Baton Rouge Travel Guide
Downtown Baton Rouge © Antrell Williams
Situated about 75 miles (121km) northwest of New Orleans, along Louisiana's winding 'Great River Road', Baton Rouge, the state capital, is in the middle of plantation country. Surrounded by sugar cane fields and grand plantation homes, haunted southern mansions and beautiful gardens along the banks of the mighty Mississippi, the city is filled with historic buildings and a vibrant nightlife.
Baton Rouge was named by French explorer D'Iberville about 300 years ago when he found a red stick on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi. Today the one-time swampland settlement is one of the largest port cities in America, known for its riverboat casinos where high-stakes gambling, stage shows and Cajun cuisine reign supreme. The city has an academic side too, being home to Louisiana State University and Southern University, the largest historically African-American university in the country. There are museums aplenty, art galleries, a planetarium and active theatre and ballet companies to complete the scene in this dynamic and diverse city. Incidentally, Baton Rouge also has the tallest capitol building in the United States, an art deco building dating back to 1932 that stands 34 storeys high.