Louisiana, state located in the S Central United States. It is bounded by Mississippi, with the Mississippi River forming about half of the border (E), the Gulf of Mexico (S), Texas (W), and Arkansas (N).
Area: 48,523 sq mi (125,675 sq km).
Pop.: (2000) 4,468,976, a 5.9% increase since the 1990 census.
Capital: Baton Rouge.
Largest city: New Orleans.
Motto: Union, Justice and Confidence.
State bird: Eastern brown pelican.
State flower: Magnolia.
State tree: Cypress.
Louisiana's climate (subtropical in the south and temperate in the north) and rich alluvial soil make the state one of the nation's leading producers of sweet potatoes, rice, and sugarcane. Other major commodities are soybeans, cotton, and dairy products, and strawberries, corn, hay, pecans, and truck vegetables are produced in quantity. Fishing is a major industry; shrimp, menhaden, and oysters are principal catches. Louisiana is a leading fur-trapping state; its marshes (7,409 sq mi/19,189 sq km of the state's area is underwater) supply most of the country's muskrat furs. Pelts are also obtained from mink, nutria, coypus, opossums, otter, and raccoon.
A variety of recreational facilities makes the state an excellent vacationland; some of its lakes (e.g., Pontchartrain) have been highly developed as resort areas, and there is superb hunting and fishing throughout much of the region.
Tourism is increasingly important to the state economy; New Orleans is the major attraction with its history, nightlife, and Old World charm. The largest city in Louisiana, it is especially noted for its picturesque French quarter, which has many celebrated restaurants, and for the Mardi Gras perhaps the most famous festival in the United States held annually since 1838.
*Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition, Copyright (c) 2003.