30 SCHOOLS in LOUISIANA
Louisiana has a singular culture, and that culture, more than its copious natural resources, agriculture, or industry, is Louisiana’s calling card. The first European explorers were the Spanish, though the French were the first to establish permanent settlements, boldly claiming all of the land from the Mississippi Delta to the farther reaches of Canada. While the Spanish and Britain took over the land after the Seven Years’ War, it was during the late 1700s that the French Acadians emigrated South from Canada, forced out by the British, and established an entirely new culture that would come to be called Cajun.
Meanwhile, as the slave trade grew to supply labor for Louisiana’s sugar, tobacco, and cotton plantations, the African-American population grew, while free people of African descent arrived in large numbers to escape unrest in Haiti in the early 19th century, mixing with Native American and European groups to form a distinct and rich culture, the Creole. Though the people of Louisiana have periodically faced incredible hardships, from economic devastation after the Civil War. to hurricanes and flooding, to environmental destruction from industrialization, Louisiana’s culture has survived and flourished, protected by a palpable sense that Louisiana’s wealth lives in its people.
Tourism – including casino and riverboat gambling, cuisine, cultural tourism, and, of course, New Orleans and Mardi Gras – is central to Louisiana’s economy, contributing to more than $5 billion in revenue every year. Visitors come from around the world to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the state’s many historic plantations, as well as art museums, music festivals, and other cultural events. Louisiana is also one of the nation’s most productive energy states, with high production of oil and natural gas, and the petroleum industry is big business, including offshore drilling and refineries. Louisiana also has a national reputation as one of the best states for small business, using low taxes and incentives to help entrepreneurs start and sustain their endeavors. And Louisiana’s higher education system is perfectly calibrated to provide for all of the state’s unique educational needs.