Baton Rouge 01/13/17 – 01/20/17
Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Population = 228,590 (metro area = 830,480), elevation = 50 feet, average January low temp = 41.4, Average July high temp = 91, average sunny days = 212, annual snowfall = 0.1”, annual rainfall = 67.5”, air quality index = 16.8, water quality index = 13, comfort index = 26, median age of residents = 32.3
Since Alan was deep into recovery from the cold/flu bug and had a fussy memory of our stay in Baton Rouge, I’m replacing him as the author of this page.
Early French explorers called the area “Baton Rouge” after they observed red poles used as markers dividing two Indian nations. Baton Rouge is the Capitol city of Louisiana and has two Capitol buildings – more fun for us! The old Capital was restored after a fire and is now a museum. Before touring, we enjoyed learning about Huey P. Long, some Louisiana history, and “The Ghost of the Castle”.
Statistics show that Baton Rouge is the second largest city in Louisiana, New Orleans is number one. Louisiana’s visitor guides, funtrivia.com, and Wikipedia all state that the new Capitol building is the tallest Capitol building in the USA, 450 feet high with 34 floors. We were told it has some terrific art deco work. Unfortunately, we didn’t get back downtown for a tour. The building did look impressive in our last shot of the city.
Traffic bears out that it is indeed well-populated and ranks high in statistical lists of cities with the worst roads, traffic jams, and accidents. We weren’t surprised to learn of the accident rate, attributing many of them to (1) the lack of striping normally used to indicate lanes, turn lanes, shoulders, driveway entrances, no barriers for or warnings about the culverts alongside unmarked driveways; (2) strange traffic control plans with u-turn lanes (handy but hazardous) and independent stop lights for the right lane; and, (3) the crazy pedestrians and bicyclists. Crazy! Examples: *The older man (not wiser, but somehow a survivor) casually riding his bicycle, against the direction of traffic, right toward our car! He was polite enough to give us a little wave. *A pedestrian weaving her way through moving cars, a lot of them, in an effort to cross six lanes of traffic. *Pedestrians totally ignoring red lights and the Don’t Walk sign while talking or texting on their phones. Again, polite enough to give us little waves or nods of their heads.
Sorry there are no traffic pictures. Enjoy these of our visit to an old church.
Unfortunately, we missed stopping by the Cathedral.
Our condo was in a suburb that seems to have suffered from the recession. There were lots of empty properties for sale and leases for vacancies in the surrounding area. The neighborhood mall – essentially dead. Macy closed. Sears closing. Other unidentifiable storefronts closed. There weren’t any of the usual larger chain restaurants such as Applebees, Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse, etc, which was okay since we prefer checking out local places.
The list of sights/sites we wanted to see was pretty short: Original State Capitol, new Capitol building, St. Joseph’s Cathedral (oldest church), the Louisiana State Museum, and, of course the one and only brewpub.
With the continuing effects of the cold/flu, our daily activities were reduced to the usual tasks: complete personal hygiene, check Facebook and email, go out for lunch, run an errand, and/or visit something on the list. All that excitement was followed by returning to the condo for a nap, heating up leftovers for dinner, and attempting to stay awake for the evening news. After repeating this schedule for 7 days, moving on to Galveston, Texas, seemed promising. Ready for sun and fun!