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The state of Louisiana actually has two official songs. In 1970, Give Me Louisiana was the first song to be designated the state song of Louisiana. Subsequently, You Are My Sunshine was added as a second state song of Louisiana in 1977. There also is a state march song and an environmental state song of Louisiana. Finally, a Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita recovery song is associated with Louisiana.
The first song officially recognized by the state of Louisiana was Louisiana My Home Sweet Home, which was adopted as the official state march song in 1952. In 1990, The Gifts of Earth was added to the official list as the state environmental song. Finally, in the wake of the hurricanes of 2006, Come Back to Louisiana became the official state song for Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita recovery efforts.
The words and music to Give Me Louisiana were written by Doralice Fontane. John Croom is credited with the official arrangement. You Are My Sunshine was written by Jimmie Davis, who served as the governor of Louisiana from 1944-48. Davis was a popular country singer, and his version of You Are My Sunshine became a country classic well before its adoption as a state song of Louisiana.
In the United States, four states have more official songs than Louisiana's five. New Hampshire is the leader with 10 state songs. Tennessee and Oklahoma have eight state songs; one of Oklahoma's state songs is the state gospel song. Massachusetts has seven state songs, including a state polka and a state ode.
Louisiana has many more official symbols in addition to its songs. There are three official state plants and seven state animals. The state insect is the honeybee, the state amphibian is the green treefrog, and the state dog is the Catahoula leopard dog. The bald cypress is the state tree, and the state flower is the bloom of the magnolia tree. In addition, there is a state wildflower, the Louisiana iris.
I think everyone knows "You Are My Sunshine," especially after the release of the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" where it played an important part.
Unlike some state songs, "Sunshine" is easily learned, easy to sing, and easy to play on almost any instrument. In spite of its rather mournful lyrics, it's still a popular tune to teach children in music classes. We sang it in my classes, although I heard my dad sing it before I ever started to school.
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