The first school in the state is believed to have
been the Ursuline Convent for girls in New Orleans, dating from 1728.
Public schools developed slowly until 1841, when New Orleans
established free public schools supported by poll and property taxes.
There are over 30 public and private institutions of higher education operating in Louisiana (see LOUISIANA, STATE UNIVERSITIES OF). The state's per capita expenditures on public education perpetually lag behind the national annual average. Possibly reflecting this fact, Louisiana's literacy rate ranks among the lowest of all the states.
Public enrollment (1988):
Nonpublic enrollment (1980)
Institutions of higher education (1987): 34.
Health facilities in rural areas suffer from a lack of readily available medical services. The number of active physicians per 100,000 people is below the national average; the birthrate and infant mortality rate are above average.
During the 1980s the death rate, formerly relatively high, declined. Carville, in southeast Louisiana, is the site of the only leprosarium in the continental United States.
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