|Congress approved construction for two ships of the new design but by December 1901 there was a new President, Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy was not satisfied
with only two new ships. Actual appropriations for the new ships was on July 1, 1902 with a 16,000-tons displacement, up 2,500-tons from the Virginia design.
Another stipulation was that one of the ships had to be built in a Federal Yard, rather than private firm. Previous battleships (excluding Texas and the first Maine) had
been built by private firms and Congress wanted to see if a government yard could be as efficient and perhaps cheaper at building a battleship. This was the birth of
the Connecticut Class, the largest and best predreadnought class of battleship for the USN. Connecticut BB-18 was ordered from the New York Naval Yard and
Louisiana (BB-19) was ordered from Newport News Shipbuilding. Three more of the class, Vermont BB-20, Kansas BB-21 and Minnesota BB-22 were authorized on
March 3, 1903, while the sixth and last of the class New Hampshire (BB-25) was authorized on April 27, 1904, to become the last USN predreadnought. Displacement
was 16,000-tons normal with 17,666-tons full load. They were 456-feet 4-inches (139.09m) oa in length, beam 76-feet 10-inches (23.42m), and a draft of 24-feet
6-inches (7.47m). The power plant comprised twelve Babcock & Wilcox boilers supplying steam to two vertical triple expansion engines, developing 16,500 ihp and
turning the two shafts for a maximum speed of 18-knots. The armor of Harvey process steel had a main belt of 11-inch with an upper belt and end bulkheads of
6-inches, tapering to 7-inch and 4-inch respectively at the last 49-feet fore and aft ends. The main belt ran 5-feet below and 4-feet 3-inches above waterline a length of
192-feet. Turrets had 12 (face)to 8-inches (sides and rear) of armor (2.5-inches on the crowns) with secondary 8-inch gun turrets and 7-inch gun casemates 7-inch
to 3.75-inches of armor. The conning tower had 9-inch armor. The armored deck had 3-inches on the ends and sloping sides and 1.5-inches on the flat crown. In
addition to the 12-inch/45, 8-inch/45, 7-inch/45 and 3-inch/50, the pair were equipped with twelve 3-pdr and four 1-pdr rapid firing light guns (Connecticut had only
two 1-pdr). The ships proved good sea boats, although the hull casemate guns were wet and the bow 3-inch guns almost unusable because the ram bow tended to
throw up huge spray at any speed.
Louisiana was the first to be laid down, launched and commissioned. Laid down February 7, 1903, launched August 27, 1904, she was commissioned on June 2,
1906. At the end of the month she steamed to Provincetown, Massachusetts and spent most of the summer training in New England waters. On August 27 Louisiana
went to New York to take part in the Presidential Fleet Review and on September 15 sailed to Havana during a Cuban insurrection. Her service in Cuban waters lasted
a month and on November 8 she was in Maryland for President Roosevelt to board. Teddy took the Louisiana on a cruise to Panama to inspect the construction of
the Panama Canal. On the return to Maryland there was a two day stop at Ponce Puerto Rico on the south coast and anchored back in Maryland on November 26.
After a quick stop in New Orleans, Louisiana spent the last half of December in Cuban waters. She received a short refit at the New York Navy Yard from January 4
to March 17, 1907. She was at the Jamestown Exposition in April and another Presidential Fleet Review from May 20 to June 5. The last half of 1907 into 1908
Louisiana was at Norfolk making preparations for the world cruise of the Great White Fleet. On July 8, 1908 Louisiana, along with fifteen other battleships painted in
white and buff, sailed from San Francisco with the first stop at Honolulu. Initial stops after that were New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Japan and then Hong
Kong. It was then back to Manila for battle practice and to become the 3rd Division flagship. The voyage was continued of December 1, 1908 with a stop in Colombo,
Ceylon before using the Suez Canal for the Mediterranean portion of the cruise. In the Med there were stops at Smyrna, Turkey, and Gibraltar before finishing the
cruise on February 22, 1909 under the beaming smile of the President at Hampton Roads, Virginia. In 1909 she was equipped with five 21-inch submerged torpedo
tubes and cage masts replaced the military masts along with reducing the size of the bridge structure. The white and buff paint scheme was replaced by slate gray
overall. All but two of the 3-pdr guns were landed. For the next year and a half, it was training along the Atlantic Coast from Cape Cod to Guantanamo Bay. On
November 1, 1910 Louisiana and the rest of the 2nd Division of the battle force departed for Europe with stops in Cherbourg, France and Portland, UK then back
across the Atlantic to Guantanamo Bay before returning to Norfolk on March 10, 1911. Another European cruise was immediately forthcoming as Louisiana, as
flagship of the 2nd Division, crossed the Atlantic again for a northern European cruise. At Copenhagen, Denmark and Tralhafnet, Sweden the Danish and Swedish
kings came aboard and at Kronstadt, Russia the Czar visited the battleship. On the way back home, the ship stopped at Kiel, Germany for Kiel Yachting Week and
twice Kaiser Wilhelm visited the Louisiana, on the second of which he gave the ship a framed and autographed picture of himself. On July 13, 1911 she returned to
the US at Provincetown, Massachusetts and spent the rest of the year at Norfolk for a refit. A long overhaul at Norfolk occurred from October 16, 1912 to May 29,
1913. The last half of 1913 was spent in Mexican waters because of a Mexican revolt. Another overhaul kept in the yard from August 20, 1914 to January 10, 1915.
The two bow hull 3-inch guns were removed and the casemates plated over.