🇺🇸 Baton Rouge is the capital city of the U.S. state of Louisiana. On the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, it is the parish seat of East Baton Rouge Parish, the most-populous parish in Louisiana. The city of Baton Rouge is the 99th most populous city in the United States, and second-largest city in Louisiana. The city of Baton Rouge is the centre of the Greater Baton Rouge area, the second-largest metropolitan area in Louisiana.
The Baton Rouge area owes its historical importance to its strategic site upon the Istrouma Bluff, the first natural bluff upriver from the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. This allowed development of a business quarter safe from seasonal flooding. In addition, the city built a levee system stretching from the bluff southward to protect the river front and low-lying agricultural areas. The city is a culturally rich centre, with settlement by immigrants from numerous European nations and African peoples brought to North America as slaves or indentured servants. It was ruled by seven different governments: French, British, and Spanish in the colonial era; the Republic of West Florida, as a United States territory and state, Confederate, and United States again since the end of the American Civil War.
The city of Baton Rouge is a major industrial, petrochemical, medical, research, motion picture, and growing technology centre of the American South. It is the location of Louisiana State University, the LSU System's flagship university and the largest institution of higher education in the state. It is also the location of Southern University, the flagship institution of the Southern University System, the only historically black college system in the United States. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the 10th largest in the U.S. in terms of tonnage shipped, and is the farthest upstream Mississippi River port capable of handling Panamax ships. Major corporations participating in the economy of Baton Rouge and its metropolitan statistical area include Lamar Advertising Company, BBQGuys, Marucci Sports, Piccadilly Restaurants, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, ExxonMobil, and Dow Chemical Company.
Baton Rouge enjoys a strong economy that has helped the city be ranked as one of the "Top 10 Places for Young Adults" by portfolio.com and one of the top 20 cities in North America for economic strength by the Brookings Institution. The city was ranked by CNN as the 9th best place in the country to start a new business. Lamar Advertising Company has its headquarters in Baton Rouge. Other notable companies headquartered in the city include BBQGuys, Marucci Sports, Piccadilly Restaurants, and Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers.
Baton Rouge is the furthest inland port on the Mississippi River that can accommodate ocean-going tankers and cargo carriers. The ships transfer their cargo (grain, oil, cars, containers) at Baton Rouge onto rails and pipelines (to travel east–west) or barges (to travel north). Deep-draft vessels cannot pass the Old Huey Long Bridge because the clearance is insufficient. In addition, the river depth decreases significantly just to the north, near Port Hudson.
Baton Rouge's largest industry is petrochemical production and manufacturing. ExxonMobil's Baton Rouge Refinery complex is the fourth-largest oil refinery in the country; it is the world's 10th largest. Baton Rouge also has rail, highway, pipeline, and deep-water access. Dow Chemical Company has a large plant in Iberville Parish near Plaquemine, 17 miles (27 km) south of Baton Rouge. Shaw Construction, Turner, and Harmony all started with performing construction work at these plants.
In addition to being the state capital and parish seat, the city is the home of Louisiana State University, which employs over 5,000 academic staff. One of the largest single employers in Baton Rouge is the state government, which consolidated all branches of state government downtown at the Capitol Park complex.
The city has a substantial medical research and clinical presence. Research hospitals have included Our Lady of the Lake, Our Lady of the Lake Children's Hospital (affiliated with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital), Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, and Earl K. Long (closed 2013). Together with an emerging medical corridor at Essen Lane, Summa Avenue and Bluebonnet Boulevard, Baton Rouge is developing a medical district expected to be similar to the Texas Medical Center. LSU and Tulane University have both announced plans to construct satellite medical campuses in Baton Rouge to partner with Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center and Baton Rouge General Medical Center, respectively.
Southeastern Louisiana University and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University both have nursing schools in the medical district off Essen Lane. Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center, which conducts clinical and biological research, also contributes to research-related employment in the area around the Baton Rouge medical district.
The film industry in Louisiana has increased dramatically since the beginning of the 21st century, aided by generous tax incentives adopted by the state. The Baton Rouge Film Commission reported that the industry had brought more than $90 million into the local economy. Baton Rouge's largest production facility is the Celtic Media Centre.
Baton Rouge is ranked #96 by the Global Urban Competitiveness Report (GUCR) which evaluates and ranks world cities in the context of economic competitiveness. Baton Rouge has a population of over 220,236 people. Baton Rouge also forms the centre of the wider Baton Rouge metropolitan area which has a population of over 870,569 people. Baton Rouge is the #113 hipster city in the world, with a hipster score of 4.2942 according to the Hipster Index which evaluates and ranks the major cities of the world according to the number of vegan eateries, coffee shops, tattoo studios, vintage boutiques, and record stores. Baton Rouge is ranked #496 for startups with a score of 0.372.