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Louisiana History

Louisiana's first inhabitants were American Indians of the Atakapa, Opelousa, Coushata, Chitimacha, Houma, Tunica, Natchez, and Koroa people....The French-Canadian explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle in 1682 erected a cross at the mouth of the Mississippi River after descending the river from the Great Lakes. He named the region after Louis XIV, and claimed it for France....In 1718 New Orleans was founded and named after Phillippe Duc d'Orleans. The St Louis Cathedral was built in the same year, and in 1723 New Orleans became the capital of the French colony of Louisiana. Sugar cane was introduced during the 1750s and an early plantation system established, with large numbers of Africans arriving in the state to work as slaves....Cotton and sugar dominated agriculture in the 19th century, and New Orleans was one of the USA's leading ports, serving as the outlet for the Cotton Belt. Louisiana seceded from the Union in 1861 and, after a brief period as a republic, joined the Confederacy....In 1824 the state adopted a Civil Code based on French Napoleonic and Roman models, which is unique in the USA. Baton Rouge became the state capital in 1849....The state's nickname is a tribute to the official state bird, the brown pelican, which is native to Louisiana....The state is associated with the development of jazz and blues; the music industry contributes to the economy and is a major tourist attraction.

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The Pelican State

  • The St. Louis Cathedral on Jackson Squar
  • Sugar Cane Field
  • An Absolute Massacre: The New Orleans Race Riot of July 30, 1866
    James G. Hollandsworth Jr.'s An Absolute Massacre traces the events leading up to and through the New Orleans "race riot" of 1866. In this well-written and convincing account, Hollandsworth argues that the "riot" was really an organized... more
    On the night of September 3, 1930, a group of law-enforcement officials--members of the newly formed Louisiana Bureau of Criminal Identification--stormed into a room at Shreveport's Gardner Hotel, where a man named Sam Irby was... more
  • Jazzed
    Just like a small, undiscovered jazz band inviting a star trumpeter and virtuoso trombonist to the fold, New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park has recently added two new downtown venues. Finally, it seems, the park now has the chops to... more
  • Jefferson, Napoleon, and the Louisiana Purchase
    ". . . The determination of Jefferson to acquire the port of New Orleans coincided with Napoleon's decision to rid himself of France's colonial responsibilities for the Louisiana Territory, altering the course of American history and... more
  • La C¿te des Allemandes: 300 Years of Germans in Louisiana
    Mardi Gras, New Orleans, fleurs-de-lis, and jambalaya rather than German settlers, German culture or German food are the images we associate with the state of Louisiana. Yet German-speaking peoples were among the very first settlers of... more
  • Reconstructing the American South - After Katrina
    THE CHAOS THAT STRUCK THE GULF COAST in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane season has created a stir among American historians. Some have looked back to the trail of devastation left by other major hurricanes in the twentieth century, and... more
  • La Salle, Sieur de
    (1643–1687). The father of the great Louisiana Territory was the French explorer René Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle. He was the first to voyage down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of this exploration France... more
  • The Spirit of New Orleans
    On the misty morning of Jan. 8, 1815, soldiers of the U.S. 7th Infantry Regiment-a motley band of laborers, fanners, artisans and frontiersmen-faced off against orderly ranks of veteran British Redcoats at the Battle of New Orleans. Just... more


  • A cross roads store, bar, "juke joint," and... ton plantation area, Melrose, La.
  • New Orleans Celebrates the Louisiana Purchase Bicentennial
  • Musicians walk past a mural as they part
  • Home Lesson
  • The Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 A... : "The Floods of 1927 in the Miss


  • La Salle Petitions the King for Permission... er's Magazine, 1905 (colour litho)
  • "In the name of the…King of France…I...do now take possession of this country of Louisiana." To the Gulf!
    As they continued south, the explorers discovered that the Mississippi River split into three branches. La Salle entered one branch, while two other explorers each took a different route. They found that all three branches of the... more