Well, howdy ya’ll and welcome to Louisiana, home of sizzling food, live music, and the largest alligator population in the United States of America. It’s real nice to have you here – maybe if you get a few hours you’d like to explore the scenic bayous of the south or taste the good life in historic New Orleans. Or how about a spot of gator huntin’ down in the Atchafalaya Basin?
According to biologists, over 1.5 million wild gators call Louisiana their home and, with numbers like this, it sure ain’t surprising that the state is prime territory for Swamp People. But there’s more to it than just marshlands. Louisiana has a mighty long history, and we can boast a multicultural, multilingual heritage thanks to a mixture of 18th century French, Spanish, Native American and African cultures.
Way before our American roots took hold at the turn of the 1800s, the area had been a Spanish and French colony – with African slaves to boot. It was in 1803, after stretching his finances and military too thin, that Napoleon Bonaparte finally gave up on his dreams of a US empire and accepted 60 million francs for the territory of Louisiana, doubling the size of America. Slavery continued, mind, and, by 1840, New Orleans had the biggest slave market in the United States. Then came the Civil War. After our defeat, the slaves were freed, but segregation and disenfranchisement followed. It wasn’t until the 1950s, after World War II and the Great Depression, that the long battle for civil rights began.
Today, Louisiana is known as America’s ‘happiest’ state. Our French Louisiana Cajun and Creole culture, history and hospitality can’t be beat . We’ve had our low points, of course – the slave trade of the 1800s, for example, with its forced migration, and who could forget Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans smack dab in the eye back in 2005. But there’s a whole lot to love out here – so why not pull on a pair of waders and let the Swamp People show you around?