Upstream from New Orleans is the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge. For the ultimate Louisiana experience, this is the place to be! The city’s motto is “authentic Louisiana at every turn” for a reason. It is the second largest in Louisiana with more than 410,000 inhabitants. The industry in this ‘capital area’ largely revolves around petrochemicals. Near the city is the third largest refinery in the States called ExxonMobil. Another source of income for the city is the port. It is one of the most inland ports in the world where cargo ships arrive and arrive with large containers.
When the Native Americans inhabited the area around Baton Rouge, the area was called Istrouma. This would soon come to an end with the arrival of the French at the end of the 17th century. While the French were on an expedition in the Mississippi River area, they discovered a tree surrounded by dead animals. This served as a demarcation of the hunting grounds of two Indian tribes who lived in the area. They called the tree ‘le Baton Rouge’. This is how the city got its current name.
Many French exiled from Canada by the British moved to this area around Baton Rouge. This happened in the middle of the 18th century. Today people of this ethnic group are called Cajuns. They have their own culture that you can fully absorb when you visit Baton Rouge!
During the American Civil War, the Union took control of the city without a fight because the breakaway states, the Confederate, temporarily relocated the capital. However, in 1880 Baton Rouge was allowed to call itself capital of Louisiana again.
Since the turn of the new millennium, Baton Rouge has been one of the fastest-growing cities in the US. Just like New Orleans, Baton Rouge is a multi-culti city that you can feast your eyes on. You must have been here, otherwise your Louisiana trip will not be complete!
Like the rest of Louisiana, the climate in Baton Rouge is subtropical. Summers are humid and hot and winters are moderate due to the influence of the Gulf of Mexico on the southern parts of the US. The average temperature in summer is about 32 degrees Celsius. Keep in mind that the weather is humid and stuffy! In the winter, which is very pleasant here, the average temperature is just above freezing, around 3 degrees Celsius.
The city’s location is ideal for the sea and the north: Baton Rouge rarely notices the hurricanes and tropical storms that hit the areas around New Orleans. The earthquakes that sometimes ravage northern Louisiana also rarely make it to Baton Rouge.
Baton Rouge River Center
If you’re looking for a little more American entertainment on your trip through the South, check out who or what’s playing at Baton Rouge’s River Center! At the end of the 1970s, this ‘playhouse’ was built on the Mississippi. The complex is 20,000 square meters and has several rooms. Each room has its own function. For example, the Arena is there for concerts and sports competitions. Big names like Cher and Tim McGraw have already sung to a large audience here.
There is also a Theater where many opera and musical performances are held. Call it Cats, call it Les Miserables, you can’t name it that crazy or it’s already been shown here. In short: there is no reason why you should be bored on a rainy evening in Baton Rouge! enjoy.
The swamps of southern Louisiana are of the caliber mysterious and foreboding. With the alligator as the main resident, this is not so surprising. These ‘swamps’ with their surrounding environment are also breathtakingly beautiful and are a typical part of the picture of the South.
In southern Louisiana is the Atchafalaya basin, one of the largest remaining deciduous forests in the US and located in a swampy environment. During a swamp visit you will be taken ‘back in time’. You travel deeper and deeper into the swamp, to the time when plantations and slavery were the streets of Louisiana.
The easy way
You can choose to do a ‘swamp’ tour in a closed boat, which means that you will get a fairly quiet tour. Whatever the weather, you are assured of a dry and comfortable spot! The attendants occasionally lure a giant alligator to the boat with some food so you can get a closer look at this predator. During the tour you will also be entertained with ghostly stories from the crew of the boat. A tour that will stay with you forever!
The daredevil way
Do you want a thrill ride over the swamps at a speed of about 60 kilometers per hour? You will be on the road for about an hour and a half with the occasional stop to touch an alligator, if you wish, or just take unique pictures of nature. Hold your camera well during the ride!
Of course there is the possibility of a snack or drink on the ‘mainland’. If you come on your own, you can also park your car. If you come at a cooler time of year, there is a possibility that you will not encounter a ‘gator’ in the wild. To avoid disappointment, the rangers have a real gator ashore.