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As early as 1507, the Castillians founded Veracruz at the site of OTL New Orleans, started exploring the Mississippi valley. Soon after, however, the Great Occidental War broke out, and their expansion was hampered. In the Peace of Barcelona 1547, the Quadruple Monarchy had to cede the area to France, and Veracruz was renamed Nouvelle Orleans.
1559-61, the French sent an expedition up the Mississippi and Arkansas, founded (St. Louis). The Mississippi area was named Louisiane after the newborn son of the king (who'd die two years old, but that's another story), since there were already a Caroline and a Nouvelle France around.
In the second half of the 16th century, a great-great-great-great-great-grandson of king Louis XII left France for Louisiane, which would become important in the future. His last heir died in 1749.
After the lost anti-French War, Louisiane north of the Arkansas was divided in the peace of Amsterdam in 1694 between Italy (the South) and Denmark-Braunschweig (the North). Louisiane was reduced to a small part of itself.
Since ~1700, many French settlers left the upper Mississippi area, went to Louisiane.
During the second French Civil War (1764-67) the Governors of Nouvelle France, Algeria, Caroline and Louisiane declared independence in 1765 - until France would have a king again. Lacking a navy (because the mostly noble captains didn't want to fight for a republic and thus deserted), France couldn't take them back.
In 1782, Louisiane was conquered by Italy, which now ruled all the former French colonies.