As part of my Southern Exposure Tour last year, I dropped down into Louisiana to visit my friend Eric after leaving Matt in Atlanta. The day after I arrived in Louisiana, Eric had to work. So, I headed into Baton Rouge on my own to check things out.
Here’s a model of the capital area – a design pushed through by Huey P. Long at the height of the Great Depression.
The grounds of the state capital…
Not sure what the Red Brigade on the steps of the capital was all about…
The famous capital building – the tallest capital building in the U.S. at 34 stories and 450 feet high.
Huey P. Long’s grave…
Public service commissioner, then governor, finally U.S. senator, Huey Pierce Long went from obscure upstate lawyer to flamboyant and controversial national figure. Along the way, he built a political dynasty – as well as roads, bridges, hospitals and schools. Proclaiming “Every Man a King,” he’d begun hinting at his candidacy for president just a month before his assassination, in 1935, at age 42.
The Old Governor’s Mansion, built by Huey Long, was allegedly built as an exact replica of the White House so that Long would not have to learn where the light switches were when he became president.
For additional reading on Huey P. Long try:
- Huey Long’s Louisiana Hayride: The American Rehearsal for Dictatorship 1928-1940
- All The King’s Men
- Kingfish – The Reign of Huey P. Long
The view from the steps of the capital building out to Long’s grave and on toward Baton Rouge.
This plaque inside the capital building marks the site of Long’s assassination.
A site at which one can still observe bullet holes from the exchange of gunfire…
And this display case housing Long memorabilia…
The interior of the capital building – chambers.
A view from the top of the gardens out to the grave of Huey P. Long.
Another view of the capital building.
Another site on the grounds of the capital are the Pentagon Buildings.
Constructed in 1819-1822 to house U.S. troops and then used as a garrison from 1822-1877 (except for 1861-62 when held by Confederate forces) – From 1886-1925 these buildings and grounds were the site of Louisiana State University (LSU).
Here they are viewed from above.
Also on the capital grounds is this Revolutionary War Memorial… Revolutionary War in Louisiana? Yes, indeed.
The cannons fired all day across these grounds on September 21st, 1779, until the British flag finally came down. The Spanish victor’s troops included Africans, Native-Americans, and French-Acadian refugees in this, the westernmost battle of the American Revolution and the only Revolutionary battle fought outside the 13 original colonies.
The Mississippi River runs right next to the capital – pouring 308 billion gallons of water per day past Baton Rouge.
Unfortunately, (or fortunately – depending on one’s perspective) the Mississippi River is heavily industrialized.
A view of the ExxonMobil refinery from the top of the capital building (running along the Mississippi River). This refinery is the largest (in capacity) in North America.
A view up the river.
A barge on the Mississippi River.
Following this afternoon of education and exploration, I picked up Eric and Sean from work and we headed into New Orleans for an evening involving a different kind of education and exploration. I kept my hands full that night with a stripper named Meghan Conner and a concoction known as “The Hand Grenade” – melon juice mixed with a lot of liqueurs… It doesn’t have a strong taste, but it has a kick. I recognized the subtle danger and backed off, but not Eric and Sean. By the end of the night Eric was hitting on the most vile fatties with the slurred justification that “fat girls need love too” and Sean was literally comatose in the street. It took a lot to get them into the back of the car and it’s rather remarkable they didn’t vomit given the amount of alligator jerky and spicy crayfish we had consumed. The next morning it was back to Florida for me – a hell of a 36 hours in Louisiana…