The state of Louisiana is located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties. The largest parish by population is Jefferson Parish, and the largest by land area is Cameron Parish. Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so strongly influenced by an admixture of 18th century French, Spanish and African cultures that they are considered to be somewhat exceptional in the U.S. The surface of the state may properly be divided into two parts, the uplands and the alluvial. The alluvial region includes low swamp lands, coastal marshlands and beaches, and barrier islands that cover about 20,000 square miles (52,000 km²). The Mississippi River flows along a ridge formed by its own deposits. The higher lands and contiguous hill lands of the north and northwestern part of the state have an area of more than 25,000 square miles (65,000 km²). They consist of prairie and woodlands. Louisiana has a humid subtropical climate.
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