The state of Louisiana is located in the Southern coastal area of the United States, and the capital is Baton Rouge. Many people consider the most important city of the state to be New Orleans since the Mardi Gras celebration is held there. There is a strong French influence in Louisiana since the French settled there before the US government acquired the territory in a transaction referred to as the Louisiana Purchase.
The summer climate of Louisiana is hot and humid, and the state receives abundant rainfall, averaging more than 60 heavy rainstorms annually. The area is also vulnerable to hurricanes, especially in the lowland areas near the coast. Since the geography in this area includes many inlets, marshes and bayous, a major hurricane can cause widespread water damage as was caused by hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana culture is unique and includes influences from France, Spain, Africa and England. The Spanish occupied the territory for a short time before the territory was named Louisiana by French explorer La Salle in honor of King Louis XIV of France. There is no official language of Louisiana since there are influences from the naive Indians, the Spanish, French and Africans who were imported as slaves beginning in 1719.
Cajun and Creole cultures are a strong influence in Louisiana cuisine and culture. Ethnic foods tend to be very spicy and include mostly rice, beans, crayfish, shrimp and chicken. Visitors who are not accustomed to this kind of food may find it too spicy for their taste.
Louisiana is a popular travel destination, especially during the winter months when the climate is more favorable for vacationers not accustomed to heat and humidity. The Northern areas of the state include scenic parks where visitors can enjoy outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, biking and hiking.
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