A map of LouisianaLouisiana is located in the Deep South of the United States. Near the coast and in the Mississippi Valley are the alluvial lands, named after the alluvium (or sediment) washed down by the Mississippi River. This alluvium makes up the river’s enormous delta, along with vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp, beaches, spits, bars and islands. Many slow-moving streams, known as bayous, flow across the coastal plains. There are also lagoons, such as Lake Ponchartrain, and ox-bow lakes formed by Mississippi River cutoffs. The Mississippi River itself flows between ridges known as levees, artificially constructed to protect the surrounding lowlands from flooding. Inland, Louisiana rises to low uplands in the north. Rivers such as the Red River and Ouachita have cut deep channels into the terrain.
Louisiana was named after Louis XIV, King of France from 1643 to 1715. When René-Robert de La Salle claimed the entire Mississippi basin for France, he named it La Louisiane. Louisiana Territory, as the region became known after the United States' Louisiana Purchase of 1803, stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to just north of the present-day Canada–US border.
Louisiana is the only state in the US that has parishes instead of counties.
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