Louisiana is a state in the South of the United States of America.
Louisiana is bordered to the west by Texas, to the north by Arkansas, to the east by the state of Mississippi, and to the south by the Gulf of Mexico.
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Louisiana is known for its unique history, its oil/gas and seafood empires, its music, its diverse cultural make-up, including the Cajun culture of Southwest Louisiana and its once dominant Creole culture, its vast wetlands, swamps, bayous, and its sugar & cotton plantations along its waterways.
A word to the wise, The heat in Louisiana can often become unbearable especially during summer months. People not from the South should understand that the humidity can make it feel much hotter than it actually is. Seek shade, wear loose clothes (preferably white) and remember to drink lots of water to help prevent against heat related illnesses.
Only since 1916 has English been promoted as the official language of Louisiana. For the previous 200 years, French was spoken in much of the southern half of the state. Today, English is spoken by nearly all; however, it is not uncommon to hear conversations in French in the southern and rural parts of the state.
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- Avery Island, A few miles southwest of New Iberia is Avery Island, home of the McIlhenny Tabasco factory and a wildlife sanctuary. The island is actually an eight-mile deep salt dome. Visitors can drive and walk through 250 acres of subtropical jungle flora with an amazing array of wildlife.
- Wildlife Gardens, 5306 North Black Bayou Drive, Gibson, http://www.wildlifegardens.com. 30 acres of preserved swamp where you can walk around a nature trail on shady paths. Apart from the natural wildlife there are ostriches, bobcats, nutria and alligators on display in cages and paddocks and peacocks roam the grounds. Bed and breakfast accommodation is available in four small 'trapper's cabins', adjacent to a small swamp. Each has its own front porch overlooking the water and ideal for gator watching. Staying overnight is a unique experience that kids will love.
- New Orleans French Quarter is a world famous destination year round, but especially during Mardi Gras. Unique architecture, excellent restaurants, and interesting people make this a great destination in the city.
- Natchitoches, the oldest town in Louisiana, is a unique small city in north central Louisiana. It was the backdrop of the movie "Steel Magnolias" and has architecture reminiscent of the French Quarter in its Historic District in front of the Cane River Lake. Graceful mansions line the river as well as Bed and Breakfasts. A great destination to visit if you're in the northern part of the state and a hub for nearby Creole plantations along Cane River.
- Great River Road-Plantation Country, the 70-mile stretch between New Orleans & Baton Rouge along the Mississippi River with Creole and Ante-Bellum sugar plantations, rural settlements, B&Bs, Cajun & Creole restaurants. After the French Quarter, plantations on "Great River Road" represent Louisiana's most visited destination.
The legal drinking age is 21. However in New Orleans and parts of Acadiana this drinking age is not rigorously enforced. In March 1996, the Supreme Court of Louisiana upheld a previous ruling by Judge Aucoin that the 21 year old drinking age was unconstitutional, violating the Constitution's equal protection clause. However, it later overturned this ruling. Within hours of the first ruling, the state law enforcement community vowed to enforce the current law, until the loophole in the Constitution was closed. More than 10 years later that loophole is still there. Rule of thumb for anyone wanting to party in Louisiana, regardless of age: don't drink and drive. If you are over 18 but under 21, you generally won't have much problem in New Orleans. Just play your cards right, act like the adult that you are, drink responsibly and you'll have a good time. Don't argue with bartenders, police officers or liquor store owners.
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