The state of Louisiana is a resource-rich region located in the southern U.S. on the Gulf of Mexico. It is a major source of U.S. petroleum and refined petroleum products, natural gas, petrochemicals, forest-products, agricultural crops, salt, sulphur and seafood.
Louisiana is strategically located astride the mouth of the Mississippi River. Its location makes it the natural gateway into the heavily industrialized Mississippi River Valley, and it is also the logical point of export for much of the goods and produce of the American Midwest.
Louisiana has a population of 4.2 million (1990), making it the 21st most populous state in America. It ranks 31st in land area with 113,271 square kilometers of rich farm lands, rolling hills, dense forests, open prairies and the most extensive coastal marshlands in America.
Louisiana is a predominantly urban state. More than two-thirds of all Louisianians live in eight metropolitan areas. These include, in addition to New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the state capital and a center of education, government, petrochemical production and petroleum refining; Shreveport, the commercial, distribution and manufacturing center of northwest Louisiana; Lafayette, the oil and gas center and unofficial "capital" of Acadiana; Alexandria, central Louisiana's wood products and distribution center; Monroe, the manufacturing, distribution and commercial center of northeastern Louisiana; Lake Charles, the major petrochemical, agricultural and port city in southwestern Louisiana and Houma/Thibodaux, the oil exploration, seafood and agricultural center of the southern coastal region of the state.