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Description of Louisiana, US
Louisiana is home to a vast array of ethnic groups. They consist of the original Indian occupants as well as the descendants of numerous settlers, including the French, Spanish, English, German, Acadians, West Indians, Africans, Irish, and Italians, as well as nearly every other nationality on earth.
Spanish and Acadians soon joined the original French colonists, followed by French aristocracy fleeing slave revolts in the West Indies or the horrors of the French Revolution. As part of its French heritage, Louisiana's counties are known as "parishes."
Early French and Spanish settlers affected Louisiana's judicial system. Contrary to popular perception, it is not true that the Louisiana Civil Code derives from or is derived from the Napoleonic Code. The Napoleonic Code was not enacted until 1804, one year after the Louisiana Purchase, despite its influence on Louisiana law. Spanish may be the primary source of Louisiana's legal system. Louisiana's resulting "civil law" system differs from the "common law" systems of the other 49 states.
Ironically, the Spanish constructed many of the colonial buildings that still stand in the "French Quarter" of New Orleans, and Spanish is still spoken in some neighborhoods, especially in St. Bernard Parish, which is located below New Orleans. The Company of the West (which held the French royal charter for the establishment of Louisiana) recruited hundreds of German families in 1719, and these hardy pioneers lived upriver from New Orleans along a portion of the Mississippi River that is today known as Cote des Allemands ("German Coast"). The English planters and military held the parishes north of Lake Pontchartrain (the sixth largest lake in the United States) and east of the Mississippi River during the 1700s. By conquering British forts at Manchac and Baton Rouge in 1779, Bernardo de Galvez, the Spanish governor of Louisiana and a Revolutionary War friend of the United States, thwarted the establishment of a British stronghold in the Mississippi Valley. A number of years later, in 1810, residents of the "Florida Parishes" revolted against Spanish control in the region. They founded the West Florida Republic, which experienced brief independence before becoming a part of the American territory obtained from France in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.
Other countries that have settled in Louisiana include the Yugoslavians, who harvested oysters successfully along the Gulf Coast, and the Hungarians, who became strawberry and other crop farmers in the Albany region. Prior to the Civil War, free blacks accumulated some of Louisiana's largest property holdings, and blacks have made significant contributions to Jazz and Louisiana cuisine in particular. And many of Louisiana's annual festivals celebrate particular ethnic contributions to this unique state's "cultural gumbo."
Geographical description of Louisiana
Louisiana's western border is Texas, its northern border is Arkansas, its eastern border is Mississippi, and its southern border is the Gulf of Mexico. The state can be divided into two sections: the northern uplands (North Louisiana) and the coastal alluvial (the Central Louisiana, Acadiana, Florida Parishes, and Greater New Orleans regions). The alluvial region consists of approximately 12,350 square miles of low swamp lands, coastal marshlands and beaches, and barrier islands (32,000 km2). This region is situated primarily along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, which traverses the state from north to south and empties into the Gulf of Mexico; also within the state are the Red River, the Ouachita River and its tributaries, and other minor streams (some of which are called bayous).
Along the Mississippi, the alluvial region is 10–60 miles (15–100 km) wide, while along the other rivers, the alluvial region is on average 10 miles (15 km) wide. The Mississippi River flows along a ridge formed by its natural deposits (known as a levee), from which the land slopes at an average rate of six feet per mile (three meters per kilometer) toward a river beyond. The alluvial lands along other streams exhibit comparable characteristics.
The higher and contiguous hilllands of the state's north and northwest cover an area of over 50,000 square miles (65,000 km2). They consist of grasslands and forests. The elevations vary from 10 feet (3 meters) at the coast and swamplands to 50–60 feet (15–18 meters) at the prairie and alluvial lands. Driskill Mountain, the state's highest elevation at only 535 feet (163 meters) above sea level, is located amid the uplands and hills. The state lost 1,800 square miles between 1932 and 2010 owing to sea level rise and erosion. The Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) spends around $1 billion annually in federal and state monies to assist protect and shoreline and land in Louisiana.
In addition to the named waterways, there are the Sabine, which forms the western boundary, and the Pearl, which forms the eastern boundary, as well as the Calcasieu, the Mermentau, the Vermilion, Bayou Teche, the Atchafalaya, the Boeuf, Bayou Lafourche, the Courtableau River, Bayou D'Arbonne, the Macon River, the Tensas, Amite River, the Tchefuncte, the Tickfaw
The state also has political control over the approximately 3-mile-wide (4.8-kilometer-wide) piece of subsea land on the Gulf of Mexico's inner continental shelf. Due to a peculiarity of the political geography of the United States, this is significantly less than the 9-mile-wide (14-kilometer-wide) jurisdictions of neighboring states Texas and Florida, which, like Louisiana, have broad Gulf coastlines.
The southern shore of Louisiana in the United States is one of the world's most rapidly disappearing regions. This is mostly the outcome of poor human coastal management. When spring floods from the Mississippi River contributed sediment and fostered marsh vegetation, the land once expanded; it is now contracting. There are a variety of causes.
Artificial levees prevent spring flooding from bringing fresh water and silt to marshes. The widespread logging of swamps has left canals and ditches that allow salt water to migrate inland. The canals constructed for the oil and gas industry allow storms to transport seawater inland, where it damages marshes and swamps. Sea level rise has compounded the problem. Researchers estimate that the state loses an area equivalent to thirty football fields per day. There are other plans to save coastal areas by decreasing human damage, such as recreating Mississippi floods. Without such repair, the disappearance of coastal villages would continue. And as the communities vanish, an increasing number of individuals leave the region. Since coastal wetland ecosystems sustain an economically significant coastal fishing, wetland loss has a negative impact on this economy.
The "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana is the greatest hypoxic zone in the United States. In 2017, it was the largest ever recorded, measuring 22,080 square kilometers.
Economy of Louisiana
In the 1700s and 1800s, cotton was the most important crop in the northern portion of the state, while sugarcane was the most important crop in the southern portion. The timber industry began to expand in the late 1800s and remained a significant contributor to the state's economy well into the 21st century.
The Second World War accelerated the industrialization of Louisiana to the extent that the manufacturing workforce rose dramatically. Extraction of petroleum and natural gas also expanded rapidly. Between 1947 and 1957, chemical industry flourished on the back of the state's abundant hydrocarbons, sulfur, salt, and water resources, until the first major shift to offshore petroleum extraction. Later in the 20th century, the expansion of service opportunities, particularly in tourism, retail, and government, aided in establishing the service industry as the largest employer in the state. Despite these advancements, Louisiana's economic growth has lagged far behind the national average and has been slower than that of most other states.