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Louisiana Facts

Louisiana's Official Family

Louisiana has three branches of government: legislative, executive and judicial.

Louisiana's Legislature is composed of a Senate with 39 members and a House of Representatives with 105 members; members of both houses are elected to four year terms. The Legislature meets in regular session in even-numbered years, on the last Monday in March for not more than 60 legislative days out of 85 calendar days. In odd-numbered years, the Legislature convenes fiscal sessions on the last Monday in April for 45 legislative days out of 60 calendar days. The Legislature may be convened at other times by the governor, and shall be convened by the presiding officers of both houses upon written petition of a majority of the elected members of each house. Parliamentary procedure and committee organization resemble that used throughout the nation.

Executive power is vested in the statewide elected officials: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and forestry and commissioner of insurance. All of these officials are elected to four year terms.

The present judicial system, originally established by the Louisiana Constitution of 1921, affords judicial power in a state supreme court, courts of appeal, district courts and other lesser tribunals as provided by law. The Supreme Court has general supervisory jurisdiction over all other courts. Courts of appeal have appellate jurisdiction over five circuits in the state. District courts have original jurisdiction over appeals from justices of the peace and certain minor courts. Judges in Louisiana are elected except when they are temporarily appointed to fill vacancies.

State Capitol
State Capitol BuildingThe new Louisiana State Capitol was completed in March of 1932 in a mere 14 months and stands on a 27-acre tract.

As the tallest state capitol in the United States, the building is 450 feet high with 34 floors. Twenty-five hundred rail cars were needed to bring in the limestone for the exterior and the marble for the interior. The cost to complete the building was a modest $5 million.

The architects used symbolism throughout the design of the building. As the square tower rises, it cuts away to an octagon at the 22nd floor. Here, four allegorical winged figures guard the corners representing law, science, philosophy and art.






The State of Louisiana

Louisiana Lagniappe

Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras is an ancient custom that originated in southern Europe, was brought to Louisiana by the French, and was later continued by the Spanish. As each year passed, Mardi Gras became a bigger and bigger event. Soon superbly ornamented carriages, musical marching bands and richly decorated masqueraders began to parade the streets of New Orleans. Although Mardi Gras is actually only one day, Fat Tuesday, today it has come to mean the last two weeks of carnival that immediately precede Mardi Gras Day. The celebration occurs in preparation for the 40 days of Lent that follow and festivities may include balls, parades, street masking or any combination of these activities.

The Great Seal