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Louisiana: 200 Years of Statehood

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On April 30, 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state in the Union. In conjunction with the statewide celebration of the 200th anniversary of Louisiana’s statehood, Louisiana Public Broadcasting worked with the Louisiana State Bicentennial Commission to produce a new one-hour documentary which looks back at the first 200 years of the state’s history.

Narrated by Grammy and Emmy-winner and New Orleans-native Harry Connick, the one-hour documentary focuses on the most significant events in the state’s first two centuries.

From the moment Louisiana became the 18th state on April 30, 2012, the Bayou State has always done things its own way. In fact, the United States wasn’t quite sure what to make of its newest state and Louisiana didn’t quite fit in with the other 17 states for a number of years. The tension lessened after an outmanned, ragtag group of U.S. soldiers, Louisiana and Tennessee volunteers and pirates defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.

In the past 200 years, Louisiana has survived massive floods, devastating hurricanes and the Civil War. Combining the contributions for seven different nationalities, it developed its own unique cuisine. From the streets and barrooms of New Orleans came Jazz. . Along the way it has more than its share of charismatic and sometimes controversial political figures like former Governors Huey and Earl Long and Edwin Edwards. With the recent elections of Kathleen Blanco, the first woman governor in the state’s history, and Bobby Jindal, the nation’s first Indian American governor, the state has entered a new era of politics.

Did you know that the state hosted the largest war games in American history to prepare troops for World War II or that New Orleans boat builder Andrew Higgins created the amphibious landing crafts that were used in D-Day and other major assaults during the War.

From the creation of Jazz to Cajun, Zydeco, blues, New Orleans Rhythm and Blues and country music, the musical diversity in the state is reflective of the state’s population and culture. It’s a culture that has produced such music legends as Louis Armstrong and Fats Domino along with contemporary country stars like Tim McGraw and Trace Atkins.

The documentary was produced by LPB’s Tika Laudun and Al Godoy, who created the duPont Columbia Award-winning six-part series Louisiana: A History. Keith Crews shot and edited the documentary which was written by Charles E. Richard. Emmy-winner Mike Esneault composed the music.

Major funding for Louisiana: 200 Years of Statehood is provided by the Louisiana Bicentennial Commission and the Louisiana Department of Culture Recreation and Tourism. And by Entergy Louisiana; dedicated to the communities we serve for over one hundred years, Entergy the Power of People; The Reilly Family Foundation, supporting the Arts, Cultural and Health based initiatives throughout Louisiana since 2002; your local Louisiana Propane Dealer, fuel for residential, agricultural, industrial and commercial uses. Additional funding by Exxon Mobil Baton Rouge and The Foundation for Excellence in Louisiana Public Broadcasting.

The Louisiana Bicentennial Commission, Propane Dealers and LUBA Workers’ Comp are underwriting the Louisiana: Now and Then Bicentennial minutes hosted by Emmy-nominee and Pineville native Faith Ford.

Louisiana Bicentennial Minute Archives

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