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Famous Louisianians

  • Louis Armstrong
    Musician, New Orleans
  • Geoffrey Beene
    Fashion designer, Haynesville
  • Truman Capote
    Writer, New Orleans
  • Kitty Carlisle
    Singer, actress, New Orleans
  • Van Cliburn concert
    Pianist, Shreveport
  • Michael De Bakey
    Heart surgeon, Lake Charles
  • Fats Domino
    Musician, New Orleans
  • Louis Moreau Gottschalk
    Pianist, composer, New Orleans
  • Bryant Gumbel
    TV newscaster, New Orleans
  • Lillian Hellman
    Playwright, New Orleans
  • Al Hirt
    Trumpeter, New Orleans
  • Mahalia Jackson
    Gospel singer, New Orleans
  • Dorothy Lamour
    Actress, New Orleans
  • Jerry Lee Lewis
    Singer, Ferriday
  • Huey P. Long
    Politician, Winnfield
  • Wynton Marsalis
    Musician, New Orleans
  • Jelly Roll Morton
    Jazz musician, composer, New Orleans
  • Huey Newton
    Black activist, New Orleans
  • Paul Prudhomme
    Chef, Opelousas
  • Cokie Roberts
    Journalist, New Orleans
  • Kordell Stewart
    Football player, Marrero
  • Ray Walston
    Actor, New Orleans
  • Edward Douglas White
    Jurist, Lafourche Parish

50 Louisiana Firsts, Facts, and Trivia

  • The world famous "Mardi Gras" is celebrated in New Orleans. Mardi Gras is an ancient custom that originated in southern Europe. It celebrates food and fun just before the 40 days of Lent: a Catholic time of prayer and sacrifice.
  • The Battle of New Orleans, which made Andrew Jackson a national hero, was fought two weeks after the War of 1812 had ended and more than a month before the news of the war's end had reached Louisiana.
  • Louisiana was named in honor of King Louis XIV.
  • Baton Rouge hosted the 1983 Special Olympics International Summer Games at LSU.
  • Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the United States; the building is 450 feet tall with 34 floors.
  • Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.
  • Louisiana is the only state with a large population of Cajuns, descendants of the Acadians who were driven out of Canada in the 1700s because they wouldn't pledge allegiance to the King of England.
  • Metairie is home to the longest bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain causeway. The causeway connects Metairie with St. Tammany Parish on the North Shore. The causeway is 24 miles long.
  • Louisiana is the only state that still refers to the Napoleonic Code in its state law.
  • Since 1835 the New Orleans & Carrolliton Line is the oldest street railway line still in operation.
  • Saint Martin Parish is home to the world's largest freshwater river basin, the Atchafalaya Basin; the basin provides nearly every type of outdoor recreational activity imaginable.
  • Breaux Bridge is known as the "Crawfish Capital of the World".
  • The first American army to have African American officers was the confederate Louisiana Native Guards. The Corps d'Afrique at Port Hudson was sworn into service on September 27, 1862.
  • In Louisiana, biting someone with your natural teeth is considered a simple assault, but biting someone with your false teeth is considered an aggravated assault.
  • The Saint Charles streetcar line in New Orleans and the San Francisco, California cable cars are the nation's only mobile national monuments
  • Jennings is called the "Garden Spot of Louisiana" for it's rich and productive farmland. Jennings sobriquet {nickname} became a "Northern Town on Southern Soil".
  • Baton Rouge's flag is a field of crimson representing the great Indian nations that once inhabited the area.
    Money Magazine has rated Terrebonne Parish, in the heart of Cajun Country the best place to live in Louisiana for 3 years in a row.
  • In 1718 The French found New Orleans and marked "Cannes Brulee" on maps upriver in the area known today as the City of Kenner. French for "Burnt Canes", Cannes Brulee was a name given by explorers who observed natives burning cane to drive out wild game.
  • Between April 17,1862 and May 18, 1864 20 major Civil War battles and engagements were fought on Louisiana soil.
  • In 1803 the United States paid France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory. 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River. The lands acquired stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border. Thirteen states were carved from the Louisiana Territory. The Louisiana Purchase nearly doubled the size of the United States.
  • Louisiana's first territorial governor, William C.C. Claiborne had great admiration for the awkward bird that inhabited the Gulf Coast region. The pelican, rather than let its young starve, would tear at its own flesh to feed them. The Governor's great respect for the Pelican led him to first use the Pelican symbol on official documents.
  • The Catahoula Leopard Dog, often called the Catahoula Hound, is the official state dog.
  • The City of Sulphur is the 13th largest city in Louisiana and is named for the chemical and mining industry that helped to establish Calcasieu Parish in the late 1800's.
  • The Town of Walker became a municipality under the State's Lawrason Act (136 of 1898) on July 9, 1909 as a village.
  • Saint Joseph's Cemetery, the only known United States cemetery facing north-south is in Rayne.
  • Incorporated in 1813 under the Lawrason Act, Saint Francisville is the second oldest town in Louisiana.
  • The Union Cottonseed Oil Mill of West Monroe was in the planning stages as early as 1883. By 1887, it provided the area with many jobs for the laborers of the area. The Union Oil Mill is the oldest industry in Ouachita Parish.
  • French speaking Acadians in the mid-1700s settled the Lafayette Parish region of south Louisiana. The Acadians were joined by another group of settlers called Creoles, descendants of African, West Indian, and European pioneers. At the time of the migration, Louisiana was under Spanish rule and authorities welcomed the new settlers.
  • The city of Kaplan is referred to as "The Most Cajun place on earth".
  • The town of Jean Lafitte was once a hideaway for pirates.
  • Winnsboro, the "Stars and Stripes Capital of Louisiana", is one of the most patriotic cities in America. On Memorial Day, July 4th, Veteran's Day, Labor Day, and other special occasions, approximately 350 American flags fly proudly along highway 15.
  • The name "Bogalusa" is derived from the Indian named creek "Bogue Lusa", which flows through the city.
  • Frances Parkinson Keyes, one of America's best selling authors, lived in Crowley for more than ten years.
  • The golden spike, commemorating the completion of the east-west Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad, was driven at Bossier City on July 12, 1884, by Julia "Pansy" Rule. It was the first such spike driven by a woman.
  • Jim Bowie, the legendary adventurer and hero of the Battle of the Alamo, lived in Opelousas after moving there from Kentucky. Opelousas is the third oldest city in Louisiana.
  • The City of Ponchatoula is the oldest incorporated city in Tangipahoa Parish. Ponchatoula derives its name from the Choctaw Indian language meaning "hair to hang" because of the abundance of Spanish moss on the trees surrounding the area.
  • Le Musee de la Ville de Kaplan {The Kaplan Museum} is located in the center of downtown Kaplan. Le Musee at appropriate times has exhibits centered on the seasonal festivals. Mardi Gras, Easter, July 4, Bastille Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas.
  • Rayne is known as the "The Frog Capital of the World".
    Notations on the original plats of survey for the area that is now Ville Platte stated that surveyors had to use pirogues and flat boats to properly do their work.
  • Because Covington is in a region referred to as the Ozone Belt, it has long been known for its clean air and water.
  • Gueydan is known as the "Duck Capital of America" in recognition of its abundance of waterfowl.
  • Mamou bills itself as "The Cajun Music Capital of the World." Mamou musicians, in particular the musicians who have perform at Fred's Lounge have been a major force in expanding the audience for Cajun music far beyond Southwest Louisiana.
  • The Harvey Canal Locks near Westwego connect the Mississippi River to the Harvey Canal. Back in the 1800s the locks served as ferries to transport railroad cars from one side of the canal to the other. Workers would then reunite the railroad cars on land. This service may have sparked the name of the town. According to one local folk tale, trainmen would shout "West We Go" as the railroad cars were reconnected and pulled out of the station.
  • Church Point boasts the designation "The Buggy Capital of the World". A festival celebrates this designation annually on the first weekend in June.
  • The Creole House in French Settlement was built of cypress wood. It is typical of the dwellings built in the late 1800's because cypress was so plentiful in the surrounding swamps.
  • Fort Polk was established in 1941 and named in honor of the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana. On March 12, 1993, Fort Polk officially became the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center.
  • Pineville is home to a one of a kind museum called the Old Town Hall Museum. It is the only museum in the entire state of Louisiana dedicated to municipal government.

New Orleans Famous Quotes:

"It was as hot as the inside of a baker's oven on a June night in New Orleans."
On the Road, Jack Kerouac

"…New Orleans is unremarkable past the French Quarter."
Miami and the Siege of Chicago, Norman Mailer

"I know all about you degenerates in the Quarter. I ain't let rooms ten years in the Quarter for nothin'."
"The Angel in the Alcove", Tennessee Williams

"It is common for an American city to be vaguely embarrassed about its true delights. In the fifties, a European visitor to New Orleans who insisted on hearing some jazz was routinely taken to hear a group of very respectable-looking white businessmen play Dixieland."
American Fried: Adventures of a Happy Eater, Calvin Trillin

"One of those lovely misty mornings of late spring when every flower in New Orleans seems to melt and mix with the air."
An Unfinished Woman, Lillian Hellman

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