Baton Rouge Travel & Attracctions
The Early Years: Founding of Red Stick
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.
Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BTR) provides jet service to major cities across the south and the US via Delta, United and American Airlines.
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
Other popular tourist attractions in Baton Rouge include:
- USS Kidd Veterans Museum on the banks of the Mississippi River downtown
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
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.
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
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!
- Belle of Baton Rouge Casino and Hotel - located close to the I-10 bridge
- Hollywood Casino - located near the Louisiana State Capitol Building
- L'Auberge Casino & Hotel - located south of downtown and south of LSU
Baton Rouge Institutions of Higher Learning
Campus 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 ...
- Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge
- Southern University at Baton Rouge
- Baton Rouge Community College
Baton Rouge Dining Traditions Over the Years
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!
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.
| The Pastime is still located at 252 South Boulevard. Phone 225.343.5490, or visit the Pastime on the web.
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
More Baton Rouge Area Information & Resources