A couple of weekends back, we took the opportunity to go downtown and visit a few of the attractions. It turned out to be a beautiful, but hot, morning. We got to get some walking in while spending time together taking some snapshots and videos of the sights. If you’ve never seen the Mississippi River or downtown Baton Rouge, then you are in far a treat.
Our first stop was the old State Capitol which is across the road from the Mississippi River levee. The city of Baton Rouge donated the plot of land to the state for the new capitol building back in 1847. Work was initiated in July 1847 and the official groundbreaking was held in October. The Louisiana Legislature met for the first time in January 1850 under Gov. Isaac Johnson. This building was used as the State Capitol until the new State Capitol was opened in 1932. The architecture is unique and the staircase leading up to the stained-glass cathedral dome is beautiful.
Our next visit was up on the Mississippi River Levee where we had a great view of the boat traffic, casinos, the old and new Mississippi River bridges, USS Kidd destroyer, Port of Greater Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge/Port Allen (other side of the river).
The Mississippi River is a major pathway to port and industry throughout Louisiana and beyond. A 45-foot shipping channel to the mouth of the Mississippi River is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ships and tug boat traffic is a way of life on the great Mississippi river. The Port of Greater Baton Rouge ranks among the U.S. top ports in total tonnage.
The USS KIDD (DD-661) is a Fletcher-class destroyer. It was named after Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, Sr. who was killed aboard his flagship, USS ARIZONA (BB-39) during the surprise attack by the Japanese on the American fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941
Today, USS KIDD is moored in the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is the centerpiece of the USS Kidd Veterans Museum. She rests in a docking system designed for the near forty foot rise and fall of the river each season. Half of the year, she rides the currents of the Mississippi; the other half, she sits dry-docked in a cradle where visitors can see her full dimensions. Restored to her August, 1945 configuration, the USS KIDD is one of the most authentic and accurate restorations in the Historic Fleet.
The old and new Mississippi River bridges span the East and West sides of the Mississippi river in central and North Baton Rouge. The new Mississippi River bridge, actually named the Horace Wilkinson Bridge, is a cantilever bridge carrying Interstate 10 in Louisiana across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge in East Baton Rouge Parish to Port Allen in West Baton Rouge Parish. It was opened on April 10, 1968 and has a total length of 4,550 feet.
A couple of points of interest on the new Bridge: First, you can actually feel the bridge shake as you drive across it. Secondly, you get a great view of the LSU Football stadium, affectionally called “Death Valley”, especially all lit up at night. Finally, a majority of traffic coming eastbound into Baton Rouge from Port Allen/West Baton Rouge on I-10 necks down to one lane which can be a real traffic problem at certain times of the day.
The Mississippi River originates at Lake Itasca in Minnesota with numerous other rivers and tributaries feeding it as it runs through or along 10 different states. As mentioned above, the Mississippi River sees close to a 40 foot swing in depth throughout the year. A tremendous amount of silt and debris float down the river as it runs through Baton Rouge and New Orleans and eventually feeds out into the Gulf of Mexico.
We got a special treat while on the levee when a train come from the direction of the old Mississippi River Bridge where Exxon’s Baton Rouge Refinery and other plants are located.
The new State Capital was built after 14 months and was opened back in 1932. The Governor of Louisiana at that time, Governor Huey P. Long, was instrumental is getting this project off the ground. It is the tallest capitol in the United States, standing 450 feet high and has 34 floor, along with an observation deck on the 27th floor. It stands taller than any other building in Baton Rouge. Unfortunately for Governor Huey P. Long, he was assassinated in 1935 in the building and is buried on the grounds and his statue faces the Capitol.
Of course, we decided to drive closer to the LSU campus to get a few more pictures of the LSU Football Stadium. We included a few below.
All in all, it was a great day. It’s always fun heading out of the house and doing stuff with the family after being somewhat cooped up in our house due to COVID-19. Come check out the sights yourself with your family and/or friends, make memories, and enjoy the simple life together.
Enjoy! Remember, if you can dream it, you can do it!
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