...The Central Gulf Coast is on the northern shore of the Gulf of Mexico
and includes the southern portions of Alabama, Louisiana and
Mississippi, and the northwest portion of Florida. The flat landscape is
heavily forested, with marshlands and bayous dominating much of
    the coastal areas. A more
    hilly terrain can be found
    in more inland areas.
    While the Central Gulf
    Coast every year has to
    cope with the threat of
    hurricanes, winters are so
    mild that the region draws
    many "snowbirds" from
    the north. Summers are
    particularly hot and often
    ...The nearest foreign
    neighbors are Mexico to
the south and southwest, Cuba to the southeast and the nations of
Central America to the south.
...The primary cities of the Central Gulf Coast are Baton Rouge and New
Orleans, La.; Mobile, Ala.; Biloxi, Gulfport, Bay St. Louis and Pascagoula
in Mississippi; and Pensacola, Crestview, Milton, Fort Walton Beach and
Panama City, Fla. Nearby cities are Lafayette, La., to the west,
Hattiesburg and Jackson, Miss., Montgomery and Birmingham, Ala., to
the north, and Tallahassee to the east.
...The Central Gulf Coast region's two dozen counties and parishes - as
they are called in Louisiana - are grouped into a contiguous belt of seven
metropolitan statistical areas and one micropolitan statistical area.

Next: Part I (cont.) Economy
Part I (cont.): Gulf Coast region
The four states