Louisiana, one of the southern states of the United States. It is bounded by Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas on land, and by the Gulf of Mexico. Louisiana is shaped roughly like a boot. Most of the state is west of the Mississippi River; part of the toe of the boot lies east of the Mississippi. The state's total area is 51,843 square miles (134,275 km 2 ).

Louisiana is a state of great diversity and economic vitality. It produces a major share of the nation's petroleum and natural gas and has huge industrial complexes. New Orleans is one of the nation's chief ports for domestic and international shipping. Louisiana also has small bayou towns, swamps and marshes with abundant wildlife, and vast areas of rich farmland. To many, the state is best known for pre-Civil War mansions, for jazz and the annual Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans, and for Cajun and Creole culture and cuisine.

Louisiana'sLouisiana's state bird is the eastern brown pelican.
Louisiana in brief
General information
Statehood: April 30, 1812, the 18th state.
State abbreviations: La. (traditional); LA (postal).
State capital: Baton Rouge, since 1882 and from 1849 to 1862. Other capitals were New Orleans (1812-1830, 1831-1849, 1862-1882) and Donaldsonville (1830-1831).
State motto: Union, Justice, and Confidence.
Popular name: The Pelican State.
State songs: "Give Me Louisiana." Words and music by Doralice Fontane. "You Are My Sunshine." Words and music by Jimmy H. Davis and Charles Mitchell.
Symbols of Louisiana
State bird: Eastern brown pelican.
State flower: Magnolia.
State tree: Baldcypress.
State flag and seal: Louisiana's state flag was adopted in 1912, and the state seal was adopted in 1902. Both the flag and the seal bear a mother pelican in a nest with three young pelicans. This design shows the state's roles as the protector of its people and resources. The state motto, Union, Justice, and Confidence, appears on the flag and the seal.
Land and climate
Area: 47,717 mi2 (123,586 km2), including 4,153 mi2 (10,757 km2) of inland water but excluding 1,931 mi2 (5,002 km2) of coastal water.
Elevation: Highest--Driskill Mountain, 535 ft (163 m) above sea level. Lowest--5 ft (1.5 m) below sea level at New Orleans.
Coastline: 397 mi (639 km).
Record high temperature: 114 °F (46 °C) at Plain Dealing on Aug. 10, 1936.
Record low temperature: –16 °F (–27 °C) at Minden on Feb. 13, 1899.
Average July temperature: 82 °F (28 °C).
Average January temperature: 50 °F (10 °C).
Average yearly precipitation: 57 in (145 cm).
People
Population: 4,468,976.
Rank among the states: 22nd.
Density: 94 per mi2 (36 per km2), U.S. average 78 per mi2 (30 per km2).
Distribution: 73 percent urban, 27 percent rural.
Largest cities in Louisiana: New Orleans (484,674); Baton Rouge (227,818); Shreveport (200,145); Metairie (146,136); Lafayette (110,257); Lake Charles (71,757).
Economy
Chief products
Agriculture: beef cattle, broilers, corn, cotton, milk, rice, soybeans, sugar cane.
Manufacturing: chemicals, food products, paper products, petroleum products, transportation equipment.
Mining: natural gas, petroleum, salt, sand and gravel.
Government
State government
Governor: 4-year term.
State senators: 39; 4-year terms.
State representatives: 105; 4-year terms.
Parishes: 64.
Federal government
United States senators: 2.
United States representatives: 7.
Electoral votes: 9.
Sources of information
For information about tourism, write to: Louisiana Office of Tourism, P.O. Box 94291, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9291. The Web site at http://www.crt.louisiana.gov/tourism also provides information.
For information on the economy, write to: Department of Economic Development, P.O. Box 94185, Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9185. The state's official Web site at http://www.louisiana.gov also provides a gateway to much information on Louisiana's economy, government, and history.