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The state may properly be divided into two parts, the uplands of the north, and the alluvial along the coast.The alluvial region includes low swamp lands, coastal marshlands and beaches, and barrier islands that cover about 20,000 square miles (52,000 km).The oldest rocks are exposed in the north, in areas such as the Kisatchie National Forest.The oldest rocks date back to the early Cenozoic Era, some 60 million years ago.There are several hundred salt domes in the state; one of the most familiar is Avery Island.Louisiana is bordered to the west by Texas; to the north by Arkansas; to the east by Mississippi; and to the south by the Gulf of Mexico.
In the uplands and hills, the elevations rise to Driskill Mountain, the highest point in the state at only 535 feet (163 m) above sea level. The state also has political jurisdiction over the approximately 3-mile (4.8 km)-wide portion of subsea land of the inner continental shelf in the Gulf of Mexico.
These support an exceptionally large number of plant species, including many species of orchids and carnivorous plants.
Some Louisiana urban environments have a multicultural, multilingual heritage, being so strongly influenced by a mixture of 18th-century French, Haitian, Spanish, Native American, and African cultures that they are considered to be exceptional in the US.
Before the American purchase of the territory in 1803, the current Louisiana State had been both a French colony and for a brief period, a Spanish one.
In addition, colonists imported numerous African people as slaves in the 18th century.