Louisiana's Anglo-American population traces its ancestry to five major immigrant groups.
The first large wave of Anglo-American immigrants reached Louisiana via New Orleans in the wake of the Louisiana Purchase (1803). These immigrants, drawn primarily from East Coast cities and New England, were primarily merchants and professionals who sought to capitalize upon the Crescent City's burgeoning economy.
The second and third waves of immigration arrived concurrently between 1820 and 1860. The larger of the two movements included individuals migrating across the Deep South, a migration ultimately terminating in Texas. In Louisiana, many of these westward migrants put down roots in Central and North Louisiana. The smaller antebellum influx consisted of wealthy individuals from the Tidewater districts of Virginia and the Carolinas. Many of the latter immigrants brought up small farms along the Mississippi River and other Louisiana waterways and consolidated them into large plantations.
The fourth wave of Anglo-American immigrants arrived in the late nineteenth century, when thousands of Midwesterners (particularly Iowans) migrated to the southwestern Louisiana prairies and helped establish the region's rice industry.
The final Anglo-American influx occurred in the twentieth century, when Louisiana's vast petroleum resources attracted thousands of oil field workers from neighboring states, particularly Texas and Oklahoma.
by Carl A. Brasseaux