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United States Railroad Administration,
Agricultural Section.

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Aerric.-Foiieatry. Main library





Louisiana State Capitol

Louisiana's Invitation

L stands for Love of Country

stands for Opportunity
U stands for Unity

1 stands for Independence
S stands for Stability

I stands for Industry

A stands for Advantages

N stands for Natural Resources

A stands for AGRICULTURE

Of the forty-eight states comprising the United States of America, none has
shown a greater love and a greater patriotic spirit for her country than the
marvelous Commonweal tli of Louisiana, and she bids a most cordial welcome
to all who are similarly imbued; to those who seek and are willing to embrace
Opportunity; to those who believe in Unity of purpose; to those who seek
Independence in its broadest sense; to those who believe in Stability and pro-
gress; to those who seek a location to engage in any line of Industry; to those
who wish to come among us as builders of a Greater Louisiana, she offers her
matchless Advantages; to those seeking a location where Natural Resources
are unexcelled, and where the richest Agricultural lands on this continent may
be found, and last, but not least, to all who love the United States of America,
revere its institutions, honor its flag, respect its name, rejoice in its proud
history, in its unsullied Liberty, in its glorious past and the promise of its future,
this marvelous Empire of the South and the Gateway of Trade for the Mis-
sissippi Valley extends a most cordial and generous invitation.




Attractive Surroundings of a Plantation Home


It will be noticed by a glance at the map of Louisiana that the State is inter-
sected by numerous rivers. The Mississippi River forms the eastern border
down as far as the mouth of the Red River, and then runs diagonally through
that portion of the State lying south of the State of Mississippi. The Red River
cuts diagonally through the State from northwest to southeast; the Atchafalaya
River, flowing south from where the Red River enters the Mississippi, divides
the southern part of the State into the eastern alluvial delta section and the
western prairie section. The Sabine River separates it from Texas on the west.
The Ouachita River separates the alluvial bottoms of the Mississippi in the
northeastern part of the State from the upland pine area between it and the Red
River; and numerous smaller rivers, bayous and canals traversing other parts
of the State, added to these, give it a total mileage of navigable waterways
unequaled by any other state in the Union. There are forty-eight navigable
streams, with a total mileage of 4,794 miles.

Reference to a map of the United States will suggest to one at a glance that
the State of Louisiana occupies a remarkably advantageous position geographi-
cally. It stands at the natural gateway through which must pass the vast
tide of commerce, which, originating in the fields, the forests and the mines of
thirty states, or nearly half of the total area of the United States, flows seaward
in its course to the markets of the world.

The total land area of the State amounts to 45,400 square miles, of which
nearly 15,000 square miles, or one-third of the total area, is alluvial soil or "made
land," brought down by the flood waters of the Mississippi River in centuries
past from the fertile lands of the 1,238,000 square miles of territory comprising
the Mississippi Basin.

In addition to that portion of the State comprising the Valley of the Missis-
sippi there are about 3,000 square miles of exceedingly rich bottom lands of
the other rivers that flow through the State, and about 1,500 square miles of
level coast marsh land lying between the Atchafalaya River and the western
border of the State and adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico.

Next to these lands in point of fertility are the open, rolling, high prairie
lands in the southwestern part of the State, known as the Atakapas Prairies,
where rice is grown to such a large extent and with such wonderful success.

The bluff or hill lands are located partly in the northeastern part of the
State, just west of the alluvial portion, and designated as the Bayou Macon
Hills, and partly in that portion of the State lying east of the Mississippi River, im-
mediately south of the Mississippi State line and north of the city of Baton Rouge.

Perhaps the largest undeveloped area is the upland or mixed hardwood and
pine hill country, which is located in the northern and northwestern part of
the State.

The long-leaf pine hill lands constitute a large area in the central and western
part of the State on both sides of the Red River, and also a small area northeast
from New Orleans.

Finally there are the long-leaf pine flats, part of which are located in the
southwestern section of the State adjoining the prairie region and part east
of the Mississippi River, north of Lake Pontchartrain.


The Alluvial Delta Lands of Louisiana occupy an area of about 8,000 square
miles located in the southeast corner of the State, where the Mississippi River
enters the Gulf of Mexico. They lie east of a line drawn south of the mouth of
the Red River, and south of a line drawn east and west along the north shore of
Lake Pontchartrain. The entire region might be described as a rectangle about 150
miles east and west by 90 miles north and south, with the Mississippi River running
diagonally across it from the northwest corner to the southeast corner, and the
city of New Orleans located about twenty-five miles northeast of its geometrical

All of the land in this quadrangle to a depth of over 2,000 feet has been
formed by deposit from the overflow of the Mississippi River and is, therefore,
pure soil of the very richest character; soil that has been washed down from
the fields and hillsides of thirty states, whose drainage water finds an outlet
to the sea through the mouth of this great river. The process of filling in the
Gulf and building up this area by deposit has been going on for centuries, so
that the mouth of the river, which at one time must have been near the City
of Baton Rouge, has been gradually pushed out into the Gulf, the sediment in
the escaping flood waters covering the entire area from Pearl River, on the
east, to the Atchafalaya River, on the west, and raising it a little higher each year.

Ninety per cent of the land in this area is virgin soil covered with a swamp
growth of cypress and willow in the upper or higher portion of the region, and
marsh or open prairie grass in the larger portion nearest the Gulf. The only
land available for development and cultivation during the past two hundred years
that this region has been inhabitated, consisted of a strip of land two miles wide
on either side of the river, following its course for about 140 miles diagonally
across the region, a strip of land about three-quarters of a mile wide, bordering
both banks of Bayou Lafourche for a distance of seventy-five miles in its course

Alluvial Delta Lands before Reclamation

south from Donaldsonville to tlie Gulf, and about seventy-live miles of similar
strips of high land along Bayou Manchac, Bayou Plaquemine, Bayou Terre-
bonne, Bayou Black and Bayou Terre aux Boeuf.

In all there are about 500,000 acres embraced in these lands adjacent to the
streams that have been raised to a higher elevation than the other lands in the
region by reason of their receiving the greater volume of deposit during the
process of formation. These high strips of land, being available for cultivation
without artificial drainage, were cleared, settled and occupied by the first settlers
of Louisiana and for over a hundred years they have been cultivated as the
banner sugar plantations.

The one constant menace to all of the alluvial land area of Louisiana was the
spring overflow of the Mississippi River. Even after plantations had been
established by the early settlers along the higher ridges the flood waters were
allowed to inundate the swamps and marshes comprising ninety per cent of
the alluvial area. Gradually, however, levees were erected along both banks
of the river, completely confining the flood waters to the proper channels, and
these confining walls are now so complete and so dependable that there is little
danger from overflow and within the past ten years an opportunity has been
given to extend the cultivated area in this region by reclamation through arti-
ficial drainage.

Adequate Levees Insure Protection from Future Floods

Estimating the total area embraced in this alluvial region to be approxi-
mately 5,000,000 acres, and allowing 500,000 acres for high ridges now in culti-
vation, there remain about 4,500,000 acres to be reclaimed, 2,500,000 acres of
which are open marsh prairie lands that require artificial drainage only to
enable them to be cultivated and developed at once.

There is no richer soil on the face of the earth, in fact the soil is almost too
rich, the first two or three feet nearest the surface consisting almost entirely
of decayed vegetable matter, exceedingly rich in nitrogen and, despite the fact
that the land has been covered with swamp water ever since its formation,
it contains such, an abundance of decayed fish and shell matter that no sour
or acid effects are observed even during the first year that it is put into culti-

These prairies are now being reclaimed by private capital at a very rapid
rate in units of 5,000 and 10,000 acres and are offered for sale in tracts of 40
to 160 acres to those looking for new land. There are already nearly fifty of these
reclamation projects under way, embracing something like 250,000 acres of land
that is being made ready for settlement.

Drainage Canal Entering into Main Canal

Reclaiming Marsh Prairies of the Delta

The method of reclamation is simple, practical and of moderate cost,
when compared with the cost of reclaiming, by irrigation, the arid lands either
in Egypt or in the western part of the United States. The land is level and
open, is covered with a luxuriant growth of marsh grass, and while appearing
to be almost sea level, is in reality from three to five feet higher, but lacks suffi-
cient fall to enable it to be drained by gravity.

In proceeding with its reclamation and preparation for cultivation, a tract
of 5,000 or 10,000 acres of the marsh land is selected at random from a drainage
unit. By means of a floating dredge, a canal is cut entirely encircling the tract,
the excavated earth being thrown on the inside so as to form a surrounding
embankment or levee some six or seven feet in height. The area thus enclosed
is then supplied with a system of drainage canals cut every one-half mile apart,
leading into a main outfall canal from which the water is removed by a pumping
plant located at a point where this canal crosses the dam encircling the enclosed
area. All the water is then removed from the enclosed tract, its level being
reduced in the canals to five or six feet below the level of the water on the out-
side. As the soil is loamy in character, and as the top surface is almost pure
decayed vegetation, the land dries out very rapidly, enabling the grass to be
burned off and the land to be immediately plowed and prepared for cultivation.

The area thus reclaimed is then incorporated under the laws of Louisiana
as a municipal district and drainage bonds are issued and sold to pay for the
work of reclamation. The average cost of this is about $35 per acre, distrib-
uted over a period of forty years. The bonds are a first lien on the land and
draw five per cent interest, which together with the cost of maintenance and
the sinking fund, is provided for by the levy of a special drainage tax amounting
to about $2.50 per acre per annum.

Although the work of reclaiming this alluvial area has been in progress but
a few years, there are already quite a number of reclamation units in a
highly flourishing and prosperous condition, with approximately 35,000 acres
under cultivation, and as the lands become better known to prospective settlers
throughout the corn belt states, there is a constantly increasing demand for


The soil forming this entire Alluvial Delta Area o\ 5,000,000 acres is pure
Mississippi River silt. The top surface of the reclaimed marsh area, to a depth
ui two or three feet, consists of decayed vegetable matter, exceedingly rich in

nitrogen, and beneath this are various types, designated by the United States
Bureau of Soils as Sharkey clay, Galveston clay, Yazoo loam and Yazoo clay,
all blending imperceptibly into one another. It is without doubt the very richest
area of agricultural land on the American continent, and will produce in abun-
dance every known crop grown in this latitude. As indicative of the fertility
of the soil comprising this area, the following is quoted from the report of Pro-
fessor Firman E. Bear, Ph. D., a member of the faculty of the College of Agricul-
ture, Ohio State University, and Honorary Associate in Soil Fertility, who
recently made an analysis of the soil:

"There is enough nitrogen present in the first eight inches of this re-
claimed marsh land to supply nitrogen for 1,000 fifty-bushel crops of
corn. I have never analyzed a soil with so high a percentage of nitrogen."


While heretofore the native settlers throughout the Delta Area have de-
pended upon rain water for drinking purposes, it has recently been ascertained
that an abundance of excellent water can be obtained from artesian wells at
a depth of from 200 to 300 feet. Wells have been struck on a number of the
reclaimed tracts throughout the marsh area sufficient to demonstrate that a
good supply of water can be obtained on any farm for about $200. However,
there is such an abundance of rainfall so equally distributed throughout the
year that an ordinary cypress tank of 2,000 gallon capacity will supply ample
water for all domestic purposes.


For hundreds of years the staple crop grown on the higher portion capable
of cultivation has been sugar-cane, so that this region has for many years been
known as the "sugar bowl of the nation ; " but the land is so rich and the climate
so mild that almost any crop can be produced in abundance. Sugar-cane, corn,
rice and vegetable truck are now the principal crops that are raised in the Allu-
vial Delta Region.

The reclaimed lands in the vicinity of New Orleans, because of their prox-
imity to markets, are peculiarly adapted to the production of truck crops, such
as onions, cucumbers', eggplant, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, turnips,
parsnips and lettuce for the Northern markets, yielding large returns to the grower.

The staple crops that are being depended upon, however, are sugar-cane
and corn. The new virgin soil of the reclaimed area will produce large yields

Louisiana's Cane Fielcteare the Nation's Sugar Bowl

of sugar-cane, marketable at the near-by sugar mills at profitable prices; while
corn grown from selected seed will yield on these new lands from fifty to one
hundred bushels to the acre, depending on the individual care and cultivation.
Compare these with the so-called corn-producing states and one can readily
appreciate the value of this soil as corn land.


The largest area of the alluvial lands lies adjacent to the Mississippi River,
and, although all of it was, in the early history of the State, subject to overflow,
the whole region is now considered safe by the protection that levees of sufficient
size and strength afford.

North of the mouth of the Red River there are about 3,000,000 acres of such
land, fully 80 per cent of which is still undeveloped. South of the mouth of the
Red River, on the west side of the Mississippi River, are those areas designated
as the Atchafalaya Basin and the Lafourche Basin, while on the east side is the
Pontchartrain Basin, the three areas aggregating about 6,500,000 acres. This
includes the Alluvial Delta Region, already described separately in the preced-
ing pages, as embracing about 5,000,000 acres, which leaves approximately
1,500,000 acres in the upper part of the Atchafalaya Basin to be classed as
alluvial bottoms and discussed under this heading. The remaining alluvial lands
are to be found along the Red and Ouachita rivers, also protected by levee^.
These lands are nearly level, with a slight but sufficient slope towards the south
and west to insure good drainage by gravity when proper ditches and canals
have been cut, and although most of the area is now covered with bottom land
timber, this is being rapidly removed by the numerous hardwood lumber com-
panies and the lands are being made available for cultivation.

These are some of the richest and most valuable lands in the State and
consist largely of those types of soil known as Yazoo loam and Yazoo clay,
which is found in one unbroken area south and southeast of Baton Rouge.
The Yazoo clay is the soil type of greatest extent, and by far the most important
agriculturally, in the Mississippi bottoms.

Sugar-cane is the principal crop of the alluvial bottom lands below Red
River, while cotton and corn are the chief crops in the portion above Red River.
Alfalfa is also grown extensively in these upper alluvial bottoms along the
Mississippi, as well as in those lands bordering Red River. The major portion
of the alluvial lands south of Red River are devoted to cane culture, with corn
as a rotation crop.

Corn Thrives on Alluvial Lands — 50 to 100 Bushels per Acre

Cotton, corn and alfalfa are the chief crops produced on the alluvial bottom
lands above the sugar-cane regions. Thos2 in the Tensas, Macon and Boeuf
basins above Red River contain some of the finest producing lands, and with
proper care and cultivation and adequate drainage, will yield from one to one
and a half bales of long staple cotton to the acre.

Corn is by far the most profitable crop that can be raised by the average
farmer on the alluvial bottom lands of Louisiana since the introduction of
better methods of cultivation.

Not only are the alluvial bottom lands of the State the best that can be
had for growing of such staple crops as sugar-cane, cotton and corn, but they
are also ideally situated for live-stock raising and the production of meat. There
are thousands of acres of rich alluvial bottom lands awaiting the settler, that
can be had at very low prices.


The Bluff Land Section embraces an area of about 2,000,000 acres. These
lands are from 80 to 200 feet above sea level and have not been in any way
affected by the Mississippi River floods. The land is quite fertile and preferred
by some to the alluvial bottom lands.

There is an abundance of good water from springs, streams and wells.
The land is somewhat hilly and is well adapted to dairying, live-stock grazing,
truck raising and generally diversified farming, including the following crops:
Cotton, corn, sugar-cane, oats, hay, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes and peanuts.

Cotton is by far the most important crop, yielding in good seasons about
three-fourths bale per acre. Corn returns from fifteen to twenty-five bushels.
Lespedeza is highly prized for pasturage or hay. It yields about one ton per
acre, and in addition is a valuable fertilizer. Cowpeas are occasionally sown
in the corn for forage and this practice is to be commended. Crab grass grows
spontaneously and makes a good hay, yielding from one to two tons per acre.
Oats do well in this, as well as all other sections of Louisisana. Seed may be
sown from early October to the middle of December and the crop harvested
the following May. An average yield for what would be classed as a good crop
is around forty bushels per acre, and sixty bushels may be obtained in exception-
ally favorable conditions.

Harvesting Oats in May. Average Yield 50 Bushels per Acre

The Pine Hill Lands embrace an area of about 4,900,000 acres, located
about the central part of the State on both sides of Red River, with a small
portion lying east of the Mississippi River north of New Orleans. These lands
are commonly known as the cut-over pine lands, which can be bought on
very reasonable terms, and which are excellent for diversified crops.

The following is an extract from a survey made from this portion of the State:

"It is only within the last few years, since the timber has been so
largely removed and the agricultural population of the region has in-
creased, that any considerable areas of this soil have been under culti-
vation. Its location is excellent, thus insuring good drainage; it responds
readily to fertilization and holds moisture well during the summer,
while its fine sand content makes it an easy soil to work. With these
advantages it is well adapted either to truck growing or to general farming.
At the present time it is used for all of the general crops of the region, .
besides such special crops as strawberries, cabbage, radishes, lettuce,
tomatoes, and other trucking crops. With ordinary care and attention
cotton will average one-half bale per acre. Corn will average about twenty
bushels per acre, although as much as fifty bushels per acre is sometimes
grown after some highly fertilized crop. There is a moderate acreage in oats
and satisfactory yields are secured. Trucking is becoming a very profit-
able industry, and the profits from a single acre are sometimes $200 to
$300 or more, depending upon the season, the market and the care and
attention given to the crops."

Soy Beans a Good Hay and Silage Crop for Louisiana

The crops most usually planted in the Pine Hill Lands are cotton, corn;
sorghum, oats, peanuts, sweet potatoes, velvet beans and soy beans. Cotton
is the staple crop, but it is giving way rapidly to diversified farming, more
attention being now paid to the raising of oats, hay, clover and velvet beans.
and the production of cattle and hogs.

(Cut-Over Pine Lands)

The Cut-Over Pine Lands of Louisiana occupy an area of about 1,300,000
acres located in the southwestern portion of the State and east of the Missis-
sippi and north of Lake Pontchartrain. Because of their advantageous location
to markets and the low price at which the land can be bought, the truck grower,
the farmer, the dairyman, the sheep grower and the cattleman are rapidly
investing their money in these lands.


75 Per Cent.of the Milk Shipped to New Orleans Is from the Cut-Over Pine Lands

It would be next to impossible to do any one section, or division, of this
great State justice, even though the entire booklet were devoted to it. This
is especially true of the Cut-Over Pine Lands, and we will, therefore, call the
attention of the homeseeker to a few of the outstanding facts concerning the
above territory.

(1) Ninety per cent of all the sheep in Louisiana are on cut-over land.

(2) Eighty per cent of the sweet potatoes that are shipped from the State
are from the cut-over land section.

(3) All the strawberries are from the cut-over section.

(4) Seventy-five per cent of the milk shipped to New Orleans is from
the cut-over lands.

(5) The cut-over section leads in the production of velvet beans, soy
beans, and is best adapted for peanuts.

(6) The very best cabbage, cauliflower, beets, snap beans, and in fact
all kinds of vegetables, are grown and shipped from the cut-over

Cut-Over Pine Lands — an Attractive Field for the Ranchman

In addition to the above, very fine crops of corn, oats, Irish potatoes and
cotton are grown.

This territory has been termed "The Ozone Belt" of the State and every
winter thousands of people from the Northern States flock to this section to bask
in its sunshine, to inhale the fragrance and enjoy the beauty of its flowers, and
to quaff of the water of eternal youth flowing from artesian wells at a depth
of over 2,000 feet.


The Uplands of Lousiana occupy an area of about 5,500,000 acres, lying
in the northern and northwestern portion of the State. The land is hilly and
rolling, usually covered with hardwood and pine. The soil is not rich, but by
growing legumes and rotation of crops can be made very productive and can
be bought at prices exceedingly attractive.

As in nearly all of the other sections of the State, except the Prairie Section
and the Alluvial Delta Section, cotton and corn are the leading staple crops
in the Upland Section. Other crops, such as oats, clover, hay, sorghum, peanuts
and sweet potatoes are grown with good success, however, as the land is en-

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