Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ll be taking you on a tour around this great nation of ours, providing you with interesting, yet completely useless and probably untrue, information about each of the 50 states.
This week, lift your shirt and earn some shiny beads – we’re headed to Louisiana. So… let’s get started…
* Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30th 1812, mostly to make President Madison’s wife stop nagging him about “when are you going to get up off your butt and do something with all that land west of the Mississippi?”
* Ya know, it wasn’t Manifest Destiny that built this country, it was naggy wives.
* The state bird of Louisiana is the brown pelican, whose enormous beak could, in theory, hold enough beer to get an Irishman drunk.
* The state boat of Louisiana is Noah’s Ark.
* Louisiana is the source of most of America’s seafood, and annually produces more shrimp than a Wizard of Oz cast party.
* The state motto of Louisiana is “Help! I can’t swim!”
* The state flower of Louisiana is the magnolia… although that may soon change to the water lily.
* The highest point in Louisiana is Mt. Driskoll, at 535 feet, while the lowest point is [insert gurgling sound here].
* Louisiana was named after the French King, Louis the 14th, and NOT after the French pronunciation of “lousy, ain’t it?”
* The official soil of Louisiana is silt.
* Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the US. It’s 450 feet tall, and is capable of holding nearly a week’s supply of the Governor’s bribe money.
* The state song of Louisiana is Led Zeppelin’s, “When the Levee Breaks”.
* The US acquired the Louisiana territory from France in 1803 in exchange for $15 million dollars in gold and a promise to stop referring to the French as “surrender monkeys”.
* HA! Stupid, gullible, surrender monkeys!
* The state tree of Louisiana is whichever one Katrina didn’t knock down. Probably an oak tree in Shreveport, or something.
* Jazz Great Louis Armstrong was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His famous song, “What a Wonderful World”, describes his feelings about moving out of the state.
* Rock & Roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis was born in Ferriday, Louisiana on September 29th, 1935. Although he DID at one point marry his 13-year-old cousin, he was NOT actually a degenerate pedophile – just Southern.
* Baton Rouge, Louisiana hosted the Special Olympics in 1983, prompting accusations from Alabama that it was actually just a scheme to raise the state’s standardized test scores.
* Louisiana is famous for its many slow-moving rivers or “bayous”. The word “bayou” is a Choctaw Indian word meaning “Frenchman’s urinal”.
* The first governor of Louisiana chose the pelican as the state bird because it is such a devoted parent that it would tear at its own flesh to feed its young rather than let them starve. The governor was so impressed by this that he substituted “the rich” for “flesh”, and thus was born the Louisiana tax system.
* The state dog of Louisiana is the Water Spaniel.
* St. Joseph Cemetery in Rayne, Louisiana is the only cemetery in the US where the graves have a north-south orientation. All other cemeteries are laid out in a pentagram pattern to facilitate raising the dead via unholy rituals.
* The city of Kaplan, Louisiana is known as the Cajunest Place on Earth and is home to the famous Gumbo World theme park and resort.
* The city of New Orleans was once a haven for pirates, which may explain why most of the post-Katrina looters had parrots & eye-patches.
* The Old Town Hall Museum in Pineville, Louisiana is the only museum in the US devoted to municipal government. While there, don’t miss the Graft & Corruption exhibit in the Huey P. Long Memorial Corruptitorium.
* At the age of 13, all young males in Louisiana undergo a ceremonial rite of passage wherein they finally learn the horrifying truth – that Mardi Gras is NOT a national holiday.
* They are NOT told, however, the horrifying truth that they are descended from the French, as this would completely destroy their fragile minds.
* Whether you pronounce it “New Or-lins”, “New Or-leenz”, “New Or-le-ans”, or even “Nawlins”, SOMEONE in Louisiana will correct your pronunciation.
* When they do, tell the annoying little SOB that he’s descended from the French. THAT will shut him up.
Well, that wraps up the Louisiana edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week I’ll be getting mugged by gangs of feral lobsters in Maine.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go *ahem* “use the bayou”.
[The complete e-book version of “Fun Facts About the 50 States” is now available at Amazon.com. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download free Kindle apps for your web browser, smartphone, computer, or tablet from Amazon.com]