Crazy Laws in Louisiana and Fun Facts
Crazy Laws in Louisiana and Fun Facts
If you thought the Florida Fart law was funny, and the Kentucky law requiring bees to have health certificates was crazy, you will laugh yourself silly with these strange Louisiana laws.
Crazy Laws in the State of Louisiana
• It is illegal to rob a bank and then shoot at the bank teller with a water pistol.
What if I leave the water pistol at home?
• It is illegal to gargle in public places.
Gargle in your mouth like the rest of us.
• Biting someone with your natural teeth is "simple assault," while biting someone with your false teeth is "aggravated assault."
I learn something new every day.
• Spectators at a boxing match may not mock one of the contestants.
If you are not more powerful than the contestants, keep your mouth shut.
• Persons could land in jail for up to ten years for stealing an alligator.
Caution: the alligator will not be too happy either. Trust me.
• There is a $500 fine to instruct a pizza delivery man to deliver a pizza to your friend without them knowing.
It would also be a waste of a perfectly good pizza.
• It is illegal to steal a “movable” even if it is classified as an “immovable”.
I haven’t the foggiest what this law means.
• Rituals that involve the ingestion of blood, urine, or fecal matter are not allowed.
Too late, I already lost my appetite … while reading ‘Strange Foods – Drunken Shrimp.’
Crazy Laws in the Cities of Louisiana
• In New Orleans – Chasing fish in a city park is against the law.
But catching them is okay???
• One may not host a game of marbles at Lafayette Square unless he or she first obtains a written permit from the parkway and park commission.
I never knew marble games required hosts … nor permits.
• City commission members may not drink during a public meeting or risk a $50 fine.
Based on these crazy laws, those commission members may already be drinking too much in private meetings.
• It is illegal to practice voodoo in the city limits.
Take your sacrificial goats to the countryside.
• It is illegal to have sex with a cow.
And that’s no bull.
• Condoms may not be thrown from parade floats during Mardi Gras.
• It is illegal for a woman to drive a car unless her husband is waving a flag in front of it.
I wonder, is it a white flag … of surrender?
• You may not tie an alligator to a fire hydrant.
Use a parking meter like they do in Florida.
Fun Facts and Illustrious Information about Louisiana
• Louisiana was named by French explorer Robert de LaSalle for Louis XIV, King of France.
• In 1803, the United States paid France $15 million for the Louisiana Territory: 828,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi River.
The lands acquired stretched from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains and from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian border.
Thirteen states were carved from the Louisiana Territory. The Louisiana Purchase (less than 3 cents an acre) nearly doubled the size of the United States overnight.
• French and English are the two official languages of Louisiana.
• The oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase Territory is Natchitoches founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis as part of French Louisiana. The community was named after the indigenous Natchitoches people.
• The Battle of New Orleans, which made Andrew Jackson a national hero, was fought two weeks after the War of 1812 had ended.
• Louisiana is the only state with a large population of Cajuns, descendants of the Acadians who were driven out of Canada in the 1700s because they wouldn't pledge allegiance to the King of England.
Many French-speaking Acadians settled in Lafayette Parish in south Louisiana.
They were joined by another group of settlers called Creoles, descendants of African, West Indian, and European pioneers.
• Louisiana is the only state in the union that does not have counties. Its political subdivisions are called parishes.
• In 1847, American writer, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, published ‘Evangeline,’ an epic poem loosely based on the events surrounding the 1755 Acadian deportation.
• A strip of ground between two sides of a divided road is called ‘neutral ground.’ Legend has it that neutral ground got its name shortly after the U.S. negotiated the Louisiana Purchase.
Americans settled on one side of Canal Street and the territory between the new arrivals and the established Creole and European populations was referred to as the neutral ground.
You probably call that strip of ground a median. Right?
• Jazz and New Orleans have been part of each other since the 1920s. New Orleans' own Louis Armstrong (Satchmo) was one of the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived. The city airport is named after him.
Louie was also an influential singer with a unique, gravelly voice and skilled at scat singing which is vocalizing using sounds and syllables instead of lyrics.
Satchmo is the abbreviation for Louie's childhood nickname, 'Satchelmouth,' referring to his large mouth and large smile.
Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong 'Birth of the Blues'
• Shotgun houses are narrow, rectangular houses, only one room wide, no hallways, and usually three to five rooms deep. Many of them were built in lower and middle class New Orleans neighborhoods.
How did they get that name? The usual story is that one can fire a shotgun through the front door with all the shot exiting through the back door without ever having touched a wall.
• New Orleans is the largest city with a population of 343,829 (2010 census); Baton Rouge, the capital, is second with 229,493; Shreveport is third with 199,311.
• Natives refer to New Orleans as ‘Nawlins.’
• A basic ‘po’boy’ in New Orleans is a sub sandwich: beef and gravy on baguette- like French bread.
It originated in1929, when there was a 4-month strike against the streetcar company and free food, in the form of po’boys, was given to the strikers by a local restaurant.
• New Orleans' cemeteries are built above ground because the water table is too high to bury below ground.
If the coffins were buried in the ground, a heavy rain could cause the coffins to shift and rise up.
Early settlers tried weighing the coffins down with stones, but the coffins would still pop up when the water table rose with the rain.
• In 1699, French explorer, Sieur d'Iberville, was leading an exploration party up the Mississippi River when he saw a reddish cypress pole adorned with bloody animal carcasses.
He named the area ‘le baton rouge’ or ‘the red stick.’ That is the fascinating legend.
The truth may be that Baton Rouge (red stick) was named after the plentiful, decay-resistant red wood of the red cedar tree used by Native Americans in the region to mark a trail.
• Pineville is home to a one-of-a-kind museum called the Old Town Hall Museum. It is the only museum in the entire state dedicated to municipal government.
• The traditional ‘Hurricane’ cocktail contains four ounces of rum, passion fruit juice, orange juice, lime juice and other undisclosed ingredients. Visitors to Pat O'Brien's tavern can buy packages of Hurricane mix to take home.
• Mardi Gras is a celebration known worldwide. It is an ancient custom that originated in southern Europe and celebrates food and fun just before the 40 days of Lent: a Catholic time of prayer and sacrifice. This custom was brought to Louisiana by the French.
• The ‘Leviathan’ Float has been part of the parade since 1998. It's a 3-unit, 139-foot float, and the first to use extensive fiber optic lighting.
• The Zulu Diamond Cutters, a New Orleans Social Aid & Pleasure Club, plays a dominant part in the Mardi Gras. From their Mardi Gras float, they would throw items to the crowds, and the Zulu coconut is the desired prize.
In 1988, the city forbade Zulu from throwing coconuts due to the risk of injury; they are now handed to onlookers rather than thrown.
• Rayne, established in 1880, is the ‘Frog Capital of the World.’
The annual Frog Festival is held Mother’s Day Weekend and attracts about 50,000 people each year.
• Gueydan is known as the ‘Duck Capital of America’ in recognition of its abundance of waterfowl.
The annual Duck Festival is held the weekend before Labor Day and features championships for duck and goose calling.
• Speaking of ducks, West Monroe, established in 1883, is the home of the Robertson family, stars of the A&E hit television show, ‘Duck Dynasty.’
• Mamou bills itself as ‘The Cajun Music Capital of the World’ because the name of the town is featured in a number of Cajun song titles.
• Church Point boasts the title, ‘The Buggy Capital of the World’ because residents used buggies as their main means of transportation until the early 1950s. An annual festival is held on the first weekend in June.
The town also calls itself the ‘Cajun Music Capital of the World’ based on having the greatest number of professional Cajun musicians of any place on earth.
Does the town of Mamou know about this?
• The oldest continuously operating streetcar line in the world is the St. Charles Streetcar line in operation since 1835 in New Orleans (Route 12).
• Did you know that Transylvania is an unincorporated community located in East Carroll Parish? Population: 743.
The area was named in the early 19th century by an alumnus of Transylvania University which still exists in Lexington.
Since the name, Transylvania, is associated with ‘Dracula’ movies, the General Store does a thriving business selling bat-related merchandise to tourists.
Why does Dracula have no friends? Because he’s a pain in the neck!
• Louisiana has the tallest state capitol building in the United States; the building is 450 feet tall with 34 floors.
• The golden spike, commemorating the completion of the east-west Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad, was driven at Bossier City on July 12, 1884, by Julia ‘Pansy’ Rule – the first such spike to be driven by a woman.
• Jennings was the location of the first oil well and oil field in the state in 1901. When oil production declined, the basic agricultural economy kept the town prosperous. Its nickname is ‘A Northern Town on Southern Soil.’
• The Superdome in New Orleans is the world’s largest steel-constructed domed stadium unobstructed by posts.
Height: 273 feet. Diameter of dome: 680 feet. Area of roof: 9.7 acres. Interior space: 125,000,000 cubic feet. Total floor footage: 269,000 sq. ft. Electrical wiring: 400 miles.
• St. Francisville has a unique nickname. It is called ‘the town two miles long and two yards wide’ because it was developed atop a narrow ridge overlooking the Mississippi River.
• Metairie is home to the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain causeway. The 24-mile causeway connects Metairie with Mandeville.
• Breaux Bridge is known as the ‘Crawfish Capital of the World.’
• Speaking of crawfish, Louisiana is the number one producer of crawfish, alligators and shallots in the nation.
• Louisiana's first territorial governor, William C.C. Claiborne, had great admiration for the brown pelican that inhabited the Gulf Coast region.
The pelican, rather than let its young starve, would tear at its own flesh to feed them. It became the state bird.
• ‘Money Magazine’ has rated Terrebonne Parish, in the heart of Cajun Country the best place to live in Louisiana for 3 years in a row.
• Winnsboro, the ‘Stars and Stripes Capital of Louisiana,’ is one of the most patriotic cities in the U.S. On every national holiday, approximately 350 American flags fly proudly along Highway 15.
• Opelousas, the third oldest city in Louisiana, was founded in 1720 and calls itself ‘the spice capital of the world.’
• The dish, Bananas Foster, is a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream with a sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum and banana liqueur. The butter, sugar and bananas are cooked, and then alcohol is added and ignited. The bananas and sauce are then served over the ice cream. Yummmmm!
The dish was created in 1951 by Paul Blangé at Brennan’s in New Orleans.
• The Harvey Canal Locks near Westwego connect the Mississippi River to the Harvey Canal. Back in the 1800s, the locks served as ferries to transport railroad cars from one side of the canal to the other. Workers would then re-connect the railroad cars on land.
This service may have sparked the name of the town. According to one local folk tale, trainmen would shout, "West We Go," as the railroad cars were reconnected and pulled out of the station.
• Two fishing communities in Jefferson Parish along Bayou Barataria were named after Jean Lafitte, the infamous pirate.
Lafitte once delivered stolen slaves and contraband to James ‘Jim’ Bowie, born in Logan County, and other plantation owners.
Yes, it was that Jim Bowie, one of the heroes of the Alamo.
• The Miss Louisiana USA competition is the pageant that selects the representative for the state of Louisiana in the Miss USA pageant.
Louisiana is one of the most successful states at Miss USA and is one of only seven states to have three or more Miss USA winners: Miss USA 1958 Eurlyne Howell; Miss USA 1961 Sharon Brown; and Miss USA 1996 Ali Landry.
• Iron Eyes Cody was an actor who portrayed Native Americans in more than 200 films. But he was of Sicilian descent born Espera Oscar de Corti in Kaplan, Louisiana.
He portrayed the ‘crying Indian’ in a 1971 ad campaign, ‘Keep America Beautiful.’
State gemstone – agate
State mammal – Black bear
State flower – magnolia
State freshwater fish – White perch
State insect – honeybee
State wildflower – Louisiana iris
State amphibian – Green tree frog
State colors – blue, white and gold
State crustacean – crawfish
Louisiana State Symbols
State reptile – American alligator
State bird – Brown Pelican
State tree – Bald cypress
State fossil – Petrified palmwood
State dog – Catahoula leopard dog (Actor Sylvester Stallone is the proud owner of a Catahoula named ‘Spooky.’)
State drink – milk
• The first Tarzan movie, ‘Tarzan of the Apes,’ was filmed in Morgan City, Louisiana in 1918 utilizing Louisiana swamps as stand-ins for African jungles.
That is actor, Elmo Lincoln, with crazy hair as Tarzan.
More Notable Films made in Louisiana
• ‘Streetcar Named Desire’ was filmed in New Orleans in 1951. Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando were the stars.
• ‘The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman’ was filmed in Baton Rouge in 1974.
• ‘Steel Magnolias’ was filmed in Natchitoches in 1989.
• ‘JFK’ was filmed in Baton Rouge and New Orleans in 1991.
• ‘Interview with a Vampire’ was filmed in Shreveport and New Orleans in 1994. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt co-star.
More Louisiana Fun Facts
• The salt dome at Avery Island, the oldest salt mine in the Western Hemisphere, was discovered in 1862.
• Tabasco holds the second oldest food trademark in the U.S. Patent Office (1906). The hot sauce was created in 1868 on Avery Island and still produced there to this day.
• Steen's Syrup Mill is the world's largest syrup plant, producing sugarcane syrup since 1910 in Abbeville.
• St. James Parish is the only place where perique tobacco is grown – the truffle of pipe tobaccos.
• The International Joke Telling Contest is held annually in Opelousas every April. Opelousas takes its name from the Native American tribe, the Appalousa, who had occupied the area.
• Louisiana is the only state that still refers to the Napoleonic Code in its state law.
• Louisiana is among the top ten states in the production of sugar cane (2nd), sweet potatoes (2nd), rice (3rd), cotton (5th) and pecans (5th).
• ‘Lagnaippe’ is a common word used in Louisiana to describe ‘a little something extra.’
Here is some lagnaippe:
Do you believe that the politicians of today make crazy remarks at times? Here is an actual quote by Dan Quayle back in the 1980s:
"Unfortunately, the people of Louisiana are not racists."
He also said in a visit to Chicago, Illinois: "It's wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago."
Senior moments, no doubt.
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."