“”Someday Louisiana will get good government. And they ain't gonna like it.
|—Earl K. Long|
Louisiana is a state in the United States that is the sole remnant of what was once a glorious territory extending as far north as (and into) what is now Canada. A gumbo of cultures ranging from French-Canadian exiles from Acadia, or Cajuns, Spanish, African cultures, a mix of African, Indian, and European (Creole), and good ol' Southern boys; Louisiana is known for its rich culture and rather flamboyant traditions. President Thomas Jefferson bought this chunk of prime real estate from Napoleon when Nappy was desperate to pay off some war debts. Of course, the French had originally purchased it in their turn from the Native Americans, paying them handsomely and in no way enacting non-consensual colonial genocide upon them. Ironically, this purchase ran counter to Jefferson's philosophy and visions for what the U.S. would become. But it was too good a deal to pass up.
The Louisiana Territory was explored by Lewis, Clark,
another couple dozen people no one cares about and Sacagawea on a presidential commission.
After all the "carving up," the remaining chunk that became the state is between Mississippi and Texas, on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. While its eastern border with Mississippi runs along the river of the same name, at the southern terminus Louisiana gets both sides, encompassing the large delta formed by this huge river. New Orleans, also known as the "Big Easy," or since April 2010 as the "Big Greasy," in located on this delta, and almost got washed away in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina.
Louisiana is the only U.S. state to have a legal system based on European civil law, rather than Anglo-American common law. For this reason, it is the only state to have parishes rather than counties.
Louisiana has a very good scholarship program for people who achieved reasonably well in high school that pays for their undergraduate schooling. The program keeps the youth from reverse-carpetbagging. As the program is under fire, the state may expect another exodus, this time of its college-age youth.
The state bird is the Brown Pelican, noted for how the mother would rather rip out pieces of her flesh to feed her kids rather than actually go get a job to feed them. This is also the bird on the state flag, but because
Lousianna didn't want anything brown representing it it didn't look right, the bird is white. The bird was saved from extinction by that horrible un-American commie traitor, Rachel Carson.
Stelly Plan and current budget crisis
Occasionally, in LA politics, you will hear of the Stelly Plan. This was a very narrowly (51-49) approved tax plan that reduced sales taxes on food and utilities, and increased income taxes to compensate. For reasons still guessed at (Reaganomics), the income tax increase was repealed in 2009 by a semi-protesting Bobby Jindal, followed by five more tax cuts soon after. Needless to say, Louisiana is now deep in debt, fighting for its life by ripping the budget to pieces. Initially restricted to higher-ed and healthcare, every part of the budget faces impending annihilation. Oddly enough, this has set well with a surprising number of Louisiana voters, who say that the cuts need to be more, so as to eliminate the state income tax. This was championed by state GOP chairman Rob Villere in his Tea Party-backed run for Lt. Governor. While he did lose, and taxes aren't part of that job anyway, people still support this position. In January 2012, Jindal proposed eliminating the income tax in favor of higher sales taxes.
Louisiana is legendarily corrupt but has improved in recent years. Their Senate delegation consists of Republicans John Kennedy (not that one) and Bill Cassidy. The last Democratic Senator was Mary Landrieu, a conservative Democrat who Cassidy beat in 2014. 6 of its 7 representatives are Republicans; the other is almost always a conservative Democrat. Baton Rouge and New Orleans are in the same congressional district, making it difficult for Democrats to win more than one seat. The Governor (John Bel Edwards) is also a conservative democrat. The State Legislature is controlled by Republicans. Note that Louisiana Democrats are much more socially conservative than usual, occasionally to the right of Republicans, meaning that each party tries to "out-conservative" the other on "moral" issues. Democrats are generally more liberal on economic issues, though, showing they are indeed in the right party.
The state was once solidly Democratic. Even after the Civil Rights Act, Democrats continued to win there. Jimmy Carter carried the state in 1976 as did Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996. Since 2000, however, Louisiana has mostly been a red state.
Louisiana has a rather odd primary system. All the candidates from all the parties compete in the same primary, and the two the receive the most votes go to the election proper, provided nobody gets more than 50% of the votes. This often means that an "election" will consist of two Republicans trying to outdo each other, or two Democrats trying to show that the other is a liberal. Third party and independent candidates are simply screwed.
Louisiana is, in the words of the Times-Picayune, the "prison capital of the world."  Louisiana locks up more of its residents than any state in the US (which already has the highest confirmed incarceration rate in the world). One in 86 Louisianians are in prison, and one in 7 black men in Louisiana are either in prison, on probation, or on parole. Louisiana's incarceration rate is nearly five times that of Iran (seriously). Despite this, Louisiana has had the highest murder rate in the country for twenty-four consecutive years from 1989 to 2012. "Tough on crime" takes on a whole new world of meaning in Louisiana.
Being part of the Bible Belt, Louisiana is full of religious whack jobs. Ninety percent of the population is Christian, with the two largest denominations being Evangelical and Roman Catholic (due to historical French and Spanish influences). Eight percent are atheist or agnostic.
A voodoo altar in New Orleans