15 Things You Might Not Know About Louisiana

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istock

1. La Louisiane, named for Louis XIV of France, became a French colony in 1682 and passed to Spain in 1763. It was ceded back to France in 1800 and became part of the United States following the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

2. Louisiana might be the biggest bargain in American history. In 1803, the U.S. paid $15 million for the entire Louisiana Territory, 828,000 square miles of land that nearly doubled the size of our nation. Adjusted for inflation, that’s still incredibly cheap: $729 million. Considering this land accounts for roughly 12 percent of the U.S. GDP, it’s safe to say that the Louisiana Purchase was a solid investment.

3. Louisiana is also known for its wacky legal system. Instead of using English common law like the other 49 states, Louisiana follows the system of most non-Anglophone countries. The legal system in Louisiana derives from the Civil Code established by Napoleon in 1804, which was combined with Spanish law and adopted by Louisiana in 1812.

4. Up until 2007, professional wrestling was banned in Louisiana, under the sham contest provision.

5. Louisiana is one of two states in the nation that doesn’t have counties (the other is Alaska). Louisiana’s political subdivisions are called parishes (Alaska’s are called boroughs.)

6. Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the United States. The 34-story building measures 450 ft and was built in only 14 months.

7. And just to clarify, the political capital of Louisiana is Baton Rouge (not New Orleans!). But the Pelican State is home to several quirkier “unofficial” capitals. Rayne is known as “The Frog Capital of the World,” Gueydan is called “The Duck Capital of America,” and Breaux Bridge was dubbed “The Crawfish Capital of the World.” Church Point claims to be the “Buggy Capital of the World” and Mamou bills itself as “The Cajun Music Capital of the World.”

8. Although the terms “Creole” and “Cajun” often used loosely and interchangeably, they refer to two distinct ethnic groups. Cajuns trace their ancestry back to France. They descend from a group of colonists originally known as Acadians who settled in Canada in the 1600s, were expelled by the British, and resettled in the Louisiana swamplands, where the name “Acadian” got shortened to “Cajun.” Creoles, in contrast, are an ethnically diverse group. In the 18th century, Creoles consisted of the descendants of the French and Spanish upper class that ruled the city. But over the years, the term expanded to include native-born slaves of African descent and free people of color. Today, the category “Creole” encompasses a wide variety of races and ethnicities—anyone of European, Caribbean, or African descent whose ancestors were born in Louisiana.

9. Cajuns and Creoles have distinct cooking styles. Creole cuisine was traditionally considered to be “city food” while Cajun cuisine was “country food.” Like the people, Creole cuisine is a blend of various cultures (including Italian, Spanish, African, German, Caribbean, Native American, and Portuguese) and uses a wider variety of ingredients and exotic spices. But perhaps the most notable difference is that Creole cuisine uses tomatoes, while Cajun food does not. So true Cajun jambalaya would never contain tomato.

10. Louisiana is home to the longest continuous bridge over water in the world: the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Composed of two parallel bridges, the causeway is 24 miles long and connects Metairie with Mandeville on the North Shore.

11. While Louisiana is known as the birthplace of jazz, it also claims to be the birthplace of the U.S. opera. America’s first documented opera performance took place in New Orleans in 1796. The show was a French-language comedy called Sylvain, by composer André Ernest Modeste Grétry.

12. The Battle of New Orleans, which made Andrew Jackson a national hero, began the day before the Treaty of Ghent was signed. Jackson and his forces battled until January 8, 1815; the treaty wasn't ratified until February 18.

13. New Orleans hosted its first Mardi Gras parade in 1837. The first floats appeared 20 years later, in 1857.

14. According to a New Orleans public ordinance, it is "unlawful for any person to use or wear in any public place, a hood or mask or anything of the nature of either or any facial disguise of any kind or description, calculated to conceal or hide the identity of the person or to prevent ready recognition of such person." The exceptions? Those participating in religious or educational exhibitions, masquerade balls, or—you guessed it—participating in carnivals or parades during Mardi Gras. In fact, float riders are required by law to wear masks.

15. New Orleans’s hotels rooms, which number in excess of 30,000, are usually 95% filled during Mardi Gras weekend.

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The 10 States With the Most UFO Sightings

According to the data, cows in Texas have nothing to fear from aliens.
According to the data, cows in Texas have nothing to fear from aliens.

According to the National UFO Reporting Center, there have been more than 4000 UFO sightings so far in 2020—meaning that this year, we’re already well on our way to eclipsing the 5971 sightings reported in 2019.

If you want to increase your odds of seeing a UFO for yourself, you’re in luck. Using NUFORC data, SatelliteInternet.com took the total number of sightings from January 2019 to June 2020 and did the math to determine how many sightings there were per 100,000 people.

According to their calculations, Idaho is the state most likely to yield a UFO sighting, followed by Montana, New Hampshire, Maine, and New Mexico.

States With the Most UFO Sightings

  1. Idaho: 9.18 sightings per 100,000 people
  2. Montana: 9.17 sightings per 100,000 people
  3. New Hampshire: 7.87 sightings per 100,000 people
  4. Maine: 7.22 sightings per 100,000 people
  5. New Mexico: 6.2 sightings per 100,000 people
  6. Vermont: 6.09 sightings per 100,000 people
  7. Wyoming: 6.05 sightings per 100,000 people
  8. Hawaii: 5.16 sightings per 100,000 people
  9. Washington: 5.07 sightings per 100,000 people
  10. Connecticut: 4.94 sightings per 100,000 people

If you want to avoid UFOs, however, the data suggest you should head to Texas (1.29 sightings per 100,000 people), Louisiana (1.44 sightings per 100,000 people), New York (1.59 sightings per 100,000 people), Maryland (1.6 sightings per 100,000 people), or Illinois (1.84 sightings per 100,000 people).

For the full rankings, head here. And remember, a UFO is an Unidentified Flying Object, not necessarily aliens—but here’s some advice for what to do if you run into E.T., just in case.