Louisiana August 23, 2017
11 Surprising Facts Most Louisianians Don’t Know About Their Home State
Louisiana is a truly unique state with a lot of history. If you’re a history buff, you may have already known some of these, but we’ve put together a short list of some Louisiana facts you may not know so you can impress your friends—or maybe get that question right on your next trivia night.
1. Louisiana has the tallest state capitol in the United States.
It stands 450 feet tall with 34 floors.
2. Natchitoches is the oldest town in Louisiana.
It was established in 1714.
3. Louisiana is home to the only cemetery that faces north-south rather than east-west.
Cemeteries are traditionally east-west facing to symbolize the beginning of life with the rising of the sun and the end of life with the setting of the sun. Maybe the gravedigger didn’t have a compass, or perhaps he just was having an off day, but the graves were set facing north-south, and too many people had been buried before the mistake had been realized. The graveyard is St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Rayne, Louisiana, and it’s certainly one of a kind.
4. There’s a reason the colors for Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold.
You may have known what they represent (purple: justice, green: faith, gold: power) but according to historian Errol Flynn Laborde, the colors can be traced back to the first Rex parade in 1872. King Rex chose the colors, but why? Laborde concludes that Rex, being a king, needs a kingdom, and every kingdom needs a flag. According to "heraldry", you need both metals and colors, so gold was the obvious choice. Then, according to the rules that determine coat of arms, there were only five acceptable colors: black, green, purple, red, and blue. Obviously, purple and green were the winners.
5. The official state drink may surprise you.
Milk! Who knew?
6. Louisiana is the only state that still operates under the Napoleonic Code.
All other states follow English common law.
7. Louisiana is only one of two states that doesn’t use counties to divide the state.
Alaska is the other state, and they use boroughs.
8. The St. Charles Streetcar line is the oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world.
It’s been in operation since 1835.
9. The first opera performed performed in the United States was in Louisiana.
It was a performance of Ernest Grétry's Sylvain and it was performed in 1796 in New Orleans.
10. The world’s largest heliport is in Morgan City.
With a total of 46 helipads, it’s primarily used to support offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.
11. The oldest fishing tournament in the United States is right here in Louisiana
The Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo was established in 1928 and is still going strong.
Did you know any of these fun facts? Let us know in the comments below!