Oh, the things you learn when you walk. The red stick? Is that Big Red chewing gum? A stick of pepperoni? Or what?
Baton Rouge means "the red stick." Why? Well, that's what I learned when I looked into what Baton Rouge meant after Susan Medlin and I did the 6k Capital walk on January 12.
But I'll get to that later. We left San Antonio at 6 am, headed for Mandeville, Louisiana, and the Louisiana Parishes walks created by Helen Hull.
We made a quick rest stop at the Beaumont, Texas, visitor center. There were a few things to check out.
|I love the "Love" artwork in |
|Our rest stop in Beaumont.|
|Beaumont is a proud Bee City.|
|Veteran's Memorial at the |
Beaumont Visitors Center.
Baton Rouge was our first walk stop. This walk was in addition to our Louisiana Parishes walks.
We arrived about 2 pm and went to the start point at a fitness center downtown. Both of us wanted to arrive in Mandeville around 5 pm. That gave us over an hour to do the 6k (3.8 mi.) walk.
|A mural on the side of the |
fitness center where we started.
Bob and I had done the Baton Rouge capital walk a few years ago. We did not have time to see the interior of the capital or the Old Capital. Today, we were again in a hurry and did not go in either of the capitols.
The walk was awesome, though. Our weather was lovely. It was in the high 60s with a breeze. The city's name, Baton Rouge, or red stick, is described on the VisitBatonRouge.com website:
"Story has it that long ago, this area in Louisiana along the mighty Mississippi was occupied by two indigenous tribes, the Houma Indian Tribe and the Bayougoula Indian Tribe. To settle a border conflict between them, the tribes used a cypress pole to mark the boundary dividing their hunting grounds at an area now known as Scott's Bluff.
"This marker on the east bank of the Mississippi River caught the eye of French-Canadian Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville while making his way upriver during an exploration in 1699. He and his men saw the bloodied cypress pole on the bluff, adorned with animal parts and stained red from the tribes' latest haul, and dubbed the area 'le bâton rouge,' French for 'Red Stick.'
"In 1810, the area became part of the colonies and in 1817, the town was officially incorporated as Baton Rouge. Locals still lovingly refer to the city as 'The Red Stick.'"
Let's go for a walk! We started out in the heart of downtown on Government St. and made our way to St. Louis St. First up, we walked past the performing arts center, city hall, library, and courthouse.
|A fountain in front of the|
|A sculpture in front of |
the Old Capital.
|Baton Rouge Library downtown.|
Our route took us along North Boulevard where we passed the Old Governor's Mansion. It was built in 1930 and was first occupied by Huey Long who was later assassinated.
|The Old Governor's Mansion.|
|First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge.|
|St. James |
|St. James Episcopal |
|Another unique mural.|
In the photo below, it is impossible to read about Old Brad, a horse buried in front of the Washington No. 1 Firehouse. Here is a link to the historical marker so you can read it: Old Brad.
|Plaza was dedicated in 1809.|
|We had long shadows|
for 2:30 pm!
St. Joseph Cathedral.
|Baton Rouge's |
"The Patriots" and "The Pioneers" statues in front of Baton Rouge's Capitol skyscraper building were built by Lorado Taft in the 1930s. "The Patriots" monument honors those who died defending our homes and rights.
|"The Patriots" statue in front|
of the Baton Rouge capitol.
"The Pioneers" statue pays tribute to the Native Americans who originally inhabited the region, the French and Spanish colonists who explored the area in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Americans who made their homes here in the state's earliest days.
|"The Pioneers" statue in front|
of the Baton Rouge capitol.
|The names of all the states are|
inscribed on the capitol steps.
|"The Minuteman" sculpture|
When we left the front of the capitol, we didn't stay on the street in front of it (as our directions indicated). We ended up going through a park to the Arsenal Museum instead of around it. It was easy to find our way, though, because we could see the Liberty Bell replica mentioned in the route description.
|A Liberty Bell replica.|
|Plaque about the Liberty Bell |
replicas (53 were made in France).
|Peaceful Capitol Lake.|
Hundreds of black-bellied whistling ducks were on the banks around Capitol Lake. I have never seen so many in one place before!
|State of Louisiana|
A wood duck was majestically paddling by. He stretched his neck up as if posing for the camera. Their coloring is so dramatic.
|Some of the lovely homes along|
Capitol Lake's shoreline.
|The current Governor's Mansion on the |
shore of Capitol Lake.
The wood duck swam right by sleeping black-bellied whistling ducks.
"In 1825, four military barracks were built to support the U.S. Army arsenal that occupied much of today's Capitol Park. A fifth barrack that completed the pentagon arrangement was built so poorly it was demolished shortly after construction. Lieutenant Colonel, and future U.S. President Zachary Taylor, "Old Rough and Ready," oversaw production of the barracks and lived nearby. Later, when Louisiana State University replaced the military installation, students lived in the barracks. Today, they lodge Louisiana lawmakers during legislative session."
After we passed the pentagon barracks, we came to a Louisiana Civil Rights Trail marker about the march from Bogalusa to Baton Rouge. It was called the 105-mile gauntlet.
|From the Rotary Club of Baton |
Rouge, a sculpture by the
|The Mississippi Riverfront.|
At this point, Susan Medlin and I split up. I had to use the facilities at a hotel and she wanted to head back to the car. My 69-year-old bladder definitely requires some restrooms along the walk.
|Baton Rouge |
|The Old Capitol in Baton Rouge.|
|The Old Capitol in Baton Rouge.|
|The Old Capitol is impressive|
from every angle! This side
overlooks the Mississippi River.
|Baton Rouge Station is now the Louisiana|
Art and Science Museum
|Louisiana Art and Science Museum.|
|This Corsair A-7E jet is adjacent to the |
USS KIDD Veterans Museum.
Our walk instructions said to take River Road to Government passing the USS KIDD, a WW II Fletcher-class destroyer restored to a 1945 configuration. Even though I was "passing it," I could not see it because the levee was in the way. However, there were stairs to the top of the levee, so I went up to check it out. First, I was impressed by the Baton Rouge City Dock.