Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Introduction to Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Sitting along the banks of the Mississippi River is the city of Baton Rouge, the capital of the state of Louisiana. One of the three southernmost capital cities (along with Tallahassee, FL and Austin, TX) in the continental U.S., Baton Rouge is home to both Louisiana State University (LSU) and to Southern University. The city's name is French for "Red Stick", and is most likely derived from the writings of early French explorers who witnessed large poles reddened with the blood of slaughtered animals. These poles were probably boundary designations erected by Indians to separate the hunting grounds of two different tribes. Baton Rouge is located about 80 miles northwest of the city of New Orleans, to which it is connected by Interstate-10. Other major highways serving Baton Rouge include Interstates I-12 and I-110; U.S. Routes 61 and 190; and Louisiana State Highways 1, 30, 37, 67 and 73.
Things to do in Baton Rouge
The city of Baton Rouge is alive with a large variety of activities that make it an ideal place to visit. Riverfront casinos, Cajun-Creole restaurants, and lively nightclubs combine with old plantation homes, historic governmental buildings, museums, and performing arts centers to give a visitor a wide choice of attractions to relish. A sample of some of the city's offerings is as follows:
- Greater Baton Rouge Zoo: Features more than 1,800 animals from around the globe and includes animal shows and scenic rides on the Cypress Bayou Railroad or White Tiger Tram.
- Shaw Center for the Arts: Houses both the LSU Museum of Art and the Manship Theatre, a venue with 325 front row seats modeled after the style of classic European opera houses.
- Louisiana Arts & Science Museum: Features interactive art and science exhibits and the Irene W. Pennington Planetarium.
- U.S.S. Kidd and Nautical Center: Offers overnight camping and tours of the fully restored World War II Fletcher Class Destroyer.
- Old State Capitol Center for Political and Governmental History: Restored to its mid-19th century grandeur, the edifice houses both traditional and modern interactive exhibits and a multi-media film presentation.
- Old Governor's Mansion: Built in 1930 by Governor Huey P. Long and subsequently served as the home of nine Louisiana Governors.
- Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center: Located in the heart of Baton Rouge, this center features a large variety of wildlife.
- Argosy Casino/Belle of Baton Rouge: A three-deck riverboat casino located on the Mississippi River in the downtown historic district features over 29,000 square feet of gaming area, live entertainment, and dining.
- Dixie Landin' Amusement Park: Several games and rides, including a giant steel looping roller coaster, a log flume ride, and a 90-foot tall "Giant Wheel".
- Blue Bayou Water Park
The sports scene in Baton Rouge is dominated by the Louisiana State University Tigers, who field a variety of teams in several varsity sports. A member of the Southeastern Conference, LSU plays its games at Tiger Stadium (football), Pete Maravich Assembly Center (basketball, volleyball, gymnastics), Alex Box Stadium (baseball), Tiger Park (softball), Carl Maddox Fieldhouse (indoor track), and Bernie Moore Stadium (outdoor track). For professional sports, Baton Rouge is home to the Baton Rouge River Bats, an independent minor league baseball team. Major league teams are located in nearby New Orleans, home to the National Football League's Saints and the National Basketball Association's Hornets. The Hornets played some of their 2005-2006 home games at Baton Rouge's Pete Maravich Center while Katrina recovery efforts were underway in New Orleans. The New Orleans Superdome, an attraction unto itself, has recovered from major damage and is now back in operation.
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