Thursday, October 1, 2009

Down in the Bayou

My sister lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and it is always fun to go there and visit the State Capital building (JLBO, just for you: Capitole de l'Etat de Louisiane) I mentioned previously that a visit there caused me to mentally kick myself for never going to the Colorado State Capital building while living in Denver. While not as ornate as the Colorado Capital, the Louisiana capital makes up for it with a very colorful history. As always, click each photo for a better view.

The Louisiana State Capital sits in the heart of downtown Baton Rouge and is sort of like Central Park in that it is surrounded by a lovely garden right in the middle of the city. The structure itself is huge and with 34 stories, it is the tallest capitol building in the United States. There is an observation deck just below the section that holds the State Flag, and you are definitely into the clouds.

The Capital history is forever tied to the famous, or infamous depending upon who you talk to, Governor Huey Long (nicknamed the Kingfish) who commissioned the building in 1928. Long was a larger than life character who was a man of the people and semi-dictator all rolled into one.

This statue sits in the middle of the grounds in tribute to Long and he is buried beneath it.

The highlight of the entrance is a series of 49 steps which list every State and their entrance in to the Union. Alaska and Hawaii occupy the 49th step together. There is Alex leading the charge!

I found Colorado!

The famous main entrance to the Capital. At either end of this corridor is the State Senate and House Chambers. The round fixture is the State Seal which rests in the middle of the corridor.

The main entrance is famous because Long was assassinated as he walked with bodyguards in tow from one chamber to the other. There is some dispute as to if the assassin actually was the one who shot Long. It is rumored that his bodyguards opened fire on the assassin and one of their bullets bounced off the marble wall and struck Long. The bullet holes remain in the wall.

The State Seal is a sight to behold in that it is silver and polished to such a high gloss it could blind you. Resources from the various regions of the State are stamped on it.

The Senate Chambers are ornate and the small number of Senate seats definitely gives the impression that it is a very exclusive club.

The State House of Representatives appears a lot more open. But, I guess that is the point in that the House is designed to be closer to the people.

And on to the observation deck... You go so high and then get on another very old elevator that will only hold a limited number of people and you wonder if that limited number is too many!

From the observation deck you get the full view of the garden and the layout of the Long memorial statue. Good ole Huey is still at the center of things!

To the left of the Long Memorial is a Civil War Armory and another garden that is loaded with a wide variety of roses. I have never seen such brilliant colors!

The great Mississippi is just to the right of the Armory. From the observation deck you can see just how important it is to the area and why it is called the "Mighty" Mississippi.

What really surprised me was within five miles of the State Capital was this huge refinery! I'm not going to be hypocritical and come down on the State because I use gas just like everyone else and the refinery rests near the Mississippi for easy transport. But you look around at all this beauty and then your eye rolls to this:

We took tons of pictures and just soaked in the history of the place and the stories about good ole Huey. It is well worth the trip if you are in the area. Be prepared for many glorious sights!

Down in the Bayou...


  1. I've a feeling I'd be better off without any inner dialogue knowing the way my mind tends to work...when it bothers to at all....;-)

    Enjoyed the read though and expecially the pics.

    Ta very much. Hope you didn't mind me popping by

    4D x

  2. Four dinners... you are too cute. Stop by anytime!

  3. Great pics and stories!

  4. Beautiful this photos! I love specially the "circular garden" :-) with the central statue. I see something "esoteric" in that image (if you allow me), it's a little like the circles in the fields (I don't rememeber their names, sorry). It look something misterius :-)

    The last image is too really beautiful. The tower over the sky, the man who try catch up the gods.

    Thank you for share this pictures whit us.
    A great kiss for you from Europe :-)

  5. Thanks Ana,

    I think the English word you were thinking of is "maze" which is a complex system of paths or tunnels.

    I also liked the way you characterized Huey Long "The man who tried to catch up to the gods." An amazing thought when you apply it to his life and the building.

  6. As you'd foreseen, I really enjoyed reading your post and delighted in your photography. I drove through Louisiana a very very long time ago and I have vivid memories of a glorious warm Christmas in New Orleans. Unfortunately, we had to rush past Baton Rouge and I always regretted not being able to visit this beautiful city. So, your lovely post somewhat makes up for my missing out on that.
    I just wish you'd give us a clue on the origin of the name "Baton Rouge" : anything to do with lipstick... ?
    By the way, Alex is now fit to visit Paris's Sacré Coeur !

  7. JLBO,

    I think you just did give a clue about the name Baton Rouge (smile)!