The Louisiana Diaries: One big bicentennial. As I have learned, it is incorrect to include Louisiana when speaking of 'the South.' It is 'mid-south' as my girls learned in school and has its own heritage and distinct history. According to a story in yesterday's The Daily Advertiser, when 'officials from the United States arrived in the newly acquired Louisiana in 1804 to consider the area for statehood, they found a bewildering landscape vastly different from the New England countryside . . . the federal group found a population made-up almost entirely of French-speakers, a third of whom were free people of color." It wasn't until eight years later, on the eve of the War of 1812 that Louisiana became a state. "Under the Louisiana Purchase, negotiated with the French Emperor Napoleon in 1803, all citizens of France in the territory were to retain the rights and privileges they enjoyed before the purchase. For the free blacks, who migrated heavily to the area from the caribbean, that meant equal rights with whites. In the other 17 states, free blacks often didn't enjoy such rights." Happy statehood Louisiana!