Louisiana, The Pelican State

Louisiana, The Pelican State

by Sandra Merville Hart

Louisiana’s nickname is The Pelican State. Brown pelicans have been a symbol since early European settles noticed the bird’s nurturing way with their young.

Brown pelicans live along the ocean and is the only type of pelican that dives into the water from the air to capture its food.

The early history of Louisiana

A French explorer, Rene-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle, traveled on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers in 1682. He claimed the area for France and named it “Louisiana” after Louis XIV. One of the settlements built by the French was Nouvelle-Orleans to guard against Great Britain and Spain.

France transferred the area of modern-day Louisiana to Spain during the French and Indian War. Spain ruled the area for 34 years.

bayou-912244_960_720Immigrants settle in Louisiana

Acadians from Canada settled in southern Louisiana in the mid-1700s when Spain ruled the area. Acadians spoke French and became known as Cajuns.

Creoles came from Spanish, French, African, Caribbean, and West Indian backgrounds.

Louisiana Purchase

France sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States for $15 million in 1803. The 828,000 square miles purchased almost doubled the nation. It extended from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and from the Mississippi River to the Rockies.

The land eventually made up thirteen states.

Louisiana becomes a state

Louisiana became the eighteenth state on April 30, 1812. The capital is Baton Rouge.

Battle of New Orleans

General Andrew Jackson led his troops to victory over Great Britain at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. Jackson didn’t know that the war had officially ended two weeks earlier with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814. Jackson became a national hero.

jazz-63212_960_720Jazz Music

Most recognize New Orleans as the “birthplace of jazz.” Small groups played large ensemble music in the early 1900s. Then Louis Armstrong, a gifted trumpet player from New Orleans, played jazz as a solo. Armstrong became world famous for his talented playing.

Other fun facts about Louisiana

Winnsboro citizens proudly display about 350 flags along Highway 15 on patriotic holidays, earning them the nickname “Stars and Stripes Capital of Louisiana.”

Pirates once used a Louisiana town, Jean Lafitte, as a hideout.

Visit Kisatchi National Forest  to experience the beauty of the bayous.

The tallest state capitol building is 34 stories – the Louisiana State Capitol.

The state tree is the bald cypress, a beautiful tree that prefers swampy areas.



Gutman, Bill. The Look-It-Up Book of the 50 States, Random House, 2002.

“Louisiana,” History.com, 2016/07/13   http://www.history.com/topics/us-states/louisiana.

“Louisiana,” State Symbols USA, 2016/07/13   http://www.statesymbolsusa.org/states/united-states/louisiana.

“Louisiana Facts and Trivia,” 50 States.com, 2016/07/13  http://www.50states.com/facts/louisiana.htm.

Sibley, David C.G. “Rene-Robert Cavelier, sieur de La Salle,” Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2016/07/13   https://www.britannica.com/biography/Rene-Robert-Cavelier-sieur-de-La-Salle.


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