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'''Louisiana''' is a state in the [[South (United States of America)|South]] of the [[United States of America]].
*[[Alexandria (Louisiana)|Alexandria]]: Near the center of the state
*[[Baton Rouge]]: The state capital
*[[Lafayette (Louisiana)|Lafayette]]: The center of Cajun Country
*[[Mandeville (Louisiana)|Mandeville]]: On the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, across from New Orleans.
*[[Monroe (Louisiana)|Monroe]]: The birthplace of Delta Air Lines.
*[[Saint Bernard Parish]], includes [[Chalmette]], Site of the Battle of New Orleans National Monument
*[[New Roads]] - Small and Peaceful, yet energetic town on the banks of False River.
*[[Plaquemines Parish]] area
*[[St. Tammany Parish]]
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. The culture in the northern half of Louisiana is similar to that of Mississippi, Arkansas, and East Texas.
Unlike northern and central Louisiana, the Southern "drawl" is very rare in the southern part of the state. The native English accent in Acadiana has many distinct sounds due to the people's collective French heritage. In addition, the accent of New Orleans is similar to that of [[Brooklyn]].
*'''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.
Some vistors have recently expressed concern about the safety of local seafood due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Seafood that makes it to the markets and restaurants is '''safe'''. Oil affected areas are closed to fishing, and catches from unaffected areas are being inspected in even more detail than usual. The oil spill may result in shortages of some species or higher prices in the future. Now is still a good time to enjoy Louisiana seafood.
Louisiana loves good food. Cuisine includes the famous Cajun cooking of Acadiana and the continental traditions with innovative additions in New Orleans. Some items that may seem exotic to visitors from elsewhere may appear on menus, including crawfish and alligator.
'''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.
Laws regarding alcohol are more restrictive in parts of northern Louisiana.