At the start of the second decade of the 20th century, Louisiana was not unlike most American states where much of the population still lived in small agricultural towns or on farms. Although the state was crisscrossed with railroads, other roads remained mostly rough and in most cases little better than paths. Urban areas in the state still focused on waterways – New Orleans and Baton Rouge on the Mississippi, Alexandria and Shreveport on the Red, Monroe on the Ouachita and Lake Charles on the Calcasieu.