1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Louisiana
LOUISIANA (see 17.53). The pop. of the state in 1920 was 1,798,509 as compared with 1,656,388 in 1910, an increase of 142,121, or 8.3% for the decade. During 1910-20 negroes decreased from 713,874 to 700,257, or from 43.1% of the total pop. to 38.9%. The percentage of urban pop. increased from 30.0 in 1910 to 34.9 in 1920. Owing to the size of its principal city, New Orleans, Louisiana had a larger percentage of urban pop. than any other Southern state, except Florida.
The cities having a pop. of over 10,000 in 1920 and their percentage of increase were as follows:—
Agriculture.—The most important industry of the state has always been agriculture. The total value of all farm crops in 1919 as reported by the Bureau of the Census was $206,182,548 as compared with $73,536,538 reported by the same bureau in 1909. The total number of farms in 1920 was 135,463, representing a gain of 14,917 during the preceding decade. Cotton, sugar-cane, corn, rice, hay and forage in the order named constitute the most important field crops. The advent of the boll weevil in the state in 1908 resulted in a sharp decline in the production of cotton and in the introduction of more diversified farming in the parishes where cotton had constituted the principal crop. The effect of this pest on cotton production is shown by the decline in the yield from 675,000 bales in 1908 to 246,000 bales two years later. By 1917, however, with improved methods of production and the stimulus of high prices, the output had increased to 639,000 bales, to fall again in 1918 to 588,000, and in 1919 to 307,000. With the development of diversified farming the yield of maize (Indian corn) steadily increased, being 28,800,000 bus. in 1918 and 21,676,000 in 1919. The live-stock industry also gained in importance. The production of rice in 1919 was 16,011,000 bus., with a farm value of $42,751,000. Practically all the cane sugar produced in the United States came from Louisiana. The trucking industry has attained considerable importance in the vicinity of New Orleans, and the raising of strawberries has proved profitable and is being steadily extended in the cut-over pine lands of Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes. Citrus fruits are grown in considerable quantity along the Mississippi river below New Orleans.
Manufactures.—The production of lumber is the leading manufacturing industry of the state. In 1914 the lumber and timber products had a value of $66,656,268, Louisiana ranking second among the states. The manufacture of sugar, including refining and the production of molasses, came second with total products valued at $57,948,322. There was a considerable variation in the output of cane sugar, as the following figures in short tons indicate: 1915, 137,500; 1916, 303,900; 1917, 243,600; 1918, 280,900; 1919, 115,590; 1930, 169,126. The production of cotton-seed oil and cake and the cleaning and polishing of rice occupied third and fourth places in the state's manufactures, with products valued in 1914 at $18,106,257 and $12,966,690 respectively. The refining of petroleum has attained increasing importance in recent years.
Minerals.—Louisiana leads all other states in the production of sulphur, and in 1917 was third in the production of rock salt. Both the sulphur and rock-salt deposits lie in the southern portion of the state and yield a product of unusual purity. The south-eastern limit of the mid-continental petroleum field lies in the north-western section of the state, in the parishes of Caddo, Red River, De Soto and Claiborne. The Gulf Coast oil-field reaches into the state from the S.W., and is most productive in the vicinity of Vinton, Jennings and Anse La Butte. The state's output in 1920 was 35,649,000 bar.; in 1918, 15,423,520. In 1920 the live stock on farms was valued by the Department of Agriculture at $120,000,000 as compared with $43,315,000 in 1910.
Administration.—On March 1 1921 a constitutional convention assembled at Baton Rouge to draft a new constitution which, on its adoption, would become the tenth under which the state has been governed since its admission to the Union in 1812, not including the constitution of the Confederate period, 1861-5. The constitution of 1913, the immediate predecessor of that of 1921, was not, strictly speaking, a new instrument, but was mainly a textual revision of the constitution of 1898 by the incorporation into the body of the document of some 60-odd amendments which had been adopted in previous years and had become so numerous as to create confusion. Other than this change in form, the 1913 constitution included no new material except provisions for refunding the state debt, due Jan. 1 1914, and for the prevention of combinations in restraint of trade. Owing to the many restrictions of a statutory nature included in the constitution of 1898, it was found necessary to submit a large number of amendments to the voters after nearly every biennial session of the Legislature. This defect was not avoided in the constitution of 1913. Consequently in Nov. 1916 18 constitutional amendments were submitted to the voters, and 17 were adopted. In Nov. 1918 14 more were submitted, and 13 were adopted. This constant addition of amendments proved both costly and confusing, and was one of the chief factors in bringing about the movement for the adoption of a new constitution in 1921.
Education.—Material improvement in the provision for the educational institutions of the state was effected in 1918 and 1920. In the former year five constitutional amendments were adopted which resulted in more than doubling the state and local revenues for the support of the public schools. A special tax was also provided for the support of the institutions for higher education. In 1920 a special tax of 2% on the value of all natural products from the land oil, natural gas, sulphur, salt and lumber was imposed to create a fund for the maintenance of the state institutions, and the proceeds of this tax were appropriated the following year for the physical equipment of the College of Agriculture, which is one department of the Louisiana State University. In 1916 the system of compulsory education according to the option of each parish gave way to a state-wide compulsory education law requiring a minimum attendance of 140 days at school in each school vear by all children between the ages of 7 and 14 years. There has been difficulty, however, in
the strict enforcement of the law, and in 1919 there were 87,000 whites and 128,000 negro children of school age not enrolled in the public schools. The total expenditures from all sources on the public-school system in 1919 amounted to $9,702,067 as compared with $7,954,552 in 1918, and $4,310,100 in 1910. In 1919 21.4% of the school revenues were derived from the state Government, 41.6% from general parish resources, 32.7% from special maintenance taxes, and 4.3% from bond issues. The average salary for white male teachers was $1,011, as against $758 for the previous year, and for white female teachers $598, as against $526 for the previous year. In 1919 negro male teachers received an average salary of $298 and female teachers an average of $217.
Taxation.—From 1908 to 1916 the reform of the system of taxation was the most important public question within the state. A special tax commission created by the Legislature in 1908 reported a plan for the separation of the sources of state and local revenues, but no action was taken then. In 1912 a second tax commission drafted a more elaborate plan, providing separate sources of revenue for the state and local Governments and including a provision for an inheritance tax with highly progressive rates. This was submitted to the voters by the Legislature in the form of a constitutional amendment, and was rejected by a large majority. In 1916 a new plan providing separate assessments of the same property for state and local purposes was submitted as a constitutional amendment and adopted. This amendment provides a board of three members, designated the Board of State Affairs, which is charged with the duty of securing an equalized assessment of property throughout the state, and with the preparation of a state budget. The Board of State Affairs also supplanted the State Board of Equalization and the State Board of Appraisers, the latter having had control of the assessment of the property of railway, telegraph, telephone, sleeping-car, and express companies. Under the new system the local or parish authorities may take as the basis for local taxes any fraction, not less than 25%, of the state assessment of general property. At the close of the fiscal year 1919 the state's finances were in satisfactory condition, with receipts aggregating $17,035,351 and expenditures $14,504,468. The bonded debt on March 1 1920 was $11,108,300.
History.—Although the state is normally Democratic, the reduction of the duty on raw sugar by the Tariff Act of 1913, framed by a Democratic Congress, caused a defection from that party in that section of Louisiana where the production of cane sugar is the chief industry, and this resulted in the election in 1914 of a candidate to Congress from the Third Congressional District on the Progressive ticket. For a short period this party showed considerable strength in the southern portion of the state. In the gubernatorial election in 1916 many regular Democrats supported the Progressive candidate, but the Democrat was elected by a majority of 32,000. The Democratic party in this election, however, polled some 25,000 fewer votes than were cast for its candidates in the preceding primary election. Inasmuch as many Democrats had voted the Progressive ticket in the regular election after participating in the primary election of their own party, the Democratic Legislature in 1916 enacted new primary and general election laws. These measures stipulated that all officially recognized political parties must nominate their candidates by means of primary elections, and that all such elections must be held on the same day. Every voter was required to register his party affiliation in order to obtain the privilege of participating in a primary election, and was required to sign a pledge to support the nominee of the party with which he registered his affiliation. Violation of this pledge was made a misdemeanour subject to legal penalties. In 1920 John M. Parker, who had been the unsuccessful Progressive candidate for governor in 1916, was nominated for the same office on the Democratic ticket and was elected. Practically all the members of the Progressive party had by this time rejoined the Democratic party.
The governors after 1908 were: Jared Y. Sanders, 1908-12; Luther E. Hall, 1912-6; Ruffin G. Pleasant, 1916-20; John M. Parker, 1920.
During the World War the total state registration under the selective draft regulations was 392,316, and the number inducted into service was 80,834. The total amount subscribed in the state to war loans was $154,071,000. (W. O. S.)