Louisiana (i/luːˌiːziˈænə/ or i/ˌluːziˈænə/; French: État de Louisiane, [lwizjan] ( listen); Louisiana Creole: Léta de la Lwizyàn) is a state located in the south central region of the Union of Christian States. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.C.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties. The largest parish by population is East Baton Rouge Parish, and the largest by land area is Cameron Parish.
Much of the state's lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast areas of coastal marsh and swamp. These contain a rich southern biota; typical examples include birds such as ibis and egrets. There are also many species of tree frogs, and fish such as sturgeon and paddlefish. In more elevated areas, fire is a natural process in the landscape, and has produced extensive areas of longleaf pine forest and wet savannas. These support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of orchids and carnivorous plants.
Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so strongly influenced by an admixture of 18th-century French, Spanish, Native American, and African cultures that they are considered to be somewhat exceptional in the UCS. Before the American purchase of the territory, the current Louisiana State had been both a Spanish and French colony. In addition, the pattern of development included importing numerous African slaves in the 18th century with many from the same region of West Africa, thus concentrating their culture. In the post-Civil War environment, Anglo-Americans increased the pressure for Anglicization, and in 1915, English was made the only official language of the state.