The beautiful state of Louisiana can be found on the southeastern coast of the US, along the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Louisiana offers an abundance of things to do and places to see. The state and its residents are considered by many to be laid back, entertaining, and always up for having fun. This is highlighted by the many festivals and events Louisiana hosts annually, such as the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Bayou Country Superfest, and the most famous, Mardi Gras.
Thanks to a consistently warm climate, high quality of life, entertainment, accessibility, and a strong economy, Louisiana will continue to grow in popularity as the years roll on. Over the years, the state has become incredibly popular and well-known to many, creating tons of interesting facts about Louisiana.
Interesting Things About Louisiana You Probably Didn’t Know
1. A good place to start when considering the interesting facts about Louisiana would be the size of the state. Louisiana has the 25th largest population out of all 50 states, boasting over 4.6 million people.
2. Louisiana is also the 31st largest state in landmass, with a land area of over 43,000 square miles and a water area of 9,174 square miles.
3. The largest and most well-known city in Louisiana is New Orleans. However, despite having the highest population and boasting the biggest area, New Orleans is not the capital city, that title belongs to Baton Rouge.
4. The Louisiana Territory was originally claimed by Robert Cavelier de La Salle in 1682. Robert named the Territory after King Louis XIV, in French “La Louisiane” translates to “Land of Louis”.
5. Louisiana’s highest point is situated east of Shreveport at Driskill Mountain, at 535 feet above sea level.
6. The state’s lowest point is the iconic city of New Orleans, which is at 8 feet below sea level!
7. The longest bridge over a body of water in the entire world is the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, stretching almost an astonishing 24 miles! The causeway bridge actually has its own website, where you can check for traffic updates and view a live feed of the bridge.
8. Louisiana’s state bird is the Brown Pelican, which can be found on the state seal as well as the state flag. This species of bird, unfortunately, was endangered for 20 years, from 1970 to 1990. However, due to the admirable efforts of conservationists, there are now over 40,000 Brown Pelicans living in Louisiana.
9. You would think with the number of swamps and marshlands at Louisiana’s disposal that many Alligators would take up residence here. You would be right – there are an estimated 2 million Alligators that have taken residency in Louisiana with the addition of 300,000 Alligator farms.
10. The famous annual “Mardi Gras” festival hosted by New Orleans attracts roughly 1.4 million visitors! The population of New Orleans is only just over 384,000, so the city almost quadruples in size during these colorful and extravagant celebrations. These interesting facts about Louisiana were simply too special to leave out!
More Louisiana State Facts
11. Louisiana has adopted many nicknames over the years, the most well-known being the Pelican State, Bayou State, and Creole State.
12. There are 64 counties “parishes” within the state of Louisiana.
13. Over the years, Louisiana has produced many successful people, from famous actors to musicians, let’s check some of them out:
- Reese Witherspoon – Actress (New Orleans)
- Tim McGraw – Singer (Start)
- Terry Bradshaw – American Football Player (Shreveport)
- Louis Armstrong – Jazz Musician (New Orleans)
- Ellen DeGeneres – Actress/Comedian/Television Host (Metairie)
- Tyler Perry – Actor/Filmmaker (New Orleans)
14. Louisiana is actually the only US state to have “parishes” rather than “counties”.
15. Louisiana is the home to a large population of Cajuns, these are descendants of a group named “Acadians” who were expelled from Canada during the 1700s.
16. Each state has a capitol building, where meetings of the United States congress take place throughout the year. Louisiana is home to the largest building, standing at 450 feet high, in Baton Rouge.
17. Louisiana is one of the United States’ top salt producers, and with a plethora of salt mines at its disposal, it’s clear to see why.
18. The first-ever opera to take place in the United States happened in the New Orleans French Quarter in 1796.
19. Louisiana’s oldest town is Natchitoches, discovered, and founded in 1714.
20. The iconic Mississippi River borders and runs through the state.
The next set of Louisiana state facts highlight the more historical moments and achievements that have shaped Louisiana into the state it is today.
21. The state’s early settlers were the Spanish and French, which heavily influenced the food culture within the state.
22. Hurricane Katrina (2005) wiped out some parts of Louisiana during August of that year, with the hurricane eroding 73 square miles of Louisiana’s coastline and causing $100 billion in damages.
23. 100 years after Louisiana became a state, in 1912, the iconic state flag for Louisiana was created.
24. In 1823, the first natural gas field was discovered in Louisiana, it was found at 400 feet deep!
25. Between 1683 and 1763 Louisiana was a French Colony. However, the French handed Louisiana and the Isle of Orleans over to Spain.
26. In 1812 the original territory of Louisiana was split into 13, or at least part of the 13 official states we know today. Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Louisiana all formed the old territory of Louisiana.
27. Due to the state’s rich history, and multiple ownerships from all over the world, there are a few different languages spoken by residents of the state. The main languages are; English, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese.
28. Baton Rouge is the state capital. However, this wasn’t always the case, and other parts of Louisiana used to serve as the state’s capital:
- New Orleans (1812-1830)
- Donaldsonville (1830-1831)
- New Orleans (1831-1849)
- Baton Rouge (1849-1862)
- New Orleans (1862-1882)
- Baton Rouge (1882-Present)
29. At the extremely young age of just 13, Dolly Parton recorded her first-ever single, “Puppy Love” at the Goldband Records studio in Lake Charles.
30. The Conrad Rice Mill, which is in New Iberia is the oldest independent rice mill in the US, opening up in 1912.
31. The maximum speed limit in Louisiana is 75 mph. However, there are different speed limits depending on the road, weather conditions, and the area you are driving in.
Economic Facts About Louisiana
The economic facts about Louisiana aren’t necessarily the biggest talking point about the state. Yes, there are many industries and businesses that are hugely successful and contribute in a tremendous way to the state’s rather large economy, but Louisiana falls short in a lot of economic rankings when compared with other states.
Louisiana might not have booming healthcare, education, or economic systems, but one thing the state does have is a good, hardworking workforce which translates to the state’s strong GDP and progressive industries. Let’s dive into some of the economic facts about Louisiana from a business perspective to find out what strengths and weaknesses this state has.
32. Louisiana’s GDP was over $260 billion in 2019 slightly higher than the U.S. national average.
33. Louisiana’s GDP per capita is over $51,000.
34. The most expensive city to live in Louisiana is New Orleans, with an average house price of $451,249.
35. There are over 457,000 Small Businesses operating out of Louisiana.
36. Of those small businesses, over 905,000 have employees.
37. Over 345,000 small businesses in Louisiana have no employees.
38. Small businesses in Louisiana account for approximately 8,760 net new jobs per year.
39. Louisiana’s sales tax rate is between 4.45%-11.45% depending on where you are located within the state.
40. Louisiana’s income tax rate is between 2%-6% depending on your income, and the corporate income tax rate in Louisiana ranges between 4%-8%.
41. The Louisiana minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.
42. Located in Southern Louisiana, you will find the bustling and charismatic city of Lafayette, Louisiana. The city is the fourth largest in the state, boasting a population of 126,000+, and resides in an area named Acadiana, which is famous for its Cajun cuisine, often being referred to as the “Cajun Heartland”. The area of south Louisiana has been named the unofficial Cajun Capitol of the south!
43. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. that has political “Parish” subdivisions, which are in replacement of counties. The state has been divided into 64 parishes, by definition, a parish is a small administrative district, which would usually have its own church and priest.
44. The official Louisiana state flower is the Magnolia, which has been the state flower since 1900. The adoption of this as the flower representing the state was due to the sheer plethora of Magnolias within the state.
45. Every U.S. state is involved in the history of Native America, and Louisiana is no different, here are the Native American tribes that used to reside within the state: the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe of Louisiana.
These economic facts about Louisiana may not be the most impressive, but just because the state may rank lower than others when comparing economies and economic opportunities, it doesn’t mean that there are no redeeming qualities. Louisiana’s economy is generally moving in the right direction and people still love Louisiana and want to move there.