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.
The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 marked the beginnings of the town's growth. When the state of Louisiana was admitted into the Union in 1812, it would be only a matter of five more years until Baton Rouge would be incorporated as a city. When the Louisiana state legislature moved the seat of government away from New Orleans in 1849, Baton Rouge became the state capital. The latter part of the 19th century saw the establishment of Louisiana State University. The 20th century was marked by continued growth in Baton Rouge and also the tenure in the 1930s of controversial populist Louisiana Governor Huey Long. Baton Rouge today presents an interesting mix of tradition, history, and commerce, with chemical companies and oil refineries operating against a background of earthen beauty and vibrant cultural influences.
August 29, 2005, marked a turning point for southern Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina struck the area hard. Although Katrina's impact on Baton Rouge was much less severe than that of New Orleans, there were significant power outages and service disruptions, and the city played a large role in providing refuge for displaced New Orleans residents, serving as a headquarters for emergency coordination and disaster relief.
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:
Baton Rouge is bustling year-round with some kind of event going on no matter what the season. Annual festivals include Baton Rouge Blues Week, a late April celebration featuring a wide array of traditional blues, Creole, Zydeco, and Jazz among its musical offerings. "Fest for All", held the first weekend in May, is one of Louisiana’s premier arts events which features live music, performing arts, and samplings of distinctive Louisiana cuisine. The 4th of July brings the "Star Spangled Celebration" and "Fireworks on the Mississippi" to the city. The Greater Baton Rouge State Fair is held every October, and in December, Baton Rouge celebrates "Christmas on the River". Baton Rouge also celebrates Mardi Gras every spring, although the city's celebration is not nearly as well-known as that of nearby New Orleans, whose Mardi Gras Festival is legendary.
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.
Baton Rouge strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Louisiana):
|Affordability of Property Taxes |
|College Educated Adults |
|Public Transportation Use |
|Racial Diversity |
|Well-Paid Single Women |
|Affordability of Rents |
|Walking and Biking to Work |
|Well-Paid Single Men |
|Median Family Income |
Comparing Baton Rouge to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Louisiana (State):
Ratings range from (lowest) to (highest).
|Female Share of the Population|
|Children Under 5 Years Old|
|Well-Paid Single Women|
|Male Share of the Population|
|Well-Paid Single Men|
|Age of the Population|
|Average Household Size|
|Portion of People Married|
|College Educated Adults|
|Median Family Income|
|People in Middle Class or Better|
|People Above Poverty|
|Walking and Biking to Work|
|Short Commute Times|
|Working at Home|
|Public Transportation Use|
|Affordability of Property Taxes|
|Affordability of Rents|
|People Living Alone|
|Housing Recently Built|
|Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals|
|Seasonal and Vacation Housing|
|Low Property Crime|
|Low Violent Crime|
|Baton Rouge Careers|
Baton Rouge career and employment information.
|Baton Rouge Colleges|
Baton Rouge colleges and trade schools.
|Baton Rouge Graduate Schools|
Baton Rouge Graduate and Business Schools
|Baton Rouge Hotels & Travel|
Baton Rouge hotels, landmarks, tourism, transportation.
|Baton Rouge Mortgage|
Baton Rouge property, mortgage, and real estate.