Although it is the lesser known city compared to its festive neighbor New Orleans, Baton Rouge is the captial city of the state of Louisiana in the southeastern United States. In addition to serving as the state's capital, Baton Rouge is home to a handful of colleges including Lousiana State University (LSU) which is a central thread in the fabric of the town's cultural landscape. LSU is a highly regarded institution of higher learning and its football team, the LSU Tigers, is a perennial leader in the SEC football conference. The colleges and university index of the Louisiana yellow pages also lists Baton Rouge Community College, Our Lady of the Lake College and Southern University in the city, and collectively the students of those schools account for approximately 20 percent of the residents in the area. Like many cities and towns in the region, the city's name is French in origin and translates roughly as 'red stick'. Historical tales allege that French settlers derived the name after discovering a blood-soaked cypress tree pole that was used to demarcate Bayou Goula hunting borders. The area was inhabited by indigenous populations long before it was settled by Europeans and archaelogical data suggests that native populations made their homes their as far back as 8000 B.C. Baton Rouge is unique gem of the deep south. With its convergence of Cajun,Creole and traditional southern cultures, its various student populations ,and its considerable number of residents who are international transplants; Baton Rouge has a noteworthy diversity of culture that cannot be claimed by most cities its size. Visitors left without a business directory or access to online yellowpages would do well to spend an afternoon soaking in the scenes on the tree-draped campus of LSU, or by touring the the city's growing performance and visual arts community which is based in downtown Baton Rouge.
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