Louisiana Destinations ... Travel Across the Bayou State

Baton Rouge Louisiana Travel Guide

The Early Years: Founding of Red Stick

Greetings from Baton Rouge, Louisiana!

Baton Rouge dates from 1699, when French explorer Sieur d'Iberville leading an exploration party up the Mississippi River saw a reddish cypress pole festooned with bloody animals and fish that marked the boundary between the Houma and Bayou Goula Indian tribal hunting grounds.

They called the pole and its location "le bâton rouge", or red stick.

Since European settlement, Baton Rouge has been governed by France, Britain, Spain, Louisiana, the Florida Republic, the Confederate States, and the United States.

Getting To and Around Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is located in South Louisiana, at the intersection of I-10 and I-12. Interstate I-110 runs north from downtown.

It is about 80 miles via I-10 from New Orleans. US Highway 61 provides access to St. Francisville and West Feliciana Parish to the north, while US Highway 190 provides another east-west-corridor to areas of South Louisiana such as Hammond and Opelousas.

Area communities include New Roads on False River, Denham Springs to the east, and Gonzales on I-10 towards New Orleans.

Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) provides jet service to major cities across the south and the US via Delta, United and American Airlines.

Visiting attractions in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge is known far and wide for a number of things and attractions, such as the skyscraper Louisiana Capitol.

The Shaw Center for the Arts, downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Shaw Center for the Arts, downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Other popular tourist attractions in Baton Rouge include:

A variety of events, concerts and conventions are held in the Raising Cane's River Center downtown at the Mississippi River.

For more information on attractions and events .... Visit Baton Rouge

Swamp Tours in the Atchafalaya Basin

Louisiana swamp tours near Baton Rouge, tour boats, locations and options

One of the most popular things to do in Louisiana is touring the swamps! Most tours are concentrated in South Louisiana.

The area between Lafayette and Baton Rouge offers a number of swamp tours, operating from communities such as Breaux Bridge, Henderson, St. Martinvile and Plaquemine.

Learn more about Swamp Tours in the Atchafalaya Basin.

Baton Rouge Mardi Gras

The Baton Rouge area celebrates and enjoys Mardi Gras big time! The next Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge is scheduled for February 13, 2024.

Baton Rouge Area Mardi Gras Information
Baton Rouge Mardi Gras - VisitBatonRouge.com
Denham Springs Mardi Gras
Gonzales Louisiana Mardi Gras
Pointe Coupee Parish Mardi Gras:
New Roads, Livonia, Batchelor
West Baton Rouge Parish Mardi Gras:
Port Allen, Addis

For More Louisiana Mardi Gras Information, Events and Details

Louisiana Office of Tourism - LouisianaTravel.com

Parades and events are always subject to change. We recommend you check with individual parade krewes/sponsors to determine the latest parade schedules, routes, times and other information.


The "Old" State Capitol on North Boulevard at the Mississippi River, downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The "Old" State Capitol on North Boulevard at the Mississippi River, downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Staff Photo)

The "Old" Louisiana State Capitol

On September 21, 1847, the City of Baton Rouge donated to the state of Louisiana a $20,000 parcel of land for a state capitol building, taking the seat of the capitol away from the City of New Orleans. The land donated by the city for the new capitol stands high atop a Baton Rouge bluff facing the Mississippi River, at the foot of North Boulevard.

Construction took place between 1847 and 1852.

The building is one of the most distinguished examples of Gothic Revival architecture in the United States.

A National Historic Landmark, the building was restored in the 1990s and now houses the Museum of Political History.

Read more about the Old State Capitol

The "New" Louisiana State Capitol Building

Huey Long tomb on the State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The Huey Long monument and tomb on the State Capitol grounds in Baton Rouge (photo by the Louisiana Destinations staff)

Governor and U.S. Senator Huey Pierce Long had a vision of a new, towering Louisiana State Capitol building. 

The Yazoo and Mississippi Valley Railroad company built a rail spur to the construction site. Approximately 2,500 rail cars of materials were brought via this rail spur for use on the capitol.  

On May 16, 1932, after only 14 months of construction, the new building was dedicated to the citizens of Louisiana.

Ironically, Huey P. Long was unable to attend because of pressing senatorial duties in Washington D.C.

On September 8, 1935, Long, then a U.S. Senator, was fatally wounded by an assassin in the Capitol building, where the bullet holes are still to be seen on the wall.

He died two days later as a result of his wounds and is interred in the Capitol gardens.

As the tallest state capitol in the United States, the building is 450 feet high with 34 floors. The cost to complete the building was a modest $5 million.

It is one of only four skyscraper capitols in the country and one of only nine capitol buildings that does not have a dome. 

Learn more about the Louisiana State Capitol building

Baton Rouge Casinos

Riverboat gambling and casinos are big in Baton Rouge!


Baton Rouge Institutions of Higher Learning

Campus of Louisiana State University in Baton RougeCampus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is the home of the main campus of Louisiana State University, located south of downtown. Southern University is located to the north, along the Mississippi River, while Baton Rouge Community College resides in mid-town, near Florida Boulevard, North Boulevard, and Government Street.

For details, visit these websites ...

Hotels and restaurants in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Baton Rouge Dining Traditions Over the Years

LaFonda Restaurant and Lounge, Airline Highway, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
LaFonda Restaurant vintage matchbook cover, circa 1976

Baton Rouge is known for good food, served around town from local eateries downtown, and out Government Street , Nicholson and Highland Road.

We can't forget the many fine meals we have enjoyed over the years in Baton Rouge ... the Italian dishes at Giamanco's on Government Street, fried shrimp at Mike Anderson's, and poboys at Phil's Oyster Bar.

One favorite that is no longer around was La Fonda Restaurant and Lounge, located at 7838 Airline Highway. The food, service and atomosphere were always a treat ... and it was always crowded!

In earlier times in town during the 1970s, diners enjoyed Saturday's in Corporate Square and Mexican cuisine at Pancho's Mexican Buffet on Nicholson.

Today we love the beignets at Coffee Call on College Drive and other long-time establishments.

We have enjoyed over the years places like Juban's, The Chimes, Sammy's Grill on Highland Road, Poor Boy Lloyd's downtown, the Superior Grill, George's and many many others!

And then there is pizza at the Fleur de Lis, at 5655 Government Street near Cloud Drive. The rectangular pizza and cold beer have always been a treat.

Shown to the right is a vintage matchbook cover from one of our many fun dining experiences at Fleur De Lis, circa 1978. I think we wore out "Rose Colored Glasses" on the jukebox ! (Author's Collection)The Fleur de Lis Pizza, and Cocktail Lounge, on Government Street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Vintage matchbook cover from the Fleur de Lis Pizza, and Cocktail Lounge, at 5655 Government Street in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

We've enjoyed hundreds of hot dogs, pizzas and chopped beef poboys at the famous Pastime Lounge on South Boulevard under the I-10 bridge.

You might find anyone at the Pastime! Its history includes over 70 years of fine service to community leaders, government employees, LSU students, legislators and refinery workers.

In October of 2007, the Pastime was officially declared a Historical Landmark based upon the cultural contribution to the area.

More old photos of Baton Rouge from the 1970s

The Pastime is still located at 252 South Boulevard. Phone 225.343.5490, or visit  the Pastime on the web.The Pastime Lounge, on South Boulevard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Pancho's Mexican Buffet on Nicholson Drive in Baton Rouge, between downtown and LSU
And just down Nicholson towards LSU from the Pastime was Pancho's Mexican Buffet ... all you could eat for $1.49

Baton Rouge Culinary Scene Today ... from Louisiana Travel

Interactive map of Baton Rouge, Louisiana

More Baton Rouge Area Information & Resources

Visit Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge at LouisianaTravel.com
The Official Travel Website of the State of Louisiana

City of Baton Rouge

Downtown Development District

Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce

Baton Rouge Travel Guide at TripAdvisor