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The state of Louisiana, known as the "Bayou State," was made part of the United States as a result of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and was a French colony before that. It was accepted into the Union as a state in 1812 and has as its capital the city of Baton Rouge. Louisiana’s State Capitol is the tallest of any state capitol building in the United States. It is 34 stories high. It is situated just north of the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Mississippi River. A large portion of southern Louisiana’s population are the Cajuns. They have their own French dialect, and have been able to preserve their culture in large part because of the Louisiana Constitution of 1974 which states that the “right of the people to preserve, foster, and promote their respective historic linguistic and cultural origins is recognized.” The Cajuns are descended from the Acadians, who were originally in Canada and who were driven out of their homelands during the Great Expulsion, which is also known as the Expulsion of the Acadians. Many moved to Louisiana after Spanish Governor Galvez made it clear he welcomed the Acadians. During the Great Expulsion took place from 1755 through 1764 during the Seven Years’ War. The English deported more than 80% of the 14,100 Acadians in the Maritimes to the Colonies in the beginning and after 1758, to Europe. The reason for their expulsion was that they refused to sign an unconditional oath of allegiance to Britain. Cajun music features accordion music and is called Zydeco, which is a fusion of rhythm and blues, blues, and the native music of Creoles, who are mixed with Spanish, French, African, Indian, and/or Caribbean blood. Hurricane Katrina, which made landfall in southeastern Louisiana on August 29, 2005, as the most destructive natural disaster in the country’s history, with more than 1,800 people killed and almost $100 billion in damages.

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