The system has nearly 30 units designated as state parks, preservation areas, or commemorative areas. Most of them have facilities for camping, boating, swimming, and fishing. Chicot State Park, the largest, is an area of rolling woodlands in central Louisiana. The beautiful Fontainebleau State Park extends along the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain. Sam Houston Jones State Park is located in southwestern Louisiana, north of Lake Charles. Chemin-a-Haut State Park lies in northeastern Louisiana on Bayou Bartholomew. Lake Bistineau State Park is situated on the western shore of Lake Bistineau, which lies southeast of Shreveport. Lake Bruin State Park, in the eastern part of the state, lies on an oxbow lake that was formed by a cutoff of the Mississippi River.
Most of the state commemorative areas preserve places of historic significance. They include Marksville State Commemorative Area, in central Louisiana, which is the site of a prehistoric Native American village and an archaeological museum. Longfellow-Evangeline, in south central Louisiana, commemorates the heroine of the famous narrative poem Evangeline (1847), by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
In the park is a museum devoted to Acadian life. Fort Pike near New Orleans preserves the ruins of a historic fort constructed after the War of 1812 to defend approaches to the city. The Audubon memorial, in the south central part of the state, is the site of the plantation home once occupied by the famous wildlife painter John James Audubon. Mansfield State Commemorative Area south of Shreveport was the site of a Civil War battle. Near Natchitoches is Los Adaes, a one-time capital of Texas.
Many of the state’s most popular tourist attractions are located in New Orleans. In Louisiana there are many beautiful antebellum mansions. Among those open to visitors are Rosedown, at Saint Francisville; Shadows-on-the-Teche, at New Iberia; and Oakland, Beau Fort, and Cherokee, all near Natchitoches. Scenic places of interest include Avery Island, on the Gulf Coast, where there are subtropical gardens and a bird sanctuary. Sites on the National Register of Historic Places lie scattered in rural and urban settings around the state.
The Mardi Gras carnival held in New Orleans is one of the best-known annual events in the country. The carnival traditionally begins on Twelfth Night and culminates on Mardi Gras, or Shrove Tuesday, which precedes the first day of Lent. At New Orleans there is also a collegiate football game played in the Sugar Bowl during the New Year’s holiday, and a Jazz and Heritage festival, celebrating the unique culture of Louisiana, in May.
Shreveport is home to the Independence Bowl football game and many other events. There is a Peach Festival at Ruston in June. During the late summer, the shrimp fleets are blessed at a number of places on the coast. In the fall, the International Rice Festival is held at Crowley and the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival at New Iberia. The Louisiana State Fair takes place at Shreveport in October. The character of the state’s small towns can be seen in their many community festivals, such as the Corney Creek Porkfest in Bernice, in October, the Louisiana Catfish Festival in Des Allemands, in July, and the Mandeville Seafood Festival, in July. "Louisiana" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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