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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Louisiana: Cajun, Sugar & Pelicans along the Bayou

This Day in History: April 30, 1812

aka The Bayou State, The Creole State, The Sugar State

Louisiana has a rich, colorful background with a multicultural, multilingual heritage. The state has become a popular tourist destination with New Orleans being the major attraction, known particularly for its picturesque French Quarter and the annual Mardi Gras celebration, held since 1838.

Because of the abundance of Brown Pelicans found along the coast of Louisiana, its official nickname is "The Pelican State." This bird has been a symbol of Louisiana since the arrival of early European settlers who were impressed with the pelican's generous and nurturing attitude toward their young. Thus, tribute is paid to the Brown Pelican: Louisiana's nickname, state bird, state flag, great seal, state painting and is one of three Louisiana symbols displayed on the U.S. mint's bicentennial quarter.

Louisiana is often referred to as "The Bayou State" because of the many slow, sluggish small streams that meander through the lowlands and marshes of the southern section of the state. In addition, it is also often referenced as "The Sugar State" since Louisiana produces a large sugar cane crop and has on location sugar refineries. Other Louisiana state nicknames can be found HERE.
Bit of Louisiana Brown Pelican History...

Disaster struck Louisiana in the 1960s when the use of pesticides caused the brown pelican, native to the area, to stop nesting along the Gulf coast. By 1966, the bird had completely disappeared in Louisiana. In 1968, Louisiana began importing fledglings from Florida in an attempt to repopulate the coastline and, in 1970, the Federal Government declared the brown pelican an endangered species. This is a story with a happy ending. Protection of the brown pelican's habitat along with repopulation efforts resulted in the Federal Government's declaration, in 1995, that the bird bad "recovered" in Louisiana.

Visit the state where the Big Muddy comes to an end and the Big Easy comes to life. Louisiana is home to both great celebrations and great devastation. From cool jazz to hot cooking; from a vast paradise of wetlands to the giant industries endangering its fragile ecosystems, explore the stark contradictions of the Sugar State from soaring heights. Having survived natural and manmade disasters, Louisiana proves it has never lost its festive, fighting spirit.
The United States acquired the territory in the Louisiana Purchase on December 20, 1803. English and its dialects became prominent only after the Louisiana Purchase, when more English-speaking Americans settled in the state. In some regions, English was influenced by French, as seen with Cajun English. Since English became the dominant language of business and government Colonial French and Cajun French have somewhat merged. Louisiana became the 18th U.S. state on April 30, 1812. 
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States.
Louisiana State Flag
Louisiana State Seal
Louisiana State Painting

 With a state painting being an unusual designation,
it should be noted this painting was a collaborative
father-son effort - Johnny O. Bell and Johnny F. Bell.
"Louisiana" contains a representation for all symbols
and commonly accepted icons of Louisiana, and
the painting is dominated by the state colors of
gold, white, and blue.

Louisiana State Bird: Brown Pelican

Noteworthy Note:
After surviving nearly unchanged since the time
of the dinosaurs and having no natural predators
as adults today, alligators were headed for extinction 
only 20 years ago due to intense hunting from man.
 Protecting the species and alligator habitats
has allowed the status to be changed


Louisiana's grand flowering tree is the Southern Magnolia,
so it is of no surprise that the state flower of Louisiana
is the magnolia. One of the remarkable things about
Louisiana's native Southern Magnolia is that
it retains its foliage year-around—deep green & lustrous,
 most magnolia species around the world are deciduous. 

Can't leave Louisiana without mention of its food...


For all State Symbols of Louisiana click HERE!

Classic Songs of Louisiana: "You Are My Sunshine"
 Not only was "You Are My Sunshine" declared Louisiana's state song in 1977,it is a pretty safe bet to say it is probably the only song with a bridge named after it. That would be the Sunshine Bridge which connects Donaldsonville to whatever is on the other side of the Mississippi River, the original bridge to nowhere.

Long associated with the colorful, non-consecutive term governor, Jimmie Davis, "You Are My Sunshine" has served as a vehicle to the charts not just for Davis, but for Gene Autry, Bing Crosby and Ray Charles to mention just a few. While Davis is listed as a co-writer and often claimed to have composed "You Are My Sunshine" while attening LSU, in fact he purchased the song from Paul Rice. It became a cash cow, and assisted his musical and political aspirations immensely. Read MORE...
Louisiana State Musical Instrument

The diatonic accordion was designated the official musical instrument of Louisiana in 1990. This accordion, also called a "squeeze box" or "Cajun accordion", arrived in Louisiana from Germany in the mid to late 1890s and by the early 1900s had become a key element in Cajun music.
Louisiana is home to nearly every musical inflection in America. Click HERE!

 Louisiana State Folk Dance: Square Dance
Louisiana designated the square dance as the state's official American folk dance in 1999. Twenty-two states have passed legislation to declare the square dance as a state symbol, and more than 30 bills (beginning in 1965) have been introduced at the federal level proposing the square dance as the national (folk) dance of the United States.
  Louisiana Bayou

Life along the Bayou
endless waterways, breath-taking nature
alligator, crawfish and catfish
tantalizing, mouth-watering pleasure 

Underdeveloped reaches of Louisiana
lined with gnarled cypress trees
wild, pristine river swamps
 sights and sounds emotions seize

Overhanging of Spanish moss
ghostly figures in the midst
eerie, creepy shadows
where legendary tales exist

Snowy egrets, blue herons, 
brown pelicans by the bay
ducks and even geese
along the migratory flyway

Fascinating plant life
described in tome after tome
creatures by day and night
within the swamp called home

Beauty of the bayou
shimmers in the evening light
unrivaled charm by day
'til the sun succumbs to night

Step back in time...


Louisiana Facts and Trivia

Next state by month: #32 Minnesota, May 11, 1858