Open main menu

LOUISIANA, lo͞o-ēzē̇-ä′nȧ or -ăn′ȧ (named as a colony in honor of Louis XIV. of France). One of the Gulf States of the American Union. It is on the lower course of the Mississippi River, and includes the great delta within its limits. It lies between the parallels of 29° and 33° N. latitude; it extends on the east to longitude 89° W. and its westernmost part lies just beyond longitude 94° W. It is bounded on the north by the State of Arkansas. Its eastern boundary is mainly Mississippi, following the Mississippi River to latitude 31° N., running east on this parallel to Pearl River, which it follows to its mouth in Lake Borgne; farther south it has the Gulf of Mexico on the east. The Gulf washes its entire southern margin, and Texas bounds it on the west. The western boundary follows Sabine Lake and River to latitude 32° N., thence it extends due north to latitude 33°. The State has an area of 48,720 square miles, of which 3300 square miles is water. Of the water area 1700 square miles is made up of inland lakes, 1060 square miles of land-locked bays, often called lakes, and 540 square miles of river surface.

Topography. The highest ridges, in Claiborne and Union parishes, rise to 500 feet above the sea. The land slopes almost imperceptibly to the southeast. The bottom lands of the Mississippi River at the Arkansas line have an elevation of 130 feet, at Natchez 66 feet, at Baton Rouge 34 feet, at New Orleans 15 feet. The average elevation of the State is only about 75 feet above sea level. All the rivers have flood plains of generous width, more or less liable to inundation at times of high water. These bottom lands, in the case of the Red and Ouachita (Washita) rivers, average 10 miles in width; on the Mississippi River, from 10 to 60 miles. Through these flood plains the rivers meander on a decreasing gradient, constantly depositing their loads of silt. This results in building up their beds, until the river flows at the summit of a ridge. From the river edge the land slopes away with a gentle gradient of about seven feet in the first mile, then with only six inches per mile to the marshes and bayous of the outer margin of the flood plains. These river margins furnish a soil of inexhaustible fertility and are largely utilized for plantations of cotton and sugar cane. They are protected from overflow by artificial banks or levees of varying height, there being over 1500 miles of such levees in Louisiana. Occasionally at times of great flood the levees give way in places, the ‘crevasse’ allowing the river to overflow the adjacent bottoms and carrying destruction far and wide. The Gulf margin extending about sixty miles inland consists of a marshy plain, the only land being the raised river margins and occasional small patches of prairie and live-oak ridges, the prairie area increasing to the west. This lowland and the river bottoms cover an area of 19,200 square miles, or a little less than one-half the area of the State.

The principal rivers are the Mississippi, which flows 600 miles through the State and along its bprders, the Red, Ouachita, Sabine, and Pearl; and all of these are navigable at all stages of water. Most of the large rivers of the lowland region are distributaries of the Mississippi and Red rivers, locally called bayous, and nearly all are navigable. They interlace all over the area in the most bewildering fashion. The most important ones are Atchafalaya Bayou, Bayou la Fourche, and Bayou Bœuf. These bayous are very active in taking off the excess water in time of flood.

The lakes are of three classes: First, those of the coastal margin—Pontchartrain, Borgne, Maurepas, Sabine, and many others; they are merely parts of the submerged coastal plain which have escaped filling by delta action. They have salt or brackish water and their level rises and falls with the tide. Second, a host of crescent lakes, oxbow lakes as they are called, which are the unfilled portion of amputated and abandoned meanders. They are usually connected with the river at the lower end by a bayou. The third class of lakes is found in the tributaries of the Red River in the vicinity of Shreveport, and are due to the more rapid silting up of the channel of the master stream than of its tributaries, thus drowning the lower courses of the lateral streams. The main body of the delta proper of the great river extends about seventy miles beyond the general trend of the Gulf coast, while the remoter passes advance about 35 miles still farther into the Gulf.

The great delta is rapidly advancing into the Gulf, depositing in excess of the waste of the waves and of a possible sinking of the immediate region, and it gives promise of annexing the Mobile system in the immediate geologic future. The rapid silting in the passes leaves a maximum depth at the outer bar of only twelve feet, though the main river has a depth of 100 feet from the mouth of the Red River down to the passes. Capt. J. B. Eads was appointed by the Government in 1875 to construct artificial banks or jetties in the passes, narrowing the stream and compelling it to corrade a deep channel and to keep it open. It was a complete success, a thirty-foot channel having been maintained ever since, so admitting vessels of the largest class to the port of New Orleans.

NIE 1905 Louisiana.jpg


Parish. Map
 Parish-Town.   Area in 

1890. 1900.

Acadia C 3  Crowley 633 13,231 23,483
Ascension E 3  Donaldsonville 310 19,545 24,142
Assumption D 4  Napoleonville 485 19,629 21,620
Avoyelles D 2  Marksville 850 25,112 29,701
Bienville B 1  Arcadia 832 14,108 17,588
Bossier B 1  Benton 832 20,330 24,153
Caddo B 1  Shreveport 906 31,555 44,499
Calcasieu B 3  Lake Charles  3,629    20,176 30,428
Caldwell C 1  Columbia 557  5,814  6,917
Cameron B 4  Cameron 1,445    2,828  3,952
Catahoula C 2  Harrisonburg 1,399   12,002 16,351
Claiborne B 1  Homer 764 23,312 23,029
Concordia D 2  Vidalia 707 14,871 13,559
De Soto B 1  Mansfield 864 19,860 25,063
East Baton Rouge D 3  Baton Rouge 451 25,922 31,153
East Carroll D 1  Lake Providence  395 12,362 11,373
East Feliciana D 3  Clinton 454 17,903 20,443
Franklin D 1  Winnsboro 616  6,900  8,890
Grant C 2  Colfax 700  8,270 12,902
Iberia D 4  New Iberia 583 20,997 29,015
Iberville D 3  Plaquemine 643 21,848 27,006
Jackson C 1  Vernon 574  7,453  9,119
Jefferson E 4  Gretna 413 13,221 15,321
Lafayette C 3  Lafayette 259 15,966 22,825
Lafourche E 4  Thibodau 981 22,095 28,882
Lincoln C 1  Ruston 465 14,753 15,898
Livingston E 3  Springville 626  5,769  8,100
Madison D 1  Tallulah 666 14,135 12,322
Morehouse D 1  Bastrop 809 16,786 16,634
Natchitoches B 2  Natchitoches 1,275   25,836 33,216
Orleans F 3  New Orleans 197  242,039   287,104 
Ouachita C 1  Monroe 646 17,985 20,947
Plaquemines F 4  Pointe a la Hache  978 12,541 13,039
Pointe Coupee D 3  Newroads 576 19,613 25,777
Rapides C 2  Alexandria 1,370   27,642 39,578
Red River B 1  Coushatta 401 11,318 11,548
Richland D 1  Rayville 546 10,230 11,116
Sabine B 2  Many 1,029    9,390 15,421
St. Bernard F 4  St. Bernard 721  4,326  5,031
St. Charles E 4  Hahnville 300  7,737  9,072
St. Helena F 3  Greensburg 409  8,062  8,479
St. James F 3  Convent 280 15,715 20,197
St. John the Baptist  E 2  Edgard 209 11,359 12,330
St. Landry C 3  Opelousas 1,662   40,250 52,906
St. Martin D 3  St. Martinville 493 14,884 18,940
St. Mary D 4  Franklin 658 22,416 34,145
St. Tammany E 3  Covington 874 10,160 13,335
Tangipahoa E 3  Amite 777 12,655 17,625
Tensas D 2  St. Joseph 665 16,647 19,070
Terrebonne E 4  Houma 1,790   20,167 24,464
Union C 1  Farmerville 888 17,304 18,520
Vermilion C 4  Abbeyville 1,246   14,234 20,705
Vernon B 2  Leesville 1,321    5,903 10,327
Washington E 3  Franklinton 638  6,700  9,628
Webster B 1  Minden 682 12,466 15,125
West Baton Rouge  D 3  Port Allen 236  8,363 10,285
West Carroll D 1  Floyd 362  3,748  3,685
West Feliciana E 3  St. Francisville 386 15,062 15,994
Winn C 2  Winnfield 957  7,082  9,648

Climate. The State enjoys a semi-tropical climate, and the proximity to the Gulf makes its climate remarkably equable. The cyclonic storms of temperate latitudes travel for the most part to the west and north, making the prevailing winds south and southwest, so carrying the tempering influence of the Gulf over the State for the most of the year. Occasional anti-cyclonic areas, however, bring north and northwest winds, varying the humidity and temperature widely. The average temperature for January is 60° F. in the delta and 45° at Shreveport. The absolute minimum temperature brings zero F. to the northwest corner of the State, thus giving a range of over 100° in temperature. The earliest killing frost comes on the average to the latitude of Shreveport November 1st, to the middle of the State November 15th, to New Orleans December 1st. The average date of the latest hard frost is February 1st for the latitude of Baton Rouge, and March 1st for Shreveport, thus leaving the State on the average nine months free from frost. The precipitation exceeds 60 inches in the delta region, falling to 50 inches in the northern part. It is quite evenly distributed throughout the year. New Orleans shows a maximum in June, July, and August, and a minimum in October, while Shreveport has a slighter maximum in April and a lower minimum in August. Rain falls on the average 105 days in the year, over an area extending from Shreveport to Vicksburg, while 100 days is the average for the rest of the State. The sky is clouded 50 per cent. of the winter season and 40 per cent. of the summer.

The climatic conditions invite a very luxuriant vegetation, in which most of the warm temperate species are found, and in addition a large number of subtropical species, both herbaceous and arborescent. The swamps are filled with cypress trees, making a very valuable source of lumber. Many varieties of oak, including the live oak, as well as the sweet gum, tulip, black walnut, long-leaf pine, short-leaf pine, and cedar, abound, and trees are draped in Spanish moss. Roses, magnolias, oleander, and jasmine grow in profusion, and the list of fruit trees includes the orange, lemon, olive, fig, peach, and plum. For Flora and Fauna see these sections in the article United States.

Geology. The entire State lies in the great Mississippi Gulf which in Cretaceous time extended to Cairo, and hence it is included in the coastal plain of recent geologic age. The oldest formation is Cretaceous, which is found only in a few outlying islets on the margin of the general plain of nearly horizontal Tertiary beds in the northwestern corner. The southeastern four-fifths of the area of the State consists of Miocene and later deposits in beds shelving gently seaward. The valley of the Red River from Shreveport down, an average of 40 miles in width, is alluvium of an age from Pliocene to recent. This is also true of the flood plain of the Mississippi River, which at the northern boundary has an extreme width in Louisiana and Mississippi of over 100 miles. A belt of the same alluvium extends westward from the Mississippi River through Avoyelles, Rapides, and Vernon parishes into Texas. The upper members of the Tertiary beds of clay stones and clay sandstones form a well-marked hilly upland region, extending northeast from the northern edge of Vernon Parish. Over most of the Tertiary area, calcareous marls and limestones give open prairies of rich soil. The Cretaceous outcrops are the red lands of the State.

Mineral Resources. The only minerals of importance in the State are rock and petroleum. The former occurs in rich deposits on Petite Anse Island, in the Parish of Iberia, in the marshes of the coast. The product is wholly mined rock salt of fine quality. The output in 1895 was 159,775 barrels of 280 pounds, and in 1897 this had increased to 209,393 barrels.

The potable waters of the highlands are usually hard in the limestone regions, and often are fetid where found in the dark clays and lignites.

Southwestern Louisiana shares with the neighboring Texas region in the possession of oil fields. A number of productive wells have been obtained, giving much promise of the future commercial value of the State's oil resources.

Fisheries. Louisiana ranks second among the Gulf States in the total value of its fisheries. The last year for which a record has been obtained for the industry (1897) showed a slight increase over 1890, the value of the product for the former year being estimated at $713.587. There were in 1897 4403 men engaged in the industry, most of them on the ‘inshore or boat fisheries.’ The oyster fisheries are the most valuable on the United States coast south of Virginia, the yield having been worth (1897) $432,668. The oyster reefs extend almost continuously along the southern coast, from the border of the State of Mississippi to the mouth of the Atchafalaya River. The seine fishery, which is tributary to New Orleans, is of less importance than formerly, although the chief variety, shrimp, is taken in larger quantities than in any other State. The trot-line fishing for catfish is also the most extensive in the United States. In many districts the supply of alligators is becoming exhausted, and the catch is decreasing. Though the value of the hide has greatly increased, the annual amount received for the total catch remains about constant.

Agriculture. Louisiana is exceptionally favored by the nature of its soil, rainfall, and temperature for the luxuriant growth of vegetation and the success of agriculture. The only uncultivable land is found in the region of the coast marshes, but even these afford fine pasturage. The alluvial soils of the river valleys are noted for their inexhaustible fertility. In 1900 the acreage included in farms was 11,059,127 acres, or 38 per cent. of the area of the State. This was a decided increase over all earlier decades. As compared with 1860, the increase in fann acreage since that year has been wholly in the percentage of farm land improved, which was increased from 29.1 per cent. in 1860 to 42.2 per cent. in 1900. As was true throughout the South, agricultural interests in Louisiana suffered a severe blow from the Civil War, and the slow recovery was attended by a change in the agricultural system. Especially noteworthy are the breaking up of the large plantations and the increase in the renting of farms. The average size of farms has decreased steadily from 536 acres in 1860 to 95 acres in 1900.

However, certain of the State's products are much more economically produced on a large scale, and the plantation system of cultivation is probably more extensive in Louisiana than in any of the other Southern States. In 1900 there were 1050 farms which exceeded 1000 acres in area, and the average per acre value of the products ($4.96) was greater than it was for the farms having between 100 and 1000 acres.

The increase in renting is due largely to the increased number of negroes who undertake farming on their own account. The number of colored renters is over two and one-half times as great as that of the white renters, while the number of colored farmers is less than one-quarter the number of white owners. In 1900, 25 per cent. of the farms were operated by cash tenants and 33 per cent. by share tenants. The acreage operated by the colored farmers was 21.2 per cent. of the total, but less than 10 per cent. was actually owned by them.

Louisiana ranks below most of the Southern States in the production of the two leading crops of that region—cotton and corn. The acreage of these two crops is about the same, but the cotton crop is estimated at more than twice the value of the corn, and is of first importance in the State. The production of cotton, in pounds, was almost the same in 1899 as in 1859. The acreage of corn increased 60.4 per cent. in the last decade of the nineteenth century, and in the last census year amounted to 93.5 per cent. of that of the total cereal crop. The sugar-cane and rice culture of the United States is largely localized in Louisiana. The sugar crop rivals cotton in value, although the acreage devoted to it is incomparably smaller. This industry had become extensive by the middle of the nineteenth century, but after that period did not increase greatly until the last decade of the century. A very considerable portion of the crop in Louisiana must annually be kept for seed. This is not the case in Cuba or Hawaii. Louisiana is thus placed at a decided disadvantage in competition. The heavy expenditure incurred in the machinery required to conduct a sugar plantation successfully results in the establishment of large estates, the average size being much greater than that of farms which are primarily devoted to any other crop. In 1899, 56.7 per cent. of the crop was grown under the immediate management of the manufacturer, 8.6 per cent. on plantations by tenants, and 34.7 per cent. by others—the two last classes selling the harvested product to the manufacturer. Much damage occasionally results to the sugar crop from frosts.

The rice-growing industry had its period of greatest increase in the last five years of the nineteenth century. The delta parishes were formerly the most important rice-growing region, but they have recently been largely given up for the prairie coast region west of the delta. The parishes of Acadia, Calcasieu, and Vermilion in 1889 contributed 68.3 per cent. of the crop, although in 1889 they had produced only 23.5 per cent. This change in the region of rice production resulted from the difficulty in using heavy modern machinery in the delta district, owing to the soft alluvial soil, and to the discovery that the prairie soil was unequaled for rice-growing. Heavy irrigation is required, and this is easily obtained on the prairies of Louisiana. Canals are constructed along the higher ridges of land, and pumping plants at the head of the canals lift the water from the streams. The region is underlaid with water-bearing gravel, so that water is also secured from wells. The crop is harvested the same as wheat in the Northwest.

In 1889, 63,098 acres were devoted to vegetables, 43.4 per cent. of which was in sweet potatoes. Peas are grown to some extent, and in the last decade of the nineteenth century there was a very significant increase in the cultivation of peanuts, but the area devoted to them is still small. Comparatively little attention is given to fruit. Of the 1,168,192 trees in 1900, 64.9 per cent. were peach trees, the number of which had much more than doubled in the decade ending with that year. Ninety-nine per cent. of the area devoted to small fruits was in strawberries. The following figures show the acreage of the leading crops for the census years indicated:

Cotton Sugar
Corn Rice Oats  Hay and 

1900   1,376,254   276,966   1,343,766   201,685   28,033  97,136
1890  1,270,154  193,694 837,616    84,377  27,023 27,576

Stock-Raising. As is usual in a region where so little attention is given to cereals, stock-raising is of small importance. The number of horses on farms was, however, considerably more than twice, and the number of mules and asses more than three times, as great in 1900 as in 1850, and the increase in each of these was especially marked in the last decade of that period. The increase was much less for other varieties of domestic animals, although the number of dairy cows has increased rapidly since 1870, and milk and butter have become important sources of income.

The following table shows the number of domestic animals on farms, as reported by the censuses of 1890 and 1900:

 Horses   Mules and 
Sheep Swine

1900   184,815   485,480   194,372  144,653  169,234   788,425 
1890  167,223  413,880  126,777  88,028  186,167  659,935

Manufactures. The value of manufactured products in Louisiana more than doubled in each of the last two decades of the nineteenth century. The total value of the product in 1900 was estimated at $121,181,000. The number of wage-earners increased from 12,160 in 1880 to 42,210 in 1900, or from 1.3 per cent. of the population to 3.1 per cent.

The sugar-cane, cotton, and rice fields supply the raw materials for the most important group of manufactures. The sugar and molasses refining products amount to 39.5 per cent. of the total value of the products of the State. The loss formerly sustained through the enforced idleness of the plants for a long period each year is now being obviated through the utilization of the machinery in the manufacture of paper from the waste product or woody fibre of the cane. Another flourishing industry is the manufacture of cottonseed oil and cake, which made a gain of 346 per cent. during the decade. While there were only two factories manufacturing cotton goods, there were a number of others in process of erection. The cleaning and polishing of rice, the manufacturing of foundry and machine-shop products, tobacco products, and of bags, are other important industries. Over one-half of all the products are accredited to New Orleans.

The following table shows the recent growth and tendencies of the eight leading industries:

INDUSTRIES  Year  Number of
Value of products,
including custom
 work and repairing 

Total for selected industries for State
1900 998  22,306  $87,181,916 
1890 273  7,904  28,272,588 

Increase 1890 to 1900 ...... 725  14,402  $58,909,328 
Per cent. of increase ...... 265.6  182.2  208.4 
Per cent. of total of all industries in State
1900 22.9  52.8  71.9 
1890 10.4  27.9  48.9 
Sugar and molasses refining
1900 384  6,504  47,891,691 
1890 38  1,963  12,603,913 
Oil, cottonseed and cake
1900 24  1,317  7,026,452 
1890 387  1,573,626 
Rice, cleaning and polishing
1900 37  412  5,736,451 
1890 16  355  4,009,901 
Cars and general shop construction and
 repairs by steam railroad companies
1900 19  1,378  1,429,099 
1890 61  112,847 
Foundry and machine-shop products
1900 69  1,313  2,672,761 
1890 49  1,095  2,151,586 
Bags, other than paper
1900 330  3,443,468 
1890 89  669,945 
Lumber and timber products
1900 432  10,171  17,408,513 
1890 127  3,311  5,745,194 
Lumber, planing-mill products,
 including sash, doors, and blinds
1900 28  881  1,573,481 
1890 27  643  1,405,576 

Forests. The Louisiana forests are exceeded in area and value by those of but few States. The most valuable variety is the long-leaf pine, which extends in the southwest from the Red River bottom to the coast prairies, and in the upper eastern part of the State the same species covers an almost equal area. The growth of this timber is remarkably heavy. The manufacture of long-leaf pine products is centred in Lake Charles. There are also very extensive areas of short-leaf pine, intermixed with deciduous varieties. The twelfth census reports that steps are being taken that will result in the marketing of hard woods on an enormous scale. The table above shows the progress that was made in the lumber industry in the last decade of the nineteenth century. The dense and heavy cypress forests in the deltaic region as yet have been scarcely touched.

Transportation and Commerce. Louisiana is exceptionally well favored in its facilities for water transportation. It claims a greater mileage—3771 miles—of navigable streams than any other State of the Union. These afford competition with the railroads of the State and thus have a very beneficent effect upon transportation rates. A canal constructed from the Mississippi River to Lake Borgne greatly shortens the passage from New Orleans to the Gulf. (For Mississippi improvements, see Mississippi River.) Railroads were slow in developing in the State, and in 1880 there were only 652 miles, but this was increased during the following decade to 1739, and in the decade 1890-1900 to 2801 miles. Louisiana has become the objective point for a number of the leading Southern railroads. The lines having the greatest mileage within the State in 1900 were those operated by the Southern Pacific Company, the Texas and Pacific Company, and the Kansas City, Pittsburg and Gulf Company. Louisiana has a railroad commission which has oversight also of water routes. It is authorized “to adopt, change, or make reasonable rates, charges, and regulations, to govern and regulate railroad, steamboat, and other water craft, prevent unjust discrimination in rates,” etc. The State is divided into three railroad commission districts, and one commissioner is elected from each district. The decisions of the commission have seldom been reversed.

The port of New Orleans is the most important one on the southern coast of the United States, and is exceeded only by New York and Boston in the amount of its foreign trade. For the year ending June 30, 1902, the value of the imports amounted to $23,763,480, and the exports to $134,486,863.

Banking. The State enacted an important banking law in 1842, which required a specie reserve equal to one-third of all its liabilities to the public. The remaining two-thirds was to be covered by commercial paper maturing in ninety days. The banks were to be examined by a board of State officers at least once in three months. Furthermore, the bank directors were individually held liable for all loans and investments made in violation of the law unless it could be proved that they had voted against such investments in session. The law was very successful in its operation. The State in 1860 ranked fourth in amount of banking capital and second in specie holdings. In requiring a definite amount of specie to be kept in reserve, the act marked a new era in banking. This, with other of its more important provisions, served as a foundation for the systems established by other States. The banks of New Orleans are noteworthy for the honorable way in which they met their Northern obligations at the outbreak of the Civil War. In 1892 there were 29 national banks in the State, whose loans aggregated $21,636,000; cash and sight exchange, $2,323,000; capital, $3,549,000; surplus, $3,381,000; circulation, $1,747,000; and deposits, $23,047,000. On June 30, 1902, there were 80 State banks with loans and discounts (not including those on real estate and collateral security) aggregating $16,753,448; cash, $2,466,731; capital, $4,612,050; surplus fund, $852,386; and deposits, $23,980,553. In 1899-1900 there were 10,518 depositors in savings banks, with an average deposit of $312.31 each.

Finance. The power of the Legislature to create debt is restricted to the purposes of repelling invasion or suppressing insurrection. The State property tax is limited to six mills on the dollar of the assessed valuation. A poll tax of one dollar is levied upon male inhabitants between the ages of twenty-one and sixty years. The total receipts of the treasury for the year ending December 31, 1902, were $4,160,067, of which $1,412,805 was a balance on hand at the beginning of the year. The items productive of the greatest revenue are direct taxation and licenses on occupations. The funded debt at the end of the year was $11,108,300, and the unfunded debt, $l,157,002.

Population. The following figures indicate the growth of the population: 1810, 76,560; 1820, 153,407; 1830, 215,739; 1840, 352,411; 1850, 517,762; 1860, 708,002; 1870, 726,915; 1880, 939,946; 1890, 1,118,587; 1900, 1,381,625. The rank of the State in 1900 was twenty-third. The largest absolute gain was made in the last decade of the nineteenth century, amounting to 23.5 per cent., as compared with 20.7 for the United States. Louisiana is the only one of the States in which the French figured prominently in the early settlements. The descendants of these constitute a large element in the present population. Since the Civil War there has been a large immigration from other parts of the country—particularly from the Northern States. The foreign-born population is not large, having been, in 1900, 52,903. The State ranks sixth in the number of its negro population, which in 1900 amounted to 650,804. The rate of increase for the negroes during the last decade of the nineteenth century was much less than it was for the whites. In 1900 there were 30.4 inhabitants to the square mile.

Cities. The population of the three largest cities in 1900 was as follows: New Orleans, 287,104; Shreveport, 16,013; Baton Rouge, the capital, 11,269.

Religion. Slightly over one-half of the Church communicants are Catholics. The State thus presents a striking contrast to the other Southern States, since it is the only one in which the Catholics have a large representation. The Protestant membership belongs mainly to the two dominant churches of the South—the Baptists and Methodists.

Charitable and Penal Institutions. The Governor and six persons appointed by him constitute a board of charities and corrections, but their duties are strictly visitorial without administrative or executive powers. The Constitution forbids State donations to any private charitable or benevolent agency. The new Constitution put a stop to the old system of leasing convicts. These may now be put to labor upon public works, convict farms, or in manufactories owned or controlled by the State. Persons sentenced to the parish jails may be put to work upon public works within the parish. The State institution for the blind and that for the deaf and dumb are each situated at Baton Rouge. Charitable hospitals are maintained at New Orleans and at Shreveport. The State Insane Asylum is located at Jackson.

Education. The educational reports of Louisiana for recent years show that the State is in a fair way of redeeming its educational reputation. The enrollment of white pupils in the public schools increased from 38,870 in 1881 to 125,257 in 1901, the enrollment in the latter year amounting to 63 to every 100 persons between the ages of six and eighteen. During the same period the enrollment of colored pupils increased from 23,590 to 73,624, the corresponding percentage being 40. Moreover, the length of term—120 days—as reported for 1901 was greater than that for any other Southern State, and the term of the colored schools was as long as that for the whites. However, the educational status in a number of parishes is deplorable and the enrollment is exceedingly low. The census for 1900 shows that 61.1 per cent. of the negro population ten years of age and over was illiterate—but a little less than the corresponding percentage in 1880. The illiteracy of the native white population was 17.3 per cent. in 1900. The law of 1902 provides that the State appropriation for education shall be distributed among the parishes of the State according to the number of children between the ages of six and eighteen, but the poll tax should be retained in the parish in which it is collected. Local parish taxes may be assessed by the police jurors for school purposes, subject to certain maximum and minimum limitations. Certain other local receipts in the form of fines are used for educational purposes. In 1901 the total receipts for school purposes was $1,393,892, of which the most important sources were the corporation taxes, $403,185; current school fund, $322,413; police jury tax, $208,446. The disbursement amounted to $1,236,647, of which $983,515 went for teachers' salaries. Inducements are made to teachers to extend their academic courses by allowing graduates from the State Normal, State University, and certain other institutions to teach without passing an examination. In 1901 there were 2384 female and 835 male white teachers, and 541 female and 511 male colored teachers. The average salary of the white males is $42 per month, and of the colored males $26.50 per month. According to the law of 1902 there is a State Board of Education consisting of the Governor, Superintendent of Education, Attorney-General, and one person from each of the seven Congressional districts of the State, appointed by the Governor. This board appoints a board of school directors for each parish, the members of which hold office four years. These directors elect the parish superintendents and fix their salaries within certain limits. The State Board selects a uniform series of text-books.

Higher education is provided by the State at the State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College, located at Baton Rouge; Tulane University; the Industrial Institution at Ruston; the Southwestern Industrial Institute at Lafayette; and the Southern University—colored—at New Orleans. The State exempts from taxation the valuable real estate of Tulane University. This institution, situated at New Orleans, is one of the foremost educational institutions of the South. There are also a number of denominational colleges, most of which are in New Orleans.

Government. The present Constitution was adopted in convention May 12, 1898. To amend the Constitution it was necessary to have the approval of two-thirds of all the members elected to each House, and a majority of the electors voting at a popular election. Voters must have resided in the State two years, in the parish one year, and in the precinct six months. The voter must be able to fill out the application blank for registration as a test of his ability to read and write. If, however, he is a bona fide owner of property assessed at a valuation not less than $300, and the taxes upon it have been paid, the educational qualification cannot bar him from the exercise of the ballot. Neither does it operate against any person who was on January 1, 1867, entitled to vote in any State of the United States wherein he then resided; or against any son or grandson of such person, not less than twenty-one years of age at the date of adoption of the Constitution. Women taxpayers have the right to vote upon questions submitted to the taxpayers as such, in any municipal or other political subdivisions of the State. General State elections are held on the first Tuesday after the third Monday in April; and parochial elections, except for the city of New Orleans, are upon the same day. Louisiana sends 7 members to the National House of Representatives.

Executive. A Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State are elected for terms of four years. The Governor exercises the usual pardoning power under certain limitations. The Governor's veto of a bill or any item of an appropriation bill is overridden by a two-thirds vote of the members elected to each House.

Legislative. Both Senators and Representatives are elected for terms of four years. The number of Senators has a minimum and maximum limit of 36 and 41 respectively, and the Representatives of 98 and 116 respectively. Each parish and each ward of the city of New Orleans shall have at least one Representative. No parish except the parish of Orleans is divided in the formation of Senatorial districts. Members of the Legislature receive $5 per day for attendance and mileage. Revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives. Impeachment is by the House and trial of impeachment by the Senate.

Judicial. The Supreme Court consists of one chief and four associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the Governor and the Senate for terms of twelve years. There are four Supreme Court districts, two justices being appointed from the district in which New Orleans is situated. The Attorney-General of the State is elected for four years. After July 1, 1904, the Court of Appeals shall be composed of two district judges designated by the Supreme Court. There are from 20 to 29 judicial districts, the District Court judges, as also the district attorney for each district, being elected for nine years.

Local Government. The Legislature cannot create a parish (county) with less than 625 square miles or less than 7000 inhabitants. The changing of parish lines or removing parish seats must be approved by two-thirds of the qualified electors of the parishes affected. See list of parishes on back of map.

Militia. In 1900 there were 268,739 males of militia age, 145,839 of whom were white. In 1898 the organized militia—men and officers—numbered 2693.

History. It is believed that the great river which Alvarez de Pineda, a Spanish explorer, entered in August, 1519, and followed up for some distance, was the Mississippi. Twenty-three years later the survivors of De Soto's expedition, in their overland journey to the Mexican town of Pánuco, must have traversed a large part of the present State. Authentic history begins with the year 1682, when Robert Cavelier de La Salle descended the Mississippi and took possession of the entire valley in the name of Louis XIV., in whose honor he named the region Louisiana. La Salle's attempt to establish a colony in Louisiana ended in disaster and his own death, but in 1698 a second venture was made by Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville (q.v.), under the auspices of the Comte de Pontchartrain. In March, 1699, Iberville ascended the Mississippi for some hundreds of miles, then returned and built a fort at Biloxi and another on the Mississippi about 40 miles above its mouth. Under Iberville and his brothers Sauvolle and Bienville, who succeeded him in the chief command, the colony experienced but a puny growth, for the heat, fever, and lack of food proved fatal. In 1711, when Louisiana was made an independent colony, the number of inhabitants comprised in the group of settlements at Biloxi, Mobile, Cat Island, Ship Island, and the Isle of Dauphin was about 400, of whom the greater number were soldiers. In 1712 Louis XIV. granted to Antoine Crozat, a Paris merchant, the exclusive privilege of trade and mining in Louisiana, for a period of fifteen years. After sinking a large fortune in fruitless attempts to develop the country. Crozat surrendered his charter in 1717, and the region passed into the hands of the Company of the West, headed by John Law (q.v.), who proceeded to engineer his famous Mississippi Scheme. Colonization was actively carried on. Emigrants from Germany and Alsace were settled on the Arkansas and Red rivers, convicts from French prisons were brought over in considerable numbers, and negroes were imported from Africa. New Orleans, which had been founded in 1718, was made the capital in 1722. The growth of the colony was hampered by the restrictive commercial policy of the company and incessant quarrels among the officials. In retaliation for the massacre of the French inhabitants at Fort Rosalie in 1729, warfare was carried on with the Natchez Indians until they were exterminated, but in their operations against the Chickasaws the French were less successful. In 1733 Louisiana came directly under the Crown, and for thirty years led a drowsy existence, and submitted quietly to a succession of inefficient Governors. In 1763 France ceded Louisiana east of the Mississippi (with the exception of the island of Orleans) to England, the vast region west of the river with the city of New Orleans having been ceded to Spain by a secret treaty in the preceding year. The people were dissatisfied with Spanish rule, although it was much better than the French, and in 1768 the inhabitants of New Orleans rose in rebellion. The revolt was put down with effective cruelty by the Spanish General O'Reilly. With the development of the Kentucky and Tennessee regions, whose inhabitants required an outlet for their produce, the free navigation of the Mississippi had become by this time of great importance for the United States. When the Spanish denied the Americans free access to the Gulf, a situation arose which might have led to war, but resulted instead in the purchase of Louisiana from the French by the United States in 1803, Spain having relinquished the region to France in 1800. Louisiana then embraced all the present State of Louisiana west of the Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota west of the Mississippi, the Dakotas, Nebraska, most of Kansas and Indian Territory, and all of Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado east of the Rocky Mountains. In 1804 the region south of latitude 33° was organized as the Territory of Orleans, while the country north became the Territory of Louisiana in 1805, and the Territory of Missouri in 1812.

The State of Louisiana was admitted in April, 1812. (For military operations during the War of 1812, see United States.) The economic development of the State was rapid and was accompanied by constitutional changes which harmonized the old civil law with the principles of the common law and republican institutions. In 1845 the choice of a Governor was given directly to the people, and in 1852 many judicial offices were made elective. In the same year Baton Rouge became the capital. On January 26, 1861, a convention passed an ordinance of secession without submitting it to a popular vote. With the outburst of war the commerce of New Orleans disappeared almost entirely, and great want ensued throughout the State. (For military operations in Louisiana, see Civil War.) In May, 1862, New Orleans was occupied by the Union troops, a military government was established, and the courts were reorganized. In 1864 a convention elected by the loyal element in the State framed a new constitution emancipating negro slaves immediately and unconditionally. By 1866 the State Government had fallen into the hands of the ‘conservatives,’ who proceeded to legislate against the freedmen, and an attempt made by the Unionists to reconvene the convention of 1864 in order to revise the suffrage requirements led to a riot in the streets of New Orleans (July 30, 1866), in which nearly 200 negroes were killed, while throughout the State negroes and white Republicans were terrorized systematically. On March 2, 1867, Louisiana became a part of the Fifth Military District under General Sheridan, who made full use of his broad authority. In 1868 a new constitution enfranchising the negroes was adopted against the vehement opposition of the ‘conservatives,’ the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified, and military occupation came to an end in July, 1868. The great mass of white inhabitants were slow in reconciling themselves to the new conditions, and bitter feeling and turbulence marked the strife of parties and factions. In the election of 1872 the Democrats and Liberal Republicans were arrayed against the Radical Republicans. After a close poll, partisan boards of State canvassers declared either ticket elected, and two rival governments were organized, the Democratic Government supported by the State militia, the Republican by the Federal troops. Violence and bloodshed ensued in 1874, and peace was established only in 1875 through the medium of a Congressional committee. In 1876 there was another election dispute; a Republican returning board changed a Democratic majority of 8000 in the State into a Republican majority of 4000—a change which was all the more galling in that the electoral vote of Louisiana was sufficient to secure the election of the Republican candidate for the Presidency. By refusing to continue the policy of Federal intervention in political contests within the State, President Hayes insured the triumph of the Democratic Party, which has remained predominant since 1876. About 1875 was begun the system of river jetties and levees which has been continued at great expense to the State and the Federal Government ever since, and has resulted in the improvement of navigation and the protection of the river banks from disastrous floods. The question of the renewal of the charter of the Louisiana Lottery Company was the chief issue in the hotly contested election of 1891, which went against the company. In 1894 the repeal of the bounty on sugar by Congress occasioned a split in the Democratic Party in the State. After 1895 outbursts of racial feeling were frequent, and the determination of the white inhabitants to wipe out the negro as a political factor became apparent. In 1894-95 there were conflicts between white and negro labor in New Orleans, and in 1896, all through the so-called Black Belt, white men with arms drove negroes from the polls. By the so-called Grandfather Clause in the Constitution of 1898, which laid down the qualification for suffrage, the vast majority of the negroes were disfranchised, so that in 1900, out of 130,000 registered voters, it was estimated only 7000 were colored, though the negro population almost equals the white.

In national politics Louisiana has been Democratic-Republican and Democratic except in 1840 and 1848, when it voted for the Whig candidates, and 1876, when its electoral vote was given by the Electoral Commission (q.v.) to Hayes. In 1864 and 1872 its vote was not counted. The following have been the Governors of Louisiana since its organization as a Territory:

Territory of Orleans
William C. C. Claiborne 1804-12
William C. C. Claiborne Democratic-Republican 1812-16
Jacques Philippe Villeré 1816-20
Thomas B. Robertson 1820-24
Henry Schuyler Thibodeaux (acting) Dem.-Rep. 1824
Henry Johnson Democratic-Republican 1824-28
Pierre Derbigny 1828-29
Armand Beauvais (acting) 1829-30
Jacques Dupré (acting) 1830-31
André Bienvenu Roman Whig 1831-35
Edward D. White 1835-39
André Bienvenu Roman 1839-43
Alexander Mouton 1843-46
Isaac Johnson Democrat 1846-50
Joseph Walker 1850-53
Paul Octave Hébert 1853-56
Robert C. Wickliffe 1856-60
Thomas O. Moore 1860-62
George F. Shepley Military 1862-64
Henry W. Allen
Governor of Confederate
part of State
Michael Hahn Unionist and Military 1864-65
James M. Wells Democrat 1865-67
Benjamin F. Flanders Military 1867
Joshua Baker 1867-68
Henry C. Warmoth Republican 1868-73
John McEnery
Democrat and Liberal
Republican. Not recognized
by President or Congress
William Pitt Kellogg ‘Custom House’ Republican 1873-77
Stephen B. Packard
Republican claimant;
not recognized
Francis T. Nicholls Democrat 1877-80
Louis A. Wiltz 1880-81
Samuel D. McEnery 1881-88
Francis T. Nicholls 1888-92
Murphy J. Foster Anti-Lottery Democrat 1892-1900
William W. Heard Democrat 1900—

Bibliography. Martin, History of Louisiana (New Orleans, 1827-29); Bunner, History of Louisiana (New York, 1841); French, Historical Collections of Louisiana (New York, 1846-53); Gayarre, History of Louisiana (3 vols., New York, 1866-67); Dimitry, History of Louisiana, Its Geography and Products (New York, 1878); Margry, Mémoires sur les découvertes et les établissements des Français (6 vols., Paris, 1879-88); Ficklen, History of Louisiana (New Orleans, 1893); Wallace, History of Illinois and Louisiana Under the French (Cincinnati, 1893); Hosmer, The History of the Louisiana Purchase (New York, 1902); Howard, History of the Louisiana Purchase (Chicago, 1902); Darby, Geographical Discription of the State of Louisiana (Philadelphia, 1816); Hennepin, Description of Louisiana, translated by Shea (New York, 1880); Rapley, The Soils and Products of Southwestern Louisiana (Washington, 1884); Thompson, The Story of Louisiana (Boston, 1889); Louisiana Immigration Bureau, Louisiana: Its Products, Soil, and Climate (Baton Rouge, 1894); Commissioner General Land Office, Louisiana Purchase and Our Title West of the Rocky Mountains (Washington, 1900).