The Princess and The Frog’. This new take on ‘The Frog Prince’ features trumpet-playing alligators, and a New Orleans-inspired soundtrack.

saxophones playing jazz music

FAQs about Louisiana

Do people speak French in Louisiana?

Yes - though only around 150,000 people speak it natively.

What are some common Louisiana last names?

Many names in Louisiana are French in origin - such as Melancon, Benoit, and Cormier.

Is Louisiana bad to live in?

Not overall - but the city of Donaldsonville was once ranked as one of the worst to live in across the US!

Do you know any fun facts about Louisiana? Share them in the comments below!

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This page was last modified on June 6, 2024. Suggest an edit

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