Louisiana is a state in the Deep South region of the South Central United States. It is the 25th most populous of the 50 United States. Louisiana is bordered by the state of Texas to the west, Arkansas to the north, Mississippi to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the south. A large part of its eastern boundary is demarcated by the Mississippi River. Louisiana is the only U. S. state with political subdivisions termed parishes. The state's capital is Baton Rouge, its largest city is New Orleans. Much of the state's lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp; these contain a rich southern biota. There are many species of tree frogs, fish such as sturgeon and paddlefish. In more elevated areas, fire is a natural process in the landscape, has produced extensive areas of longleaf pine forest and wet savannas; these support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of terrestrial orchids and carnivorous plants.
Louisiana has more Native American tribes than any other southern state, including four that are federally recognized, ten that are state recognized, four that have not received recognition. Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so influenced by a mixture of 18th-century French, Spanish, Native American, African cultures that they are considered to be exceptional in the US. Before the American purchase of the territory in 1803, present-day Louisiana State had been both a French colony and for a brief period a Spanish one. In addition, colonists imported numerous African people as slaves in the 18th century. Many came from peoples of the same region of West Africa. In the post-Civil War environment, Anglo-Americans increased the pressure for Anglicization, in 1921, English was for a time made the sole language of instruction in Louisiana schools before a policy of multilingualism was revived in 1974. There has never been an official language in Louisiana, the state constitution enumerates "the right of the people to preserve and promote their respective historic and cultural origins."
Louisiana was named after Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 to 1715. When René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle claimed the territory drained by the Mississippi River for France, he named it La Louisiane; the suffix -ana is a Latin suffix that can refer to "information relating to a particular individual, subject, or place." Thus Louis + ana carries the idea of "related to Louis." Once part of the French Colonial Empire, the Louisiana Territory stretched from present-day Mobile Bay to just north of the present-day Canada–United States border, including a small part of what is now the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Gulf of Mexico did not exist 250 million years ago when there was but one supercontinent, Pangea; as Pangea split apart, the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico opened. Louisiana developed, over millions of years, from water into land, from north to south; the oldest rocks are exposed in areas such as the Kisatchie National Forest. The oldest rocks date back to the early Cenozoic Era, some 60 million years ago.
The history of the formation of these rocks can be found in D. Spearing's Roadside Geology of Louisiana; the youngest parts of the state were formed during the last 12,000 years as successive deltas of the Mississippi River: the Maringouin, Teche, St. Bernard, the modern Mississippi, now the Atchafalaya; the sediments were carried from north to south by the Mississippi River. In between the Tertiary rocks of the north, the new sediments along the coast, is a vast belt known as the Pleistocene Terraces, their age and distribution can be related to the rise and fall of sea levels during past ice ages. In general, the northern terraces have had sufficient time for rivers to cut deep channels, while the newer terraces tend to be much flatter. Salt domes are found in Louisiana, their origin can be traced back to the early Gulf of Mexico, when the shallow ocean had high rates of evaporation. There are several hundred salt domes in the state. Salt domes are important not only as a source of salt. Louisiana is bordered to the west by Texas.
The state may properly be divided into two parts, the uplands of the north, the alluvial along the coast. The alluvial region includes low swamp lands, coastal marshlands and beaches, barrier islands that cover about 20,000 square miles; this area lies principally along the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, which traverses the state from north to south for a distance of about 600 mi ) and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. The breadth of the alluvial region along the Mississippi is from 10 to 60 miles, along the other rivers, the alluvial region averages about 10 miles across; the Mississippi River flows along a ridge formed by its own natural deposits, from which the lands decline toward a river beyond at an average fall of six feet per mile. The alluvial lands along other streams present similar features; the higher and contiguous hill lands of the north and northwestern part of the state have an area of more than 25,000 square miles. They consist of prairie and woodl
National Historic Site (United States)
National Historic Site is a designation for an recognized area of national historic significance in the United States. An NHS contains a single historical feature directly associated with its subject. A related but separate designation, the National Historical Park, is an area that extends beyond single properties or buildings, its resources include a mix of historic and sometimes significant natural features; as of 2018, there are 89 NHSs. Most NHPs and NHSs are managed by the National Park Service; some federally designated sites are owned by local authorities or owned, but are authorized to request assistance from the NPS as affiliated areas. One property, Grey Towers National Historic Site, is managed by the U. S. Forest Service; as of October 15, 1966, all historic areas, including NHPs and NHSs, in the NPS are automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are about 90,000 NRHP sites, the large majority of which are neither owned nor managed by the NPS. Of these, about 2,500 have been designated at the highest status as National Historic Landmark sites.
National Historic Sites are federally owned and administered properties, though some remain under private or local government ownership. There are 89 NHSs, of which 77 are official NPS units, 11 are NPS affiliated areas, 1 is managed by the US Forest Service. Derived from the Historic Sites Act of 1935, a number of NHSs were established by United States Secretaries of the Interior, but most have been authorized by acts of Congress. In 1937, the first NHS was created in Salem, Massachusetts in order to preserve and interpret the maritime history of New England and the United States. There is one International Historic Site in the US park system, a unique designation given to Saint Croix Island, Maine, on the New Brunswick border; the title, given to the site of the first permanent French settlement in America, recognizes the influence that has had on both Canada and the United States. The NPS does not distinguish among these designations in terms of their preservation or management policies. In the United States, sites are "historic", while parks are "historical".
The NPS explains that a site can be intrinsically historic, while a park is a modern legal invention. As such, a park is not itself "historic", but can be called "historical" when it contains historic resources, it is the resources. Klondike Gold Rush International Historical Park was formally established in 1998 by the United States and Canada, the year of the centennial of the gold rush the park commemorates; the park comprises Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Washington and Alaska, Chilkoot Trail National Historic Site in British Columbia. It was this trail which so many prospectors took in hopes of making their fortunes in the Klondike River district of Yukon. National Historic Sites List of World Heritage Sites in North America Designation of National Park System Units
Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge
Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge was established on October 27, 2000, as the 526th refuge in the United States National Wildlife Refuge System. It is located near the town of St. Francisville, 30 miles north of Baton Rouge; the refuge was established to conserve and manage native forested wetland habitats for migratory birds, aquatic resources, endangered and threatened plants and animals. Additionally, it was created to encourage the use of volunteers and facilitate partnerships among the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, local communities, conservation organizations to promote public awareness of resources of the refuge and the National Wildlife Refuge System. In 2000, The Nature Conservancy of Louisiana purchased the land that would become Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge; the land was acquired by the United States Wildlife Service in stages. In 2003, the refuge grew to its current size of 9,623 acres; the congressionally approved acquisition boundary is 36,500 acres. Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge is along the southernmost portion of the lower Mississippi River, which does not have levees.
It experiences floods most years. The refuge is home including the federally listed Louisiana black bear; the Mississippi River is a major bird migration corridor. Other wildlife found in the area include white-tailed deer, mink, river otter, wild turkey, black-crowned night-heron, wood duck, blue-winged teal, solitary sandpiper, greater yellowlegs, prothonotary warbler, northern parula, pileated woodpecker, green tree frog, red-eared slider; the refuge includes several habitat types, including overcup oak-bitter pecan, hackberry-elm-ash, nuttall oak-ash-sweetgum, shrub-scrub swamp. The most unusual habitat type is old growth baldcypress-tupelo. Many of the baldcypress trees are estimated to be 500 to 1,000 years old; the National Champion baldcypress, the largest tree of any species east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, is found in the refuge about 4.8 miles from the entrance gate. The refuge is inundated by the river to varying degrees between January and June; the refuge is accessible by vehicle when the Mississippi River gauge reading in Baton Rouge is under 26 feet.
A series of gates have been installed along the road, which allow access as the river rises and falls. No access to the National Champion baldcypress tree is available once the Baton Rouge gauge reaches 26 feet. All vehicular access to the refuge ends at 31 feet; this article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "Cat Island National Wildlife Refuge, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service"
Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge
Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge established in 1996, is located in Terrebonne Parish, 5 miles southwest of Houma, Louisiana. It is one of eight refuges of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuge Complex; the 4,619-acre refuge is composed of cypress-tupelo swamp. The refuge provides habitat for waterfowl, wading birds, neotropical songbirds. Access is by boat only and foot travel is difficult due to the soft marsh environment; the refuge is open year-round to the public from sunrise to sunset, with seasonal restrictions in some areas. Wildlife observation and fishing are allowed on the refuge year round except in areas closed to public access. Hunting is permitted on the refuge in specific areas and under date and lottery restrictions; the Friends of Louisiana Wildlife Refuges is a non-profit, membership organization that supports and advocates for the SELA Refuges. They sponsor several of the refuge annual events, obtain grants to support refuge projects, conduct fund-raising activities to support environmental education programs and help the Fish and Wildlife Service operate and maintain the refuge facilities and programs by conducting weekend volunteer work days.
List of National Wildlife Refuges: Louisiana This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge". Mandalay National Wildlife Refuge
Cane River Creole National Historical Park
Established in 1994, the Cane River Creole National Historical Park serves to preserve the resources and cultural landscapes of the Cane River region in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Located along the Cane River Lake, the park is 63 acres and includes two French Creole cotton plantations and Magnolia. Both plantations are complete in their historic settings, including landscapes, structures and artifacts. In total, 65 historic structures and over a million artifacts enhance the National Park Service mission as it strives to tell the story of the evolution of plantation agriculture through the perspective of the land owners, enslaved workers, skilled workers, tenant farmers who resided along the Cane River for over two hundred years; this park is included as a site on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. A defining characteristic of the park is the interpretation of Creole culture. In colonial Louisiana the term "Creole" was used to indicate New World products derived from Old World stock, could apply to people, architecture, or livestock.
Regarding people, Creole referred to those born in Louisiana during the French and Spanish periods, regardless of their ethnicity. Today, as in the past, Creole transcends racial boundaries, it connects people to their colonial roots, be they descendants of European settlers, enslaved Africans, or the many of mixed heritage, which may include African, French and American Indian influences. The Prud'hommes of Oakland and the LeComtes of Magnolia were considered French Creole; as with others in the area, the homes and plantations of these families reflected the French Creole architectural style and way of life. The historic landscapes and dozens of structures preserved at Oakland and Magnolia plantations are the setting for the stories of workers and late post-Civil War tenant farmers who worked the same land for over two centuries, adapting to historical, economic and agricultural change. Today their descendants carry on many of their traditions; the origins of Magnolia Plantation can be traced to the mid-18th century, when the French LeComte family received grants to the land, are continued by the French Hertzog family.
In 1753, Jean Baptiste LeComte received a French land grant in Natchitoches Parish. LeComte established the Shallow Lake plantation and focused on tobacco as a commodity crop, subsistence farming; the LeComte family pioneered through the colonial rule of the French and the Spanish, became one of the most successful landowning families in Natchitoches Parish. By the early 19th century the LeComte family was expanding their landholdings. In the 1830s, Ambrose LeComte II acquired the land. During this period, the LeComtes were prosperous and began to build most of the structures that are still located on Magnolia. By the 1850s Ambrose and his wife Julia retired to their Natchitoches townhouse, where Ambrose could focus on his lucrative race horse business. By 1852 management of the plantation was turned over to Matthew Hertzog; the name Hertzog would become inextricably linked with the plantation. This prosperous period for the planter family would come to an abrupt halt with the Civil War. During the Civil War, Magnolia's main house was burned to the ground by Union troops during the Red River Campaign.
In addition and plantation structures were destroyed by both Confederate and Union armies. After the Civil War, the LeComte-Hertzog family rebuilt their plantation along with the main house, they converted much of their land to be worked by the new labor system of sharecropping by freedmen. In addition, they leased some acreage to tenant farmers, who were Creoles of color; the system of sharecropping required an agreement between the tenant. The sharecropper agreed to farm a section of the owner's land in exchange for part of the crops or the money the crops generated; the plantation owner supplied the seed and agricultural equipment required to cultivate the crop. On larger plantations, such as Magnolia and Oakland, a plantation store was opened to sell goods to the sharecroppers. A hardship faced by many sharecroppers across the South was the cycle of poverty created through the constant flow of debt and repayment owed to the plantation store. There was little money left to live on. During the 20th century, the old plantation world was fading.
Mechanization replaced many black workers on the cotton fields by the 1960s. Yet many of the community's old ways persisted. At Magnolia and planters still enjoyed baseball games and horse races, celebrated Juneteenth; the last black family left the plantation in 1968. The Hertzog family contracted with an agricultural company to work the land. In the early 21st century, Magnolia Plantation is recognized as a Bicentennial Farm and a National Historic Landmark; the main house at Magnolia and the farming acreage are owned by the Hertzog family and are not open to the public. But the Plantation Store, the Overseer's House, the Blacksmith Shop, the Slave/Tenant Quarters, the Gin Barn, Cotton Picker Shed, Carriage House are all part of Cane River Creole National Historical Park, designated in 1994, they are open to visitors. The gin barn houses two types of cotton gins and a rare 1830s mule-powered cotton press, the last of its kind still standing in its original location; the lives of the diverse people associated with Magnolia are being represented to reflect the resilience, resourcefulness and continuous interaction of families and communities alo
Breton National Wildlife Refuge
Breton National Wildlife Refuge is located in southeastern Louisiana in the offshore Breton Islands and Chandeleur Islands. It is accessible only by boat; the refuge was established in 1904 through executive order of President Theodore Roosevelt and is the second-oldest refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System. In 1904, Roosevelt heard about the destruction of birds and their eggs on Chandeleur and Breton Islands and soon afterward created Breton NWR, he visited in June 1915. The islands have been the site of a lighthouse station, a quarantine station, a small fishing village and an oil production facility; those man-made structures were destroyed by nature and only the birds remain. Fishermen and artists such as Walter Inglis Anderson visit the island. Breton NWR includes Breton Island in Plaquemines Parish and all of the Chandeleur Islands in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana; the barrier islands that make up Breton NWR are remnants of the Mississippi River's former St. Bernard Delta, active about 2,000 years ago.
These barrier islands are dynamic. The area above mean high tide is 6,923 acres. Elevations on Breton NWR range from sea level to 19 ft above mean sea level. Early literature on Breton and the Chandeleur Islands mentions trees and a higher elevation than exists today. In 1915, several families and a school were located on Breton Island. Prior to the hurricane of that year, the island was evacuated; the hurricane destroyed the settlement, it was never rebuilt. All of the federally owned lands, except for North Breton Island, in Breton NWR became part of the National Wilderness Preservation System on January 3, 1975. North Breton was excluded because an oil facility, owned by Kerr-McGee, Inc. was located on that island. The Breton Wilderness, according to the Clean Air Act, is listed as a Class I Prevention of Significant Deterioration Area; the only visible improvement within the wilderness was the Chandeleur Lighthouse on the north end of the islands. Breton NWR provides habitat for colonies of nesting wading birds and seabirds, as well as wintering shorebirds and waterfowl.
Twenty-three species of seabirds and shorebirds use the refuge, 13 species nest on the various islands. The most abundant nesters are brown pelicans, laughing gulls, royal and Sandwich terns. Waterfowl winter near the refuge islands and use the adjacent shallows and sounds for feeding and for protection during inclement weather. Redheads and lesser scaup account for the majority of waterfowl use. Other wildlife species found on the refuge include coypu, rabbits and loggerhead sea turtles; the dominant vegetation on Breton NWR are black mangrove, groundsel bush, wax myrtle. Shallow bay waters around the islands support beds of manatee grass, shoal grass, turtle grass, widgeon grass; the 2005 storm season was bad for the pelicans of Breton NWR. In June, Tropical Storm Arlene moved through the Gulf of Mexico; the storm washed over the islands at a time when many juvenile pelicans were unable to escape and many eggs were still in the nests. On top of that, an oil spill washed directly into the nesting areas and many young pelicans were covered with oil.
Some of the pelicans were rescued and returned to the refuge but many more did not survive. Breton NWR took a direct hit from Hurricane Katrina. There was significant erosion of the islands. Large areas of beach and marsh were destroyed and much of the vegetation that stabilizes the islands and provides habitat for the pelicans and other animals was uprooted or damaged; the Chandeleur Island Lighthouse was destroyed. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with their partners to respond to the many problems created by the damage to the islands, it would take many years for the islands to recover so they will do what they can to rebuild and re-vegetate the islands. They are monitoring the brown pelicans and other birds that return to nest on the islands and nearby, less desirable habitat to determine the long-term impact on this endangered species. A wildlife recovery seems to be occurring, however; as many as 2,000 brown pelican nests have been reported on the refuge in 2007. The pelican nests and chicks remain vulnerable through the tropical storm season and until they have fledged and can forage on their own.
On April 30, 2010, an oil spill from the rig Deepwater Horizon approached the wildlife refuge. The refuge was closed on May 7, 2010 to limit disturbances of nesting seabirds and allow cleanup operations to proceed unimpeded. List of National Wildlife Refuges: Louisiana This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service document "Breton National Wildlife Refuge". Breton National Wildlife Refuge - US Fish & Wildlife Service
Lake Bruin State Park
Lake Bruin State Park, one of twenty-two Louisiana state parks, is located on Lake Bruin, a clear ox-bow lake of the Mississippi River near St. Joseph, the seat of Tensas Parish in the northeastern portion of the state; the lake consists of more than 3,000 acres of water surface. Park visitors enjoy fishing, water sports, camping. There are cypress trees in the lake which have stood since before the Spaniard Hernando de Soto traveled through the region in the 1540s; the 53-acre park was established in 1928 as a fish hatchery. On July 10, 1956, Governor Earl Kemp Long signed legislation authorizing the development of the park. Called Lake Bruin Wayside Park, the name was changed to Lake Bruin State Park. Two weeks legislation was signed to acquire the land for the park, long promoted by the State Representative J. C. Seaman of Waterproof; the park has twenty-five improved campsites, all with water, picnic tables, wheelchair-accessible bathhouses. There is a primitive camping area for tents; the park has three fishing piers, year-round boat launching, a shed for docking boats.
Rental boats are available. Large mouth bass are caught year round, with the prime months being April–June and September and October. Crappie or white perch are taken in the early spring. Bluegill fishing is best in shallow waters at each end of the lake. Summer afternoon temperatures reach well into the nineties at Lake Bruin. Night temperatures in the summer drop into the seventies. During winter, high temperatures are in the fifties. On winter nights, the mercury may dip into the thirties; the park address is 202 State Park Road in St. Joseph 71366, it is reached from the St. Joseph exit on U. S. Highway 65 via Highway 128 east and Louisiana Highway 606 north, it is accessible from Natchez and Vicksburg and Ferriday in Concordia Parish and Tallulah, the seat of Madison Parish. Lake Bruin is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; the park remains open until 10 p.m. on days preceding legal holidays. The entrance fee is $1 per person; those sixty-two and above and children under three are not charged.
Camping and boating fees are extra. Patrons may telephone 888-677-2784 toll-free. Many fashionable homes have been built in recent years outside the park on Lake Bruin; some are vacation homes. Close to Lake Bruin is Winter Quarters State Historic Site, located on Lake St. Joseph, another ox-bow lake of the Mississippi River some six miles southeast of Newellton on Louisiana Highway 608; this former plantation survived the American Civil War. It was the home of physician Haller Nutt and was spared the torch by his wife, Julia Nutt, who fed and housed Union Army soldiers under General U. S. Grant. Winter Quarters features a museum, guided tours, special events. Tensas National Wildlife Refuge, located off Interstate 20 via U. S. Highway 65, is a 57,000-acre refuge of bottomland forest with hunting, hiking, wildlife-viewing, interpreted trails, a boardwalk and educational programs. A visitor center contains brochures, species lists, regulations. Fourteen miles northwest of St. Joseph is Buckhorn Wildlife Management Area, which may be reached through Louisiana Highways 4 and 128 in Tensas Parish.
Buckhorn has 8,955 acres of bottomland hardwood forest and opportunities for hunting and wildlife-viewing. Lake Bruin State Park - Louisiana Office of State Parks