Louisiana Ratifies A New State Constitution

Citizens of Louisiana ratified a new state constitution on December 8, 1879.

Simultaneously, the state capital was moved from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Responding to the demands of diversity as well as to the events of the Civil War and Reconstruction, Louisianians revised and passed new constitutions ten times from 1812-1921. In the 1940s, Louisiana state politics inspired Robert Penn Warren's Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the King's Men.

Located at the mouth of the Mississippi-Missouri river system, Louisiana was occupied by Native Americans for 16,000 years prior to European settlement. Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to discover Louisiana, but the French were the first to colonize it. In 1682, French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle claimed this strategically vital region for France. French Canadians from the colony of Acadia sought refuge in Louisiana during the 1750s and 1760s after being ousted by the British. Their descendants, the "Cajuns," culturally dominate much of southern Louisiana.

In 1849, the state moved the capital from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. Donaldsonville, Opelousas, and Shreveport have briefly served as the seat of Louisiana state government. The Louisiana State Capitol and the Louisiana Governor's Mansion are both located in Baton Rouge.

The current Louisiana governor is Bobby Jindal, the first Indian American to be elected governor. The current U.S. senators are Mary Landrieu (Democrat) and David Vitter (Republican). Louisiana has seven congressional districts and is represented in the U.S. House of Representatives by six Republicans and one Democrat. Louisiana has nine votes in the Electoral College.

Appreciating the fact that [my mother-in-law's] life depended on being in a dry climate, I rented a house in the flood section of Louisiana, in a town called Swamp Haven. Swamp Haven is on the banks of the Mississippi river, when it's not under it…The Landlord was actually imbued with the idea that Swamp Haven was the only town on the map…I said [to him], "Don't you think it would have a tendency to check these floods if the citizens would get together to dam the water?" He said "No, I think prayers would do more good than profanity."”

— William D. Hall, Diversified Drollery, p. 2-3, 1904.