Baton Rouge, French for “Red Stick,” is the capital of Louisiana and the second largest city in the state. As the Capital City on the banks of the Mississippi River, it is the political hub for Louisiana. It is the second largest metropolitan city in the state with a growing population of 229,426 people as of 2013. The metropolitan area surrounding the city, known as Greater Baton Rouge, has a population of 820,159 people as of 2013. The urban area has around 594,309 inhabitants.
Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture, and growing technology center of the American South. This City is the ninth largest seaport in the United States in terms of tonnage shipped, and most notably, is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling ocean going tankers and cargo carriers.
The City of Baton Rouge enjoys a strong economy, and thus has helped the city be ranked as one of the “Top 10 Places for Young Adults” in 2010 by Portfolio Magazine. It is one of the top 20 cities in North America for economic strength by Brookings. In 2009, CNN ranked the capital of Louisiana as the 9th best place in the country to start a new business. The city is home to one Fortune 500 company and one Fortune 1000 company. These two businesses include the Shaw Group and Lamar Advertising Company has its headquarters there.
Baton Rouge’s largest industry is petrochemical production and manufacturing. The ExxonMobil facility is the second-largest oil refinery in the country, and therefore, it is among the world’s 10 largest. Baton Rouge also has rail, highway, pipeline, and deep water access. Dow Chemical Company has a large plant in Iberville Parish near Plaquemine. NanYa Technology Corporation has a large facility in the northern part of the city that makes PVC and CPVC pipes. Shaw Construction, Turner, and Harmony all started with performing construction work at these plants.
As well as being the state capital and parish seat, the city is also the home of Louisiana State University. One of the largest single employers in Baton Rouge is the state government, and as a result the State Government recently consolidated all branches of state government downtown at the “Capitol Park” complex.
The research hospitals like Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital are positioning Baton Rouge to eventually support a medical district similar to the Texas Medical Center. LSU and Tulane have both announced plans to construct satellite medical campuses in Baton Rouge, and hence, will greatly improve medical care within the area.
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